My search for happiness and where it led me.

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If you ask me about what I really desire in life, one side of me has a million answers, the other side only has one, to be happy, completely, utterly and unconditionally.

Looking for happiness has been my mission for my entire life; I learned from an early age that nothing is worth it as long as I’m not happy and thus made a point in trying to find happiness everywhere I went. From all that, let me tell you about the one thing I’ve learned, true happiness only comes from within.

Since I could remember, I’ve worked hard to achieve many things, to please many people, and to receive the praise I needed, did that make me happy? Temporarily yes, on the long term, no. I’ve always done my best to get myself what my heart desired, when I could do it, it made me happy, again only temporarily, but when I couldn’t, it made me unhappy for far too long. People were also a subject of my search for happiness throughout many years, I’ve built it on friends, acquaintances, and of course my parents, needless to say there is nothing more dangerous than linking your happiness to others, your mood becomes dependant on someone else’s mood, on someone’s time, someone’s sensitivity, manners, memory, and how high they think of you, and let me tell you it is such an exhausting way of life, and feels like traveling down a road with no precise destination, all the time.

And there are the big dreams we build in life, graduation, getting that degree, going to that dream destination, you name it, I’ve built my dreams with love and care and with each one made so many hopes, hopes of a lot of accomplishments that all lead toward happiness, then I watched that precious feeling slip through my fingers like grains of sand shortly after the initial rush of an accomplished goal wore off, leaving nothing but disappointment and the dread of knowing that I’m back to where I started. I remember once in one of the happiest moments in my entire life, I was so overwhelmed and grateful that I told myself nothing could make me sad after this, I have what I wanted the most and this is it, it’s over. But the thing is, it’s never really over. The falling and rising and then falling again is an endless circle that will never stop as long as we see our happiness represented by the outside world.

No words are good enough to give you eternal happiness; no one is obliged to base their life on making you happy, no one is perfect to the point of casting your entire being with long lasting joy, there is no pink world unless you make one yourself, for you.  People could change the way you look at life, they could change your way of thinking and help you become more positive, people are able to complement your happiness in endless ways, but no one can make an unhappy person happy. Unhappiness is a disease to which no one can give you a cure, only help you create one at the very best.

Those few sentences were easy to write, but painfully hard to learn. I believe that at a certain point every one of us gets that calling; to stop for a while, stop observing the outside world, stop looking at others, stop comparing and hoping and planning, stop everything and just look within, it’s that urge you feel when you want to get to know someone and peel every layer of their personality, only that this time, you feel that urge towards yourself, and you look at it with new eyes, eyes that know nothing but are willing to learn about every last need, and then do what it takes to answer all of them. That urge is what made me realize that I didn’t know myself at all. I probably knew others more than I did myself, and could answer questions about my closed ones quicker than I could when it came to me. Someone once told me that if I want to become a better person and grow I should start by knowing who I am, and that helped me find out that I was looking for happiness in the wrong places, everything that I thought was supposed to make me happy was nothing but a distraction.

Fear is something that I’ve always struggled with because I never knew what I am really capable of, it’s no one’s fault but mine, for never taking the time to understand myself. Another mistake I made over and over again is placing responsibility on circumstances and others and simply anything that is not me, this lead to a very liberating fact that I’ve learned which is that happiness starts by taking responsibility, responsibility for your feelings, your actions and your reactions. You can’t control the world, your can’t control people, you can never have any control over what the next day is going to bring, or the words that will be directed to you, the only thing you can control, even if you don’t think you do, is how you react to those things, for how long are you going to hold on to them, and what will you make of them. The thing is, no matter what situation you’re in, there is always more than just one way of seeing things, and every single thing has a good and a bad side and sometimes a side in between. You’d be surprised to know how much you’re responsible for your own unhappiness, I know I did. This thing about responsibility is no easy task, it takes practice and a high awareness of how you handle your mistakes and their consequences, and it goes from simple things like to stop blaming the weather or the careless passers-by to taking full responsibility for your reactions to someone’s harsh words or even a failure.

As for the hardest part, that would be self love. It is important to know who you are but that only takes you halfway until you learn to appreciate who you are. We all love ourselves right? But how many times have you said things like “I’m so stupid”, “I look like hell” or something like “I could never do that”, how many times have you refused a compliment or even said its opposite about yourself, convincing yourself that you’re being modest?. Psychologists, personal development specialists and life coaches all have one common advice: speak to yourself the same way you would speak to the person you love the most. Would you tell your dear ones that they’re not good enough? Would you blame a loved one for being weak? Would you be angry at someone you love for failing? Why showering others with sweet talk while depraving yourself?

When I first read about this the first thought that came to my mind is that it’s selfish! And then I read more and came to the realization that there is no bad that could come from simply loving yourself, it’s not even that easy to do, even if it sounds simple it’s really not, we all have an uncontrolled tendency to scold ourselves at the slightest mistake, some more than others, which makes it hard to consider ourselves as someone who’s as worthy of our love and affection as others. Self love and self esteem are two different things, self love is unconditional, it goes deeper, from the way you see yourself and what you tell yourself to the last thing you think about before you go to sleep. It’s a process of learning your value and then acting based on it. People who reach the point of feeling that healthy radical self love are not selfish people, nor are they arrogant or too proud, they’re just people who simply choose to eliminate negative self talk and replace it with gratitude and kindness, I’ve came across people like those, we all do, and the thing that distinguishes them is that they spread love and happiness like they have an unlimited reserve of the two, the more they give, the more they grow. Life is a gift we seldom remember to be grateful for, the least you can do is appreciate yourself and treat it with care. Self love is also a practice and a journey that needs determination and enough willingness to change for the better.

Loving yourself is the thing that will lead you to seeking the life you deserve, instead of sentencing yourself to a life under the pressure of fear, attachments and material things.

I’m a person who never wants to stop learning, every time I find new things that help me open my mind more and see the world through a wider perspective than I did yesterday, like anyone else my life is full of ups and downs and for a long time I based my emotions on those ups and downs and thus never been truly happy or satisfied. I’m only starting to learn about positivity and how a positive attitude can be maintained no matter what life puts us through, as long as we remember to count our blessings, to eliminate any trace of negativity from our daily life, and to give continuously, for happiness is one of the few things that only increase by sharing. With that said, a person’s journey in life shouldn’t be about looking for happiness, but about appreciating the little things in life and the countless blessings that are constantly being given to us without even asking, only with that can life become an enjoyable adventure rather than an aimless quest.

Amal.S

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