Whether this is a true story or not, there is undeniable truth to it, right? We grew up being taught to dream. But how many of us have thought or were taught to dream to be happy.
Joy is a birth right. Usually, it is not easy to get to this mindset. Either religion brought us up to believe that we should feel guilty to be too happy, or culture made us think that happiness is a goal to pursue. But really, it is already present within us. And it is okay to aim for happiness. In fact, it should be mandatory to include happiness in our life goals, alongside our dreams of success. Happiness should be part of life.
And if it is not part of your life, if it doesn’t feel natural, do something about it. I don’t intend to downplay the struggles of some of us, especially those who are fighting mental health issues like clinical depression, and those who are battling pains physical or emotional. I walked through those paths at some points in my life. Almost 10 years ago, I sought professional help for my depression. A few years before that, I dealt with the death of a friend. A few years before that, I struggled from a painful end of a relationship. A few years before that, I battled with a self-esteem that nose-dived to what was my biggest failure ever. I may not know your personal struggles, but I hope I was able to convince you that you are not alone in your struggles.
Things happen in life that can easily snatch away the happiness that we have built so meticulously through time. People come and go, and they take a little of our happiness with them. Consider these constants in life. We cannot totally prevent it. But here’s the good news… It is as constant as our ability to find happiness. They go hand in hand. It is part of life’s cycles.
If we have to fake it until we find it, why not? But! Be honest with yourself. In those difficult times I just described, none of my friends can tell I was depressed. In fact, some probably thought I’m the jolliest person they’ve ever known. Depression is a sneaky bitch! One day I was partying, the next day I just felt empty and useless and life has no meaning.
Finding happiness is very personal and subjective. No one can write a specific prescription for your bliss. If I were to write though what worked for me, this would be my rough list.
- Claim your right to be happy. No one should be able to guilt you out of it. It is your birth right. When you envision your definition of success, when you dream about your life, remember to include happiness. Claim it.
- Look inward. Happiness is a mindset. It is being rather than having.
- Be honest with yourself. Are you truly, genuinely happy?
- If not, don’t feel ashamed about it. Don’t feel isolated by it. By now, sadly, we have enough examples of “happy people” who are actually battling depression. Seek help, whether a professional help or through your faith, or changing your lifestyle and belief system. Just do something about it.
- If you feel you’ve reached rock bottom, look further down and lift someone up. Your rock bottom may be someone’s “edge of the cliff”, and you could be their last chance to cling to for happiness or even for life. Here’s another constant: No matter how bad you think your life is, there is always someone who is struggling a harder battle than you. You will always have an opportunity to become the joy to someone.