I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness recently, both because I am happy and because so many people I know are not. Happiness is something that you get a better grasp at controlling as you get older, but I think there are certain lessons that need to be taught in terms of how you can improve your own happiness. Looking back on a lot of the lessons I’ve had to learn the hard way, I find myself wishing that there had been someone to teach me these things before I had to encounter people and things that made my life miserable.
For much of my life, I wasn’t actually a happy person. The vast majority of that was depression, since that will do bad things to a person no matter how good their life is, but the rest of it was basically not knowing how to deal with the stuff that came my way, and a lot of the stuff that caused that were the people that I had the unfortunate pleasure of dealing with on a daily basis. But over the course of my life I’ve learned a lot about how to be happy. This isn’t some cheesy “10 steps to happiness” guide, just my reflections and a few things I think are important. Of course, your input is always appreciated.
So what brings this on? Well, people. If I ever have children, the first thing that I will teach them, before even how to say “mommy,” is that people are stupid. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been involved with people for much longer than I should have because I tried to get them to see sense. People won’t see sense. People are dumb. They do not know how to logic. The theory of multiple universes should be considered fact because I’ve seen living proof that people are capable of living in many of them, most of them drastically different from our own. I think, had I known that from the beginning, life would have been a lot easier for me (though still today I have to fight the urge to correct people who I know will never let themselves be corrected). People will be hypocrites, people will blame you for things you haven’t done, people will attack you with things that make no sense, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Accept it.
I’ve lost a number of friends over the years because of silly things. Things out of my control, things that came about simply because people change. I realized that one of the reasons I was unhappy over these relationships is that I was putting far too much stake in what other people thought of me. I wasn’t allowing myself to be myself. I was so concerned over getting other people to like me, and to change according to what they said no matter what it was, that I was losing myself. And that, friends, is not a good idea. If you look at what you’ve become and realize that you have no bloody clue who you are, it’s time to re-evaluate things. I had to find myself again, and that alone helped a lot.
One such falling out was just recently. I won’t go into too many details, but suffice to say my family has helped this person a lot over the years, more so than we could even afford. Gave them a home for free when they needed one (multiple times), gave them a car when they were at risk of losing their job, etc, etc. A few months later, they had taken to the internet, attacking me and my family for… well, I don’t actually know yet. None of it really made sense. They threw at me what I assume were meant to be insults, posted lengthy rants about the rest of my family, and they now spend their days stalking my social networks and writing rants about me still.
It was at this time in my life that I realized… hey, wait a minute. I haven’t thought about this person at all since they left. All this negative stuff happened, and they are so busy focusing on me and my life even today, but it doesn’t affect me at all. It doesn’t matter what they say, what they do or how much they complain. I am confident in my happiness, I’m enjoying my life, and I’m not letting my happiness be dependent on other people.
So with that, I present a few of the things I’ve learned over the years that help me be happy.
- Don’t let other people define your happiness. You are your own person, you are the person you need to focus on keeping content, and making others happy will not guarantee your own happiness.
- Don’t be afraid to let go. If you look at a relationship and realize that it’s doing more harm than good, maybe it’s time for that to stop. Surround yourself with happiness, and if anyone is dragging you back, cut the anchor.
- Don’t lose yourself. Accept that there will always be people who don’t like you. Their reasons don’t even have to make sense. But if you know who you are and who you want to be, just do that.
- Don’t listen to them. You know who I’m talking about. The ones who gossip. The ones who talk down to you, insult you and try to bring you down. There’s a saying: “If someone is trying to bring you down, that only means you’re above them.” Don’t let yourself sink down to where they are. Let them stay there.
- Be thankful for what you have. Every time that I’ve lost a friend, I’ve turned to the ones who have always been there, the ones who picked me up and kept me going. I know that I’m extremely lucky to have such amazing, fantastic people in my life. The more you remind yourself what’s important, the longer you’ll keep it.
Okay, okay. That turned out a bit cheesy. And long. But I digress. I’m a happy person living a happy life, even if it’s not perfect, and I’m not going to let anything get in the way of that. But now it’s your turn. What lessons have you learned about how to be happy and deal with the issues life throws at you?