Thursday, 19 September 2013

MY THEORY OF HAPPINESS

1. Are you happy today?
If your answer is "yes I'm quite happy because my boyfriend and I didn't fight today", it unfortunately doesn't count, because it seems like if you had asked yourself the same question yesterday and the day before and the day before that, the answer would've most likely been no. "I'm alright" or "not too bad" don't count either. It's either an "absolutely yes, everything is going the way I want"; everything else will go into the "no/not quite/things could be better" category.


2. Are you not completely happy today because you're working on achieving something?
If your work isn't the most amazing but you're doing it because you know you will gain skills, knowledge and experience that will help you break into the field of your desire, that's alright. If you're away from your loved ones on a work assignment and miss them dearly, but it's something you've always wanted to do, it's alright too, because you're doing something that makes you happy today, and know the day you're returning to more happiness. If you're doing something that's not ultra fun, but with a great goal in mind, you're on the right track - there needs to be an "expiry date" to "struggle time", leading to something you want. However, if it's a chain of average/boring/not-worth-thinking-about days with no end in sight, something needs to change.


3. Define what truly makes you happy, and go for it
Whether you feel good today or not, it's always worth sitting down to think about what makes you happy in life - things you're passionate about, your favourite people and activities, your goals, even the little details in your life and the things happening around you. Alternatively, you can start with your current concerns, and ask yourself how you would like things to be differently. You'll be surprised how this can help you draw your very own roadmap, taking you to exactly where you want to be.

Now there's two things you need to commit to: Firstly, you have to be absolutely honest with yourself. Nobody's listening, nobody's judging, so you have to listen to your very own voice, and shut everyone else's out. Forget about commitments and responsibilities for a moment - this is about what you, your heart, truly wants.
Secondly, you have to be specific defining the things that make you happy. Ask all the W questions: what, who, where, when, why, and most importantly, how? If you sit there and say "I'd be really happy if I had loads of money coming into the bank without having to go to work", you can keep sitting there and say to me "as if that's gonna happen just by writing it down", or you can ask yourself why you think that easy money will make you happy, and how you can get it. Create your game plan to achieve all those different goals, and be prepared to find yourself in point 2 for a while - however, you know where you're going and you will be happy doing it.

It might take some time for you to pull together your game plan; it's not easy to be completely honest with yourself sometimes, because we grow up with different influences of what is expected of us and where our place is supposed to be in this world. You gotta be brave and make yourself understand that in this precious life you were given, you gotta be happy and wouldn't want to look back at anything regretfully. No one can look after your own happiness but you, and no one can give your happiness more meaning than you.

I know that someone's gonna say, "I know I'm happiest when I'm in a relationship, now I can't force XYZ to be my boyfriend, because he's the only one I want!" Of course you can't. But knowing what kind of person you would like to be in a relationship with will have you patiently wait for the one that ticks all the boxes - you wouldn't want to be with anyone just for the sake of being in a relationship, and then have crappy ones, do you? Same with looking at famous people and wanting to be like them - what would you like to be famous for? And how famous would you like to be? What needs to be done to get to that fame?

Once you work out the whys and hows, it's time to take action. Normally you should be happy to work hard to get where you want to be - if the road seems too rocky for you to commit to, it might not be your true happiness after all. Even if you're lazy and don't want to lift your finger, you gotta know what to do and who to know to make things happen for you. Basically, if you want to wake up every day and think "life is really, really good and things are going the way I want", you gotta follow the formula: Happiness = hard work and patience + knowing why you're doing it.

By the way, there's the old family commitment hurdle that I'd like to mention, something I know too well from my own culture. Often times you are made to feel guilty for thinking about yourself only, and get the "selfish" label tacked onto you, "after all those years we cared for you". I'm not saying this out of disrespect - I have utmost respect and love for my parents who have supported me all this time (despite all the clashes during my teenage years). But if there's something you want for your life that could refresh your selfish sticker once again, you just have to know what you're talking about. You gotta know why you want to pursue whatever you chose and have to be fully committed to it. They might get hurt, they might not let you, but be patient, and be reasonable - it will get you nowhere if you just stubbornly scream back at them. However, don't give in: you will resent them for not letting you follow your happiness, and it could kill your relationship. Make it clear to them that you could care for them no matter what you do or where you are, or you could listen to what they say but couldn't care less about them. There are many tricky situations and it could take you a lot of time and energy to figure out what's best to do, however with every compromise you make you need to find that silver lining for yourself.


It takes some experience, but a lot more thought to understand what you want in life (= happiness), and knowing that you have no choice but to take that road to get there; after all, nothing will ever measure up to what you've set your heart on. It won't be easy, but you will feel on top of the world, because you get what you want, or you're on your way there. Not to say that your definition of happiness will never change in your life; however, knowing that you're doing things to fulfil yourself always makes the journey worthwhile. Today, I'm happy, as I was yesterday and the day before: being with my boyfriend, who is a genuine, generous, hardworking and loving man; living in the most amazing apartment, spacious, full of natural light, with the coolest landlords I could've never imagined; in my new job (fairly new now) that is the first stepping stone into the direction I want to go, working for a really great boss that cares, and doing different things every day which has pretty much made me forget the word "bored"; being surrounded by caring and inspiring friends, being in touch with others across the world, having a stronger connection with my family more than ever (even though we don't talk that much), and having taken solid first steps into a healthier lifestyle. It took a lot of time, energy and even tears to establish this is what I want, and it took even longer to get to where I am now, but the journey is so much more bearable, knowing where I'm heading. I'm not saying I'm leading a better life than anyone in any sense, and I'm not saying I've got more experience than anyone else... but I know I'm happy and I'm proud of it, every day.


And I wish you to be happy too.


[Image sourced from Tumblr]