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The Key to Genuine Happiness
There are many people who are facing the same circumstances as you but they live fascinating and wonderful lives.
How did their lives become so good?
How do they manage to laugh and play despite their circumstances?
The key to maintaining a happy attitude, no matter the circumstances, is simple. You’ve heard it said – “Love yourself, first.” That’s true enough but it’s not the answer to our question. No, the answer is – “Like you, first.” That’s right – Like You! Be your best friend. And allow yourself the luxury of feeling JOY!
Your real life best friend likes who you are right now with all your imperfections, quirks, and circumstances. For true happiness, you must become your best friend before you can begin to love yourself. Loving yourself means not doing things that will hurt you in some way. You’ll never get me bungee jumping or skydiving because I love this body I live in! You may also have heard it said – “loving means accepting.” Change this to – “liking means accepting.” To like yourself, and others, means to realize that we are not perfect beings. You will never be perfect no matter how long you walk this earth. No one living today are perfect. No, not anyone!
Liking yourself means developing an attitude of genuine contentment. When you accept your current job, accept the way you look, accept your family, accept your friends, your home, your car, and all the material things you now have – truly, you know what genuine contentment is. You have begun to love yourself and be genuinely happy.
An unhappy person never accepts the good in their circumstances because they are always comparing themselves to someone who seems to have what they think they are lacking. This is an exercise in “stinkin’ thinkin’.” They see themselves as unlucky and as a failure in life. They don’t like themselves. You will never like yourself if you compare yourself to other people. If you keep questioning life like it has never done you any good or that you are a failure, you will never be able to find genuine happiness. So . . .
1) Snap out of it!
2) Stop the comparisons! Stop seeing others as better off than you are or more intelligent than you are! You really have no idea of the details of their lives so your comparison is flawed from the start. You simply do not have enough information to make a comparison.
3) Stop the expectations! Stop placing unreasonable expectations on yourself and others based upon false information. Are you a glutton for self-punishment?
4) Get over yourself! You’ll never be perfect, remember?
Life can be the greatest game. Go at it with gusto. It’s about finding out about right and wrong, trying and failing, wining and losing. These are things that happen as often as you inhale and exhale. These are as necessary as air is to living. These are your teachers. Embrace them with enthusiasm. Is anyone genuinely happy in spite of life’s trials and tribulations or are they just acting like they are? Here again we are making comparisons.
Does it matter to you if anyone else is truly happy? No, it doesn’t, at this point. You see, you need to get yourself in line with life before you can worry about anyone else. You need to focus on YOU!
You need to focus on improving how you feel about the quality of you own life and your inner being. It starts and ends within YOU!
Here is a revealing exercise.
Start each day with a blank sheet of paper divided into two columns. Label one column – “Positive Stuff,” label the other column – “Negative Stuff.” At the end of each day write down as many positives and negatives that you experienced that day. Write down only those that really stick out. Now, study your lists.
This exercise will reveal just where your attitude needs to change toward all the things in life that you confront each day. As you examine your list, ask yourself two questions:
1) “Why do I feel that’s positive?”
2) “Why do I feel that’s negative?”
Now, examine your inner definitions of what’s positive and what’s negative. You decided what’s positive and what’s negative by using your expectations of how you believe you should have handled what the world threw at you that day, right? The key to finding contentment and genuine happiness is to change your definitions, the way you evaluate how you handle life. But, how do you change your definitions and begin to become genuinely happy?
Everyone has a personal definition of “happiness.” Happiness for a writer may mean having a first novel published. Happiness for a basketball rookie may mean getting the rookie of the year award. Happiness for a beggar may mean five dollars handed to him by a generous passerby. Happiness for a businessman may mean a 5% profit margin. But all those are temporary. All those exist in a moment in time.
Would the writer be content with having only a single article published? Would the rookie be content to just enjoy playing the game? Would the beggar be content with just one dollars? Would the businessman be content with a 2% profit margin? Contentment is knowing that current circumstances change minute-by-minute, day-to-day, realizing that “every day above ground is a good day!”
So, how do you become genuinely happy? Realize that your happiness does not depend upon having the best things in this world. It’s about doing and making the best out of every single thing you have. Smiling at your own mistakes and telling yourself – “Oh, I’ll do better next time” – is a powerful mental tool that you can use anytime the situation calls for it. You possess a willingness to stand up again and try, a willingness that will make you a genuinely happy person.
When you learn to like yourself by accepting your faults, you have begun the journey toward becoming genuinely happy. By accepting yourself first, you will be more accepting of others. You will see life as a great and fun game in which to play. You will accept your wins and your losses with equally positive enthusiasm because it really makes no difference to your inner self.
Let us leave you with one more thought – Most of us know that laughter is the best medicine to life’s aches and pain. But most of us don’t know that the best kind of laughter is laughing at your own mistakes and foibles. Laughing at yourself will truly set you free to live life with genuine happiness.