Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Secret Behind True Happiness

It’s funny that I chose to write this piece right as I was listening to Mary J. Blige’s song Not Gon’ Cry from the Soul Food Soundtrack (I’m a big lover of oldies soul music by the way…70’s were the best!!!).

As I was listening to the song and its message I remembered several discussions I have had over the years with friends, family and people just seeking my advice. One of those major issues was being unable to live a happy life and a life of fulfillment.

Over the years people I know have been unhappy with their life, be it relationship, issues with family or friends, career, feeling as if their life has no purpose or no direction. For example, your significant other isn’t doing the things he/she use to that made you fell in love with them in the first place; parents not understanding who you are and what you want; not being able to be the person you truly want to be because you’re afraid of what your friends may think of you; you’re in a dead end job and it seems as though you have no future where you are; your in a degree programme doing something you hate because everyone tells you “it’s better to have a degree than none at all”. Sounds familiar? Whatever the case may be it happens because we are all human and we are all exposed and prone to these things happening.

What I have realized from personal experience and the experience of others is that unhappiness, no matter what form it may come in, has one common trait, you’re unhappy because you are trying to please others and not yourself. As I always tell people, nothing is wrong with being selfish when it comes to your own happiness, because in order to be happy you have to be happy with yourself. Don’t be confused with what I am trying to say, I’m not saying selfishness should become a part of you…NO! What I’m saying is there has to be a balance, one must know when to compromise to please others and when not to in order to please yourself and be happy, and there is a limit between the two. When one constantly compromises and the result seems to be the same dead end road at each turn, which seems to go nowhere, then you know it is time to start thinking about you and what you want.

Now, to the question everyone wants answered, “What’s the secret behind true happiness?” It seems so difficult yet is so simple it blows the mind:

  1. Identify what is making you unhappy- this could be a person, a situation, even your very physical environment will make you unhappy. Once you have identified what makes you unhappy, you can find ways to make it happy or if it isn’t possible then GET RID OF IT; don’t become attached to it and don’t tell yourself you can compromise or you can control it, because in reality YOU CAN’T, because not having control over the situation is the reason you are unhappy in the first place.

  1. Find out what you consider to be true happiness- true happiness from person to person will vary, not everyone experiences happiness in the same form; for some waking up in a good mood each morning is happiness, having a special feeling for the one you love is happiness, having a sense of accomplishment and success is happiness.

  1. What makes you happy- once you have found what you consider to be happiness then you identify what makes you happy, not what others think will make you happy, not doing something pleasing to others will make you happy, but what makes YOU happy and then listing them.

  1. Making the change to true happiness- this is probably the most difficult of all the steps and I’ll explain why in a while; this step involves making the transition from unhappy to happy: once you have identified what makes you unhappy, identified what you consider true happiness to be, and identified what makes you happy, then you get rid of the bad and bring in the good; now the reason why I mentioned this is the most difficult step is this is where the battle really gets hard, from people telling you that you shouldn’t and what you’re doing is wrong, and its best to play safe than be sorry and blah blah blah, not to mention the inner battle you must face with yourself, trying to decide if the move is the right one or not, or realizing you’re too attached to let go; the best thing to do is not allow fear to control your actions, fear of letting go, fear of what people may say or think, and the fear of what if it doesn’t work out the way you hope it to; but in order to experience the true happiness that I am referring to there has to be a point where you break from your comfort zone, ignore what all say or do even if it is your very family who may dissuade you, and hell….just go for it. I did and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier in my life, truly relieved, truly unstressed and unburdened, and absolutely no regrets about it. All that’s left for me is moving forward, no looking back.

Sooner or later we will realize that in order to truly be happy with ourselves and our life, there has to be great, grim sacrifices, and we must be willing to do what makes us happy and not what makes others happy.

What I have realized is: if you do bad people will say bad things, if you do good people will still say bad things, and if you do nothing, believe it or not, they will still say bad things. What I try to live by is “its better to have them say bad while I’m doing good”, because then what they say are only assumptions, there is no proof to back it up, but if you do bad then you will prove them right, and if you do nothing that simply means that you have kept silent and have given them confirmation that you accept that what they say is true…basically my message is have a positive voice, prove to others that what they say has no truth to it because the way you live your life will say others.

Final message: know what makes you happy and JUST DO IT **insert Nike sign here**


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