I will never forget the day I finally saw the path to happiness. It wasn’t through medication, it wasn’t through a life changing experience,or Religion. The day I saw the path to happiness I was in a pretty low place, feeling sorry for myself and trying to figure out what I was going to do next. When something I had been listening to hit me like a bolt of lightning. You are not in control of your life! Anyone that has ever been in a twelve step program has heard this at every meeting, but, what does it really mean, what are the implications and what are the ramifications.
The moment I realized I was trying to control my life and the people around me, I also realized what a mess I had made of everything and how I had negatively affected the people around me, especially the ones closest to me. I knew what a practice in futility I had been involved in, and I had to put a stop to it as quickly as possible. This was only the first step of many towards happiness but I’ll get to those shortly.The realization of what a narcissistic individual I had become also allowed me to see a direct correlation between my behavior and my unhappy existence.
Step one: Letting Go! Stop, take a deep breath and release, like tentacles from a giant squid feel everything in your life trying to hold on, but you have to release all of it. The pain, the sorrow, the anxiety, all of it has to go. Like taking out the trash you can’t hold on to the garbage that’s been weighing you down all these years. Remember holding on to the things that you feel are important will leave you angry, frustrated, stressed and unable to make any kind of meaningful contribution to your life or any ones life that you care about.
Step Two: Take the first step, keeping a positive attitude, now that you aren’t holding on to all the baggage that was weighing you down, You have the potential to do so much with your free time. look for positive things that will keep your brain producing happy juice. Little things at first will help keep you in a happy mood. do things that interest you, even taking a walk and paying attention to the world around you, you will find happiness in nature.
I see young children already being closed off and self involved, if they don’t realize that they are not the center of the universe, they will become unhappy teenagers, disenfranchised young adults and disillusioned thirty somethings heading for an adult life full of regret and turmoil, creating their own nightmare of trying to find happiness through others or worse self medicating to the point of death. A pretty bleak future, Don’t you agree. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way.
Step Three: Being of Service. There is no greater joy in life than being of service to someone else. This does not mean that you should go out and join the Peace Corps, but helping someone in need each day will go a long way. Think of it as recharging your battery. Every time your battery gets low you get depressed, Helping someone in need recharges your battery. But remember the charge is only temporary, just like any battery in a cell phone your happiness needs constant attention and up keep.
You have probably noticed the quotes from the Dalai Lama, well, after my epiphany I went in search for people who had the same realization that I did without the whole God belief system and the need to worship imaginary friends. The search made me realize that there was probably good parts to any belief system. So then I started looking for commonalities in these belief systems and “Low and Behold” one belief system was based on self-awareness and direct correlation between personal happiness and reducing pain in others. in case you haven’t guessed it was Buddhism. But if you’re not comfortable with that there also Yodaism.
Stress is the killer of health and dreams so de-stress when ever possible. Remember You Are Not In Control. Stress causes so many problems that can be avoided by just letting go. You will find you will sleep better, eat better, your Immune system will be better, and you will enjoy life with a smile on your face.
Be careful what you focus on moving forward. We are the only known species that will relentlessly chase an intangible in the pursuit of happiness only to discover that the only true happiness can be achieved by pursuing balance within. People get fixated on money in the first half of their life-giving up their health, only to spend the second half spending all the money to recover the health they lost. Use the time you have left working towards a healthy and happy future pursuing your passions what ever they may be.