5 Realizations for a Happier Life!
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson
Over 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson wrote these monumental words into the Declaration of Independence. The portion of this quote that always struck me as interesting was the pursuit of happiness. What is it to pursue happiness? After seeing countless people die unhappy, old and pursuing happiness, working tirelessly to achieve this happiness, I decided to stop pursing and start doing. Four years ago marked the beginning of my transformation, and I made a decision to be happy that very day. The pursuit has ceased since then. I’m going to share 5 realizations that aided me in ending my pursuit almost immediately.
1. Happiness is a State of Mind
It’s important to realize that happiness is a mindset. It is a conscious decision which can become a lifestyle. So, this is the first thing that must be understood to live happier now. Happiness is not something you try to do, it is something you simply do. In trying to be happy, you will never achieve it. This is simply because of the fact that this idea of happiness is already inside of you. Have you ever lost your keys or wallet and searched all over the house for it? You begin to question if it was stolen from you, if it’s even in the house. After 20 minutes of frustration you suddenly realize that the keys were in your back pocket the entire time. This same concept applies to happiness, however people may look for a lifetime before finding it. Happiness is something that you tap into. It is always in you and when you look for it in people, accomplishments, and things, you are externalizing your power. Hold on to your power and make the conscious decision to embrace the happiness which is already invested inside of you. Transform your mind, transform your life.
“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
Make time each day to repeat a few positive affirmations which put you in a happier state of mind. There are many affirmations all over the internet to assist you in this endeavor, including my personal affirmation page. This will begin the process of instilling a daily happiness mindset.
2. Let Go of What You Can’t Control
This realization stems from the idea of giving away your happiness for free. In the previous realization, happiness is a state of mind. It was shown that there is already an abundance of happiness within you, however many times we give it away unnecessarily and without compensation. I’m sure you can recall a time where you received bad news or had a misfortune happen to you. As a result, you would spend hours or even days stressing and complaining over what had already happened. What good did this bring you? It my personal experience with this, it brought me none. Now this is where letting go of
what you can’t control comes in. The function of this realization is that you are often faced with two different types of circumstances: ones that you have no control over and ones that you can influence. I have found it monumental to my growth in being able to mentally and physically release the circumstances that I held no power over. Many times, what’s done is done. When you insist on giving your energy, thought, joy, and time into something that no longer has the potential to be altered, you are setting yourself up for failure. Instead of spending a day or two crying and worrying about a test that you failed in school, spend that day or two working ahead to assure that it doesn’t happen again. Instead of sitting in a fury over the driver who cut you off in traffic a few hours ago, take a few deep breaths and focus that energy on doing something you love.
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” – Oprah Winfrey
Whenever you are faced with a negative situation or something bad happens to you ask yourself if this is something that I can control. If the answer is no, then focus your thoughts and energy on something apart from the negativity.
3. Find Time for What You Love
This realization is pretty self-explanatory. There were many times in my life where I was involved in a countless number of things that I didn’t want to be a part of. I would devote time and energy to
activities that my heart wasn’t in. As a result, I lacked the the time and energy to do what it was that I truly wanted to pursue. As a result, I suffered and was awfully confused. The moment I started to make time for things like my music, good friends, self-education, nature, and even blogging, I noticed an immediate shift in my state of mind and inner joy. You, and you alone, have this life to live. Therefore, it is your responsibility to control what you commit your life and time to. If you aren’t doing what you love, nobody else can do it for you.
“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” – Steve Jobs
Write a list of activities you love doing and people love spending time around. Make time everyday do one of those activities or be with one of those people. If planned appropriately, you will find time.
4. Spread Positivity and Authenticity
I believe in a thing called karma. The sum of your actions has a direct affect on your future reality. But to zoom in, the actions you commit have an immediate impact on your internal state. It can be
said that status of your internal feelings or mood can impact the status of your external interactions. This is a concept that is seen on a daily basis. I’m sure you’ve seen that person dealing with relationship issues, only to then turn around and lash out a friend later that day. Perhaps you’ve met an individual who’s living a life they love, and their presence seems to spread joy to everyone nearby. This is a phenomena that you can observe everyday. However, what if adjusting your interactions with others consequently altered your internal state? Luckily for us, it does. By making the choice to be positive and authentic in your interactions, you are deciding to live a positive and authentic life. Compliment a stranger, smile at those you walk past, try and hold your judgmental outbursts, make an effort to assist someone with a need. I guarantee that you will notice a difference in your mood. When you do this the most amazing thing happens. You begin to receive compliments, people will smile back, people become more tolerant of you, and people start to assist you in your needs. It’s a beautiful thing. The second half of this realization is being authentic. This is so important. When you are being yourself, a great burden is lifted. You are no longer ashamed or hiding. You are able to stand up for your feelings and for what you want.
“The unhappy derive comfort from the misfortunes of others.” – Aesop
Try to spread some sort of love to at least one stranger a day. This can range from a genuine compliment, to helping someone you see that needs help, to even giving someone a warm hug. Also, work on being authentic in your expression of self. This means not being afraid to speak your truth or move freely.
5. Pay Attention to the Small Things
Life moves on auto-pilot many times. We tend to just walk around with our heads clouded with thought, caught in our own world. Along my journey I’ve noticed an amazing thing. The more I get out of my head and appreciate the small things around me and happening to me, the more happiness I run across. In any instant in time you are surrounded by an ocean of beauty. At this very moment, I’m able to appreciate the beautiful sunlight shining through a crack in the window, the breeze along my feet, the smell of the candle across the room, and the progress I’ve made on this blog post. This appreciation is amplified when I am in nature. To take things one step further, it’s also important to notice the many blessings you are living in. We often focus on the negative aspects of life, leaving the positives ostracized and forgotten. Taking time to realize how lucky you are to not be one of the 3 billion people living in poverty on this earth, to have people in your life that care about you, and to have the technology to read this post will really begin to open your eyes.
“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.” – Andy Warhhol
Whenever you feel the urge, stop what you are doing and open your senses. Look around at the beauty surrounding you, breath in the air, listen for the silent echoes which you failed to notice earlier, and pay attention to how your body feels. This can be done at any time of the day and in any environment.