You can’t begin to be happy until you do the things that make you happy.
But do you know what makes you happy?
In this world of 7 billion people, each of us has our own unique path to happiness. But the seemingly simple concept of nurturing your individuality while traversing your own path in this world can be a challenge.
From a Happy Past to a Happier Present
Try this: Put on some music from your past. (that album from Junior High or High School that you tortured everyone by playing on repeat….your summer break anthem etc.) and look at yourself. Don’t focus on the physical changes; notice the personality changes that have crept in unnoticed and taken root.
Do you recall a bubbly younger you full of life, but all you see right now is a grown up; slave to responsibilities and real life day to day obligations? Do you remember a lively pre-teen singing a song to her group of friends, but can’t think of the last time you sang anything?
You have to FIND yourself before you begin to enjoy yourself.
Step One: Food
Make it a point to stock up on your favorite foods or take time to prepare your favorite meal. Don’t focus on how appetizing others (partner, roommates, friends) would find the food. Make a point to eat something you really enjoy.
Step Two: Schedules
Take the time to make room in your schedule for you. Give priority to yourself once in a while. If you need to shuffle some things around or hand off some tasks to others, do it. This is a good opportunity to exercise saying “no.”
Step Three: Friendships
Prioritize your relationships according to the ones that add value to you as a person. Start to court the company of only those who are encouraging, positive individuals.
Similarly, avoid those who expect you to conform to their way of thinking and living.
Decline invitations to go party from acquaintances when what you really want to do is watch crappy television in your pajamas.
Step Three: Fitness
Enjoy your exercise! Have fun staying active and don’t be afraid to try new things. Exercise doesn’t always have to mean the gym, but if that’s the most enjoyable outlet for fitness, go for it!
Step Four: Hobbies
Sometimes we fall into doing things because it’s what the people around us enjoy doing. While they may be fun, they may not be the things we would really, given the choice, spend our time doing. Make sure you get a chance to indulge in the little things that give you pleasure. Knitting, reading, hiking. You don’t have to find someone to accompany you. You can make this time your own if no one else shares your particular passion for macrame or tai chi. If you enjoy doing it, do it.
Step Five: Career
There is often a lot of focus on salary and how much money you earn. It’s nice to be able to make a living, but the bottom dollar doesn’t have to be the main focus of your everyday life, conversations, relationships, and work as a happiness meter.
Don’t feel inadequate if you don’t make as much as others in your life, and if making a ton of money simply isn’t that important to you, don’t try to be something you’re not.
Change your lifestyle in a way that suits you and makes sense to your own unique situation.
“What might change after all this introspection? You might find yourself saying:
- I have stopped trying to be someone I am not.
- I no longer adopt thoughts and actions that do not resonate with who I am.
- My relationship with family and friends has been strengthened by giving more priority to my own needs and dreams.
- I have a circle of friends that consists of only positive and encouraging people.
- I laugh and smile a lot.
- All in all, I am living a happier life. My OWN life. Not someone else’s.
This is not meant as criticism of what other people think and do. Everyone has her own life and the right to be happy living it. But no one should measure her own happiness quotient through others’ notions of what she “ought” to be.
What makes you happy? What brings a smile to your face and a song to your heart? What does it take for you to enjoy your life and cherish your existence on earth? We have been given some finite decades to live on this lovely planet. Why not dedicate our energy and effort to making the most of it?
Enjoy getting to know yourself!