Monday, July 9, 2012

Finding Happiness

Happiness is what we all strive for. It brings a sense of peace and bliss. I am still learning to be happy all the time. This is a process that I am sure will take my whole life. But so far, these are my observations on how to be happy:

Immediate happiness comes from different things for everybody. Immediate happiness is different than long-lasting happiness. But it is happiness nonetheless. Some people find happiness from being with others, some find happiness from being alone. Some find happiness from a good joke or a good movie. Some find happiness from Nutella. 

But now I will talk about finding deep, long-lasting happiness:

Happiness comes from being loving and compassionate towards others. What is your reaction when someone smiles at you or compliments you for no reason? What is your reaction when someone does a service for you? You don't have a bad reaction to this, do you? It makes you happy. Likewise, being the person that smiles at others, compliments them, or helps them brings happiness. When your thoughts and actions turn outward instead of inward, you become more happy. Find ways to show others that you love them on a regular basis. Who should you love? Everbody. It's easy to love your friends and those who show love to you, but showing love to your enemies is difficult. When you learn to love your enemies, you are liberated.

Happiness comes from being loving and compassionate towards yourself. Loving yourself is a difficult task to master. Many people struggle with feelings of inadequacy or low self-worth. This can spiral into depression, which is a dangerous cycle to let yourself fall into. But when you accept yourself and love yourself unconditionally, you reach a state of peace. Remember: just because you have room for improvement it doesn't mean that you aren't good enough already. Tell yourself every day that you love yourself.

Happiness comes from within. It doesn't come from any other sources. You can try to find it through means other than yourself, but ultimately it is you who chooses to be happy. Happiness really is a choice. Some people think that being rich and  successful is all you need to be happy. But think about the celebrities, who are rolling in wealth. Are they happy? I mean, really happy? Maybe they seem happy on the surface, but they do not have the long-lasting happiness that some are privileged to enjoy. Happiness can come to those who are poor, or have lost everything in their lives. Happiness does not depend on what you are, what you have, or who you have. It does not depend on how much money you have. It does not depend on whether you have a successful career. It does not depend on whether you have the ideal significant other. All of these things may enhance your life, but the ultimate choice to be happy comes from you. Choose to be happy no matter what your circumstances are.

Happiness comes from progressing and overcoming. I believe that the purpose of life is to progress. We are not here to simply float on by or just to have a jolly good time. Would you really be happy if you stayed the same, with all your faults and your weaknesses? Or would you be happier if you could overcome difficult times, and progress through your flaws? Life is an staircase, not an escalator. You can choose to go up, but you have to make an effort. That's why bad things happen, even to good people. We are given hardships so that we can become stronger. When we experience the bad, we can truly appreciate the good. Instead of seeing challenges that arise in your life as problems, think of them instead as opportunities. They are opportunities to grow and progress, and to be happy.

Happiness comes from having an attitude of gratitude. As it says on Kung Fu Panda: "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, and that's why they call it the present." It's really true. When you see everything around you as a blessing, you are free. Of course, it is easy to be thankful for those you love, for a good job, for everything that's going right in your life. But true happiness can only be achieved when you are thankful for the things that go wrong in your life. Be thankful for hardships that come your way. They make you appreciate how good your life really is.

Happiness starts with YOU. Happiness comes along the journey, not at the end.

1 comment:

  1. Holly, this is a fantastic blog! In true Harris style, your thoughts and understand are way beyond your age. I say that in a good way. Your perspective will bring you happiness.