How To Be Happy

You guys notice those 10-Step “How-To” Articles? The ones that give different tips or ways to improve something; ranging from hair to relationships. I came across one the other day that advised its readers on how to be happy. And as much as I find these types of articles interesting, I feel they are somewhat misleading…They say things like: Smile, Be Compassionate, Travel, etc.

But what if I just don’t feel like smiling? I’m tired, on my way home from a long, stressful day at work and the only thing I want to do is swan dive into my bed…there would probably be nothing more annoying at that point than someone telling me to smile. Being compassionate is a great quality to have, but what’s the line between compassion and doing more for others than for yourself? Which can be more detrimental than beneficial after a certain point and with a certain type of person. Traveling, which I’m sure is on the top of everyone’s bucket list, but what if we simply can’t afford to go anywhere? What then??

What irks me about these articles is they act like such a monumental accomplishment in life, like being happy, can be achieved in some certain amount of steps. Everyone has an opinion on what works, but that is based on their own perspective and life experience, which can be completely different from your own. The definition for happiness and how to get there means something different to everyone. For me, finding happiness has been a journey that is ongoing. I can say that I am in an exponentially better place than I have in the past, but I can’t say I’m where I want to be yet. The biggest things I’ve learned is that happiness is not a constant state. There are some days where you’ll feel like dancing, and other day’s you’ll feel like crying and there is nothing wrong with that. As long as you recognize the good and bad in life, and appreciate the high’s and acknowledge the lows, I feel like you’re on the right track. Anyone who says they’re happy 100% of the time, is probably not being completely honest with themselves.

I’ve also learned that your surroundings affect your attitude which affects how happy you can be. If you have people in your life that are always negative: they’re not supportive, they always doubt you, they’re always talking about something or someone; whether they’re a significant other or a best friend or your boss, that person is not healthy for you. Those How-To articles don’t mention the time and effort it takes to make necessary changes and commit to them which is hard for many of us who are a part of this generation that is so accustomed to quick fixes and instantaneous solutions. But the most important thing I’ve realized is that there is no quick fix to happiness. It’s not like a light switch that you can turn on. Toxic energies are contagious, and when someone is down, they bring you down to their level whether you want to be there or not. But if you keep pushing and trying to seek what makes you happy, you’ll get there.

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