Be Happy — It’s Important

Ah, “change something.” King of the citizens of “Easier Said Than Done-ville.”

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.

Haters are going to hate, Little Billy. And you know what you says to them? You says nothing, because they aren’t worth your time.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

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19 thoughts on “Be Happy — It’s Important

  1. theabrasiveembrace says:

    I have a “life philosophy” similar to your list, and I share it with friends when they’re down – I found it to be a powerful message:

    YOU are the protagonist in your story. You might not get the choose the start of it, but bit by bit you grow into character and choose your co-star, your funny side-kick, the scenery etc.
    Don’t let other people write your story for you, but also respect that each of those people has their own story as well.

  2. eatwilmington says:

    I’ve found that Happiness is a state mind, really. It starts with me being kind to and taking care of myself, so that I have something to offer others. Then, as you have stated, it’s all about how you think about things. Most of the stuff people worry about just doesn’t matter, and you miss all the blessings of the moment when you are caught up in the drama! Relax and be where you are. The rest will take care of itself. Thanks for this thought provoking post!

    • It is difficult to take care of yourself sometimes, isn’t it? I know a lot of people who love to help others and do stuff for other people, but they neglect themselves, and it starts to show after a while. Taking care of yourself and making yourself happy isn’t selfish, it’s necessary. \o/ (And worth it. >.>)

  3. I think people strive too hard to be happy.
    That happy family of the Cornflakes commercial, happiness derived from a new car or new sofa, it’s all transient and so can that word ‘happy’ be.
    Contentment is a good aim. A general good feeling with where you are in life.
    Happy is a high. Depressed is a low. A lot of people rock from one to the other.
    I have been depressed and it is not a good place – luckily my bout of it was after ‘flu and it was a) treated and b) fairly short-lived.
    There is a little prayer – and even if you are totally non-religious it is an appropriate one to adopt: The Serenity Prayer.
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    The courage to change the things I can,
    And the wisdom to know the difference.
    Between that and ‘To thine own self be true’ I reckon these are good ideas to follow.

    • Those are both very good things to remember and try to apply to your own life… especially the Serenity Prayer. And I also like the idea of going after contentment, because really… that’s pretty good too!

  4. Great post. In addition to the things you listed (and I agree with all of them), I’d have to add: get the help you need, whether it be from mental health professionals, doctors, pastors or other religious/spiritual influences if you’re suffering. And in my case, run. Keep running. And even if you can’t run, do something physical every day.

    Glad to hear you made it through your darker days. You sound really healthy now!

    • Yeah, physical activity does really help… and getting help especially is a must! It doesn’t always have to be professionals… even if it’s just reaching out to someone, maybe they’re not even an authority on the subject (unless you have an actual physical/mental ailment), not going it alone is so very helpful.

  5. looseleafbri says:

    Not cheesy at all, very insightful. I had a friendship end recently that was similar. Lots of animosity towards myself and a few others but no clear reason behind it. I feel that if someone ever really cared they would at least be willing to tell me what I did wrong. If not, then they never really cared and my life is not going to be ruined because they didn’t.

    • Yeah, that happens sometimes, or what you’re blamed for is not quite what happened, or something else. Sometimes there’s just too much of a gap between you two (or however many), so it’s easier to just say goodbye as respectfully as possible. Damage done, moving on. For me with my friends I believe very strongly in being honest and forward. No passive aggressiveness, no ‘I’m mad but I won’t say why,’ no two-faced nonsense… if you’re upset, say something. And it works unbelievable wonders.

  6. I really can’t put it into words. Its kind of sad how quickly I figured this one out, means I had some not so nice people in my life to teach me these lessons early on. But I wouldn’t change it. Not for the world. I am who I am because of what’s happened, who’s done and said what they have, and how I decided to pull my head out of the ‘society says’ cloud and really LOOK at my life. It takes major guts to say that you’re not happy and you don’t know what to do about it. Figuring out what to do about it was the hardest part for me. Finding me was the hardest thing.
    Great post!

    • It really is hard… and though I wish someone had told me these things, I’m still rather glad I went through them. I’m not sure I’d be who I am today if I didn’t deal with it personally, as much as it sucked. (Though I still could have gotten out of these troubles a bit sooner, them going on for months/years was a biiiit much.)

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