What if I told you that we were doing it all wrong, every one of us? What if I told you were being lied to every single day by the commercials and the celebrities we see on the television and our computers and our phones and our tablets? What if I said it was so addicting that even you can’t stop doing it? We all want to look the best, be the best, have the most money, have the best house, have the coolest cars, hang out with highest status quo people; but is it really making us happy? Are we all on a pursuit of happiness or are we making ourselves miserable?
Upon my journey and my own pursuit of happiness I stumbled on things like, if I work every day and pay off all of my debt I will be happy, If I make more money I will be happy, If I find a man that loves me I will be happy, when my kids are older and stop ruining all of my furniture I will be happy, When I stop smoking and fix my teeth I will be happy, When I get my breast implants I will be happy, If I have more kids and I’m able to stay at home with my babies all day I will be happy. If I do enough squats for my butt to be bigger I will be happy. If I just stop over thinking and go with the flow I will be happy, If I have enough for Botox and lip fillers I will be happy, If I get a new car I will be happy, If I live without my roommates I will be happy, If I go to church every Sunday I will be happy, If I had more time in my day I would be happy.
The only excuse from the previous statement I had that is even remotely justifiable is the last one, if I had more time. Though it is very justifiable it’s not realistic, by realistic I am not saying that we all don’t want more time in the day. I am saying it’s not realistic because most of us wouldn’t do anything with the extra time we received. We get so distracted by material things and social power that we forget what we were going to do with the hours in the day as it is. We get so consumed with what other people are doing that we forget what we had going on in our lives. We fill our days up with unfulfilling hours and things that we begin to become miserable inside.
I have met so many different people and their meaning of happiness is always different. I once asked a very wealthy woman what would make her happy, she told me after all the years she has been in business the one thing she regrets is not settling down and having a husband. I once gave twenty dollars to a poor man and asked him what would make him happy, he stated if only I had food on a table every night I would be happy. I asked my friends what would make them happy, some said a raise at work, some mentioned more money so that they could travel, and some mentioned a husband or a wife and children to spend quality time with. I came to the realization that no one I know is truly happy. There are different times like a rehearsal dinner or a baby shower or their wedding day, or even a new relationship, some even got a raise when I asked; they would smile and say I am so happy, only to find out a few months later when I called to check on them “How you living?” They were already on to the next trip; the next level of something which could raise their dopamine levels higher.
This weekend I sat in my house in the still without my children and I watched two documentaries one was called Happy and it kind of reminded me of all of these conversations I had with my friends or co-workers. The other was Minimalism: A documentary about the important things. I learned something new from both of these. The biggest thing I learned was very inward; for once in my life I was satisfied with sitting in the still of my home and cleaning it all night long. I was organized and appreciative for the things I have worked to own but I also needed to throw a lot of things that didn’t put value in my life away. The second thing was that we all get to choose our own happiness and it doesn’t change at all in the happiness percentage if you’re the richest man on earth or if you live in the slums of the world. I realized I had a choice, do I continue on this path I have shown of trying to better myself, by myself for what I thought would make me happy, or do I take what these documentaries are telling me and try it out.
Happy showed me that there are few key things that help with happiness:
- Accepting your life, exactly where you are.
- Staying active as much as you can.
- Meditating on compassion, love, and kindness.
- Recovering from adversity.
- Giving back to communities and people around you.
- Write 5 things positive about yourself or your life a week.
- Staying social and connected to people you love.
The most important of all of these is “HAPPINESS IS A SKILL, YOU HAVE TO WORK AT IT EVERY SINGLE DAY”
The minimalism documentary taught me that we should “only keep things in our lives that add value to our life.” I took this as something I not only want to do with materials but with my actions, the people I surround myself with, and the choices I make.
I am sure your sitting back reading this thinking; yeah I know that these things will make me a happy person. The difference is, People like me come across people like you every single day, it’s not until someone writes it down for you, or puts it in a documentary that you actually think, Yeah, he or she is right, I should try this out, I should see how it looks on me and my life. You also could be thinking to yourself yeah this seems really easy as your writing it for me, but it’s easier said than done. This is simply your fear of what could happen because the seven things I took from that documentary are probably the easiest seven tasks I have ever seen in my life.
This is your life, no one gets to make the choices for you; no one gets to choose your happiness so if what your doing is working, keep on living your best life. If what you’re doing right now is not making you happy, figure it out, are you living for you or are you living for what people perceive you to be?