Happiness is the primary feeling we all search for. It’s more important than health, wealth, and relationships. For some people life seems to be a series of failures and disappointments and no hope of happiness. Life is filled with ups and downs, peaks and valleys and there is nothing we can do to change that. What we can change is our reaction or, our attitude, to those all those moments, good and bad.
I’m a firm believer that the bulk of our personal problems are a result of our ego getting in the way. Most of our lives are spent in self concern. Our ego dominates and has incessant demands. How do I feel about this or that? What do other people think of me? What am I going to do? Why do I feel this way? Why am I so unhappy? Why did that happen to me? And on and on. There’s an endless barrage of thoughts and feelings about ourselves. Therein lies the problem. We are focused on ourselves and our needs.
We look to others for happiness when the key is within. You are responsible for your own happiness. You and no one else. So, it’s up to you to make it so. There’s an old Chinese proverb that states:
If you want happiness for an hour–take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day–go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year–inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime–help someone else.
Resist the temptation to judge other people. Each and every one of us has our own trials and tribulations; our own problems; our own daily path of difficulty to walk. Even the seemingly happiest person in the world has their own issues to deal with every day. That should help to put your own life in perspective. The world does not revolve around just one person. We are all part of the bigger picture and one of our responsibilities is to the greater good. Be of service to others to enjoy some happiness. Remember back to the last time you did something nice for another person and the appreciation they showed. How happy did that make you feel?
Even so, some people may not show appreciation for your efforts. How would you react to that? Don’t let their negativity affect your happiness. Doing good things for others brings its own satisfaction. Set a good example for others and they may catch on. If they don’t, so what? Do good just for the sake of doing good.
Don’t dwell on the past. Learn from it and move on. You can’t change it so get over it. If something in the past made you unhappy you can trace it back to the demands of your ego.
By the same token don’t worry about the future. Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow but today of its strength. Worry is focusing on yourself again and your feelings and reaction to tomorrow’s possibilities. Just let tomorrow happen and strive to be the best person you can be. Be true to yourself and your core values. No more, no less.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. You can always find something to be grateful about. You don’t have to look far to find someone that’s worse off than you are. And, you won’t have far to look to find many things to be grateful for in your own life. Spend some time at the end of each and every day to remember all the things for which you should be grateful.
Stop chasing after things. Stuff doesn’t bring happiness. De-clutter your life. We become possessed by our possessions and lose perspective. Give things away. You’ll be surprised at the sense of well-being that produces.
Mother Theresa is credited with the following statements. Even if she’s not the author they will still hang on my wall as keys to happiness:
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you. Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight. Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness they may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give the world your best anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
Don’t expect to be happy all the time. Peaks and valleys are inevitable. But, be aware of when the negative thoughts and feelings creep in. You can be sure your ego is pulling you in the direction it wants you to go. Thoughts of failure, unworthiness, and all the negativity are ego driven. Recognize that and half the battle is over. When you recognize it’s the ego causing your problem you have a better chance of dealing with it and reducing the negative effects.
Personal fitness, health issues, nutrition, and the connection of our mind and body are the things I’ve taken a great interest in for at least the last 30 years so I think I know of whence I speak.
I am not a physician, therapist, or any other kind of so-called expert and am not giving anyone any medical advice. I know what works for me and have spent a lot of time, money, and effort constantly learning as much as I could about all of those subjects. But I strongly advise anyone to consult their own physician before making any changes in their own life.
Visit my blog for other interesting articles, video recipes featuring Chef Dog, books that I authored, and some truly free downloads–no opt-in required http://www.healthisanattitude.com
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