Reading multiple self-help books and articles, shopping, partying, a long holiday, or maybe the love of your life—what brings happiness? The elusive art of happiness has become the talk of 2020, the year of pandemics. We all want to be happy but why aren’t we?
Before you set up a goal to achieve happiness, you must first and foremost understand what happiness is.
The clichéd version (dictionary) says “Happiness is a range of emotions, from contentment to joy. We might think of happiness as an ephemeral thing that floats in and out of our lives, or as our life’s essential goal, or as just the opposite of sadness.”
So now that you know the words, ask yourself if you understand the underlined meaning. The answer is probably negative or confusing. Because much like art, happiness is an internal process—the more conscious you get, the better you are at the subtle art. The subtle art of happiness lies in the plain sight of being conscious and just like any other art, it needs practice.
The saying “fake it till you make it” applies to happiness as well.
We often tell ourselves that we must achieve this or that to be happy. In the process of making such hypothetical happiness for the future we are sacrificing our happiness in present. And the problem is we are not even aware of it.
So first, let’s bust some bubbles of myths.
- Myth: Money makes you happy.
- Myth: You need a relationship to be happy.
- Myth: The Best Years of your life are over.
- Myth: Landing the Dream Job makes you Happy.
- Myth: Happiness is the destination.
Say “NO” to all these myths today.
Happiness is when your life energies are happening in a more exuberant way than it normally happens. You don’t need to search the source of happiness outside because Happiness is a state of mind; just like sadness, anxiousness, anger, jealousy—you don’t stay in one constant state forever, do you? They come and go.
The key is to learn to dance with all and make peace with your darkest parts. You just need to grab a good immune system for negative experiences to maintain the state of happiness. But if you are busy clinging to the past or clinging to your hopes, fears, or worrying about the future—you are not present for the dance today.
When you are low and pondering upon ‘how to be happy’, all these pep talks are just words to you. I got you. Just focus on these tips below and practice your consciousness. You shall reach happiness.
- Don’t Try
YES, you heard right! Don’t try to be happy. The more you try, the more you’ll end up making goals for happiness. In this digital age, we take inspirations from social media updates based on—how many followers someone has or what are the things they have achieved in life and the list goes on.
Living in the recent time, I often scroll through someone’s page and instantly become competitive about the number of followers. Now that something had put me down, I would try to overcome it by gaining more followers. But it all comes with the cost of my happiness.
Any goal of your life will take you to a better future and hence is important. However, happiness is a different thing altogether. It’s not in the future.
The future is an illusion, so chose wisely if you want your happiness to be illusive or a reality.
- Don’t seek claps from others
Human beings, especially Artists, are prone to seek appreciation from their peers. We always have a hunger for other’s opinions in our accomplishments.
Being an artist, I understand this urge vividly. Artists are prone to seek appreciation in their every creation. It makes us confident.
However, in this society, it’s pretty hard to come by an honest appreciation. You either face ruthless criticism or fake appreciation. So here, your first choice is between these two—what you choose to concentrate on?
Suppose you have chosen to accept the fake appreciation. Then it doesn’t matter at all for the sheer lack of truth.
Now, if you choose to ponder upon the criticism that may become hard to handle. Constructive criticism is always better than fake appreciation. Constructive criticism helps you to get improved in life. But then again, society throws judgment in the disguise of criticism to you.
Today as we’re on the edge of revolution, we are always hyperactive to voice our thoughts even if it’s not valuable enough to get noticed. Then we get offended to get unnoticed. The more people criticize our act, the more we come up with excuses about why we did it. Instead, use the criticism constructively to be a better version of yourself.
Again it’s yourchoice if you try to fit into someone’s expectations for the urge of appreciation or you try to get improved in life in your own way. The first option will bring you temporary happiness. But the second option will definitely bring you the ultimate happiness sooner or later.
As Mark Manson correctly put, “The Feedback Loop from Hell has become a borderline epidemic, making many of us overly stressed, overly neurotic, and overly self-loathing.”
- Say no to Social Media in the first 15 minutes of your day
As difficult as it sounds to you now, this small change consistently done will help you in the long run. In the pandemic of 2020, today the level of stress and self-loathing is getting increased rapidly. The rate of depression and anxiety is on a hike. Everybody is seeking happiness in their own way. But are we happy?
You look at your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feed and see somebody got a luxurious car or somebody got married—everybody seems to be having a great life. Meanwhile, you’re scrolling through their amazing life and drowning in self-pity. You feel like there’s something wrong with you and that my friend will get you into trouble.
First of all, if everyone is living the gorgeous life that they put an image on social media, then how come, the 2019 World Happiness Report shows negative feelings are rising around the world?
Secondly, why should you feel bad about feeling bad? Why you feel sad about feeling sad or why you get anxious about feeling anxious?
The feedback loop from hell is a constant motion yet arriving nowhere. The problem is that our society (more accurately, social media) is training a whole generation of people who believe that having negative feelings—anxiety, jealousy, guilt, fear, etc is totally not okay.
- Stop victimizing yourself
So if your life is somewhat of a Harry Potter movie, the tendency of Self-victimization is Professor Quirrell in disguise helping Voldemort. You think of him as someone to get support from but you are being betrayed.
You’re the hero of your movie and self-victimizing is only going to make it flop. You get two choices in any confrontation–either you can make thousands of excuses for why you are unable to achieve something and start victimizing yourself or you can focus on the solutions of how you can overcome the situation. The latter choice may take you through a harsh path but it’ll definitely bring happiness. Don’t be a victim to your situation.
- Learn to love yourself
This can be Controversial. Everybody will tell you “Learn to love yourself”. But what if your judgment about yourself is already clouded.
You see another person’s amazing life and feel like a piece of shit! Or You might be a piece of shit and be unaware of it. Maybe you are just pretending to be happy, living in an illusionary bubble. Because you feel that’s the only way to live.
We are living in the FOMO (Fear-Of-Missing-Out) generation. We fear to accept our problems in front of others. Instead, we find satisfaction in showing off our fake happiness. Sooner or later this pretentious happiness will get you down and you’ll be shattered.
Be aware of your thoughts, yourself, and on what ground you can improve.
Then only you can bring happiness and peace in your life. The owner of a four-storeyed building can be depressed, drinking himself to sleep; whereas a beggar can go to sleep peacefully with an empty stomach. WHY? Because that beggar is aware of his situation who has nothing to lose and now it’s his choice to exceed himself in some way or not. Whereas, the building owner is only thinking of gaining more without even appreciating his current state.
Happiness shouldn’t be affected by your achievements/societal-status. Start loving yourself! Stop finding happiness in materialistic things.
- Happiness is a daily practice like Meditation. Indulge yourself in meditation to find your true self.
- Practise Introspection. Start questioning yourself. It will give you access to understanding yourself. Self-reflection helps you process what you are, what you learn and the insights you get through this will make you aware.
- Start thinking one day at a time. Stop overloading yourself with future thoughts. As Oogway (Kung-fu Panda)says, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift…that’s why they call it the present.”
- Be confident about who you are. Even if you’re a piece of shit. Be aware of your shit and own it!
We are definitely the most comfortable generation ever on this planet physically and materialistically. But we also are the most depressed generation with the highest suicide rate than ever. Things we couldn’t imagine 20 years ago are just a living reality today. So just stop running through the relay race of life without being aware. Be Conscious, be aware of yourself, be happy, and grateful for this life and start the race!
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