Happiness is something I struggle with. When I am sad I long to be happy but when I am happy, I dread that something awful will happen to ruin my happiness and make me sad again. It is easy to be sad, anyone can be sad. It takes a lot to be happy. Sadness is a safety-net, a comforting space in which I know I am ‘safe’. Other times, happiness makes me guilty – for I often I think what did I do to deserve such happiness? But when I think of my friends, family, a child on a playground… I think, of course everyone deserves to be happy – happiness does not need to be earned.
Because I am sad a lot, I am by no means an expert on happiness but through my being sad, I have learned a few things from my sadness. The first thing is to accept that is it is unrealistic to be happy 24/7. Life has its up’s and down’s and happiness is all the happier because of it. False-positivity is no way to live.
Another (probably the most important) thing about happiness is that happiness is a choice. I don’t mean in the sense that you can wake up one day and choose to be happy. You have to work on being happy. But the first thing you must decide is that you want to be happy. That you will try to be happy. Like I mentioned earlier, it is tempting to stay in our sadness – it protects us from the world, people who might hurt us, uncomfortable situations… but it also prevents us from all the great opportunities that are out there. Sadness isolates you, even if it is not physically. It mentally isolates, it makes you think: it is you against the world, when the only thing against you is yourself. The first step to happiness is opening up to being vulnerable again. For one needs vulnerability to trust, love, and be loved.
With this being said, you have to realise that your happiness should never rely on anyone. People can make you happy, but the person who can make you most happy of all should be yourself. This is why self-care is not selfish. Loving yourself is not selfish. It is true that if you want to love anyone, you must love yourself first. If you cannot take care of yourself then how can you of another person? Therefore, pamper yourself. Indulge yourself in the things you love: good food, shopping, warm baths, a childhood hobby. Do what makes your heart sing, even in the midst of your busy life. If you like baking, bake. It is vital that you make time for you too, it is important that you learn that you are not lonely but can be happy even when alone.
Your me time gives you time to reflect and draw things together again, try to be in the moment. Often my happiness is disrupted by my regret for the past or desire for it, and other times, my anxiety of the future. I find if there is one ‘secret’ to happiness, it is to live in the present. Think of children, they do not fret about the small things. Audrey Hepburn once said that she’d heard that ‘Happiness is good health and a bad memory’. So be like children, forget easily and don’t worry about what you are going to eat next Monday night.
The past is beautiful because we romanticise it. We remember our ex’s lovelier than they were, our best friend funnier, our childhood self happier than our older self. We need to be grateful for the things and people we have now. Of course, no person or time can replace the past ones, but that is not to say that the currents ones are not as happy. They are just happy in a different way. As for the future, it can be a little trickier. Especially in this fast moving time and age, it is always go, go go! and when we do find time to ‘relax’, we are left worrying that we should be making better use of our time. Which brings me back to the importance of living in the moment.
When things are too much, I sometimes find myself thinking, I have so much to do – poor me! I feel I am losing my way. It is in these moments that we should sit back and appreciate that it is in fact a good thing that we have a way to lose at all. It is better to have things to do than to have nothing at all. The best way to not outrun and worry yourself is to keep organised. Make a plan and list all the things you have to do – often you will find that, with it written down, it is not as vast and intimating as it is in your head. And stick to that plan, don’t over-do it and once you’ve said that a project is done, it is done. Set it aside, let it go, and let it be.
Therefore, perhaps the key to happiness is to have faith. Have faith that when things are sad, they will be happy again. Faith that you are exactly where you’re meant to be. Believe in faith, even if with is something illogical, uncertain, even scary, for it is still something beautiful at the same time, just like happiness.
I’d like to know in the comments what are the little things that make you happy.