For the past few years, one of the perpetual debates that I often have in my mind was happiness. I would oftentimes approach people or ask my family (which they don't enjoy) if they are happy and why. What is happiness? Aristotle wrote that to be happy you need a good balance of both a physical and a mental well being to achieve virtuous life. Whereas Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote that we will never be able to attain happiness but an “imperfect happiness”(felicitas) here on Earth. To be happy in our lifetime, we need to be satisfied in our desires through God by knowing truth and living a life of virtue. Moreover, he did make a clear distinction that enjoyment/pleasure and happiness are two different things. Enjoyment/Pleasure is the physical pleasure through worldly goods while happiness can only be obtained from God, especially in our afterlife and only by seeking God would we achieve felicitas. Evidently, happiness is also something that cannot be seen and is internal. A smile or a blush does not mean that the person is happy. Instead, in a Buddhist ideal, it is a deep sense of fulfilment that underlies all the sorrows and other feelings that a person has. Is this happiness? This post will serve me as a reminder to be happy and over the years, while I still struggle with some of these tips, some of them have served me well. They seem quite cliche and obvious. I know of some who would think of this as a romantic way of looking at the world. However, I feel that there should be something to look forward to; make some positive changes in my life. There is no expert in happiness. It is an illusion by nature and probably the best way to achieve is to laugh about it.
1. Stop being Embarrassed/Avoid Self-Blame
• You should allow yourself to be wrong, as there is nothing erroneous about being humble (unless you were falsely accused).
• Do not be afraid that you had raised your hand up high and confidently announced the wrong answer. Better yet, do not get embarrassed for weeks just because you gave the wrong answer.
2. Be Healthy: Mentally and Physically
• Enjoy yourself and every small experience. Pray
• Find a way to energize yourself every morning. Be excited for something! Desire yourself to be happy and for your well being.
• Set a goal for yourself every few months to make your life more interesting. Where would you like to be six months from today? They should be challenging and purposeful to make it more worthwhile and for you to grow as a person.
• Clean room = Clean mindset (but it’s fine to messy it up once in a while)
• Appreciate the people around you (even those you don’t like because sometimes they just make your life even more interesting).
• Stop thinking negatively about people. With all these it’s so much easier to love and go through what you’re doing daily.
3. YOU Matter!!! Respect and Embrace Yourself
• You should never compare yourself with someone else, whether it is for grades, looks, beauty or material goods etc. This is the most effective way to be dissatisfied and results in unhappiness.
• Respect yourself knowing that what you have is enough. You do not need the latest phone or a latest gadget to help you to get by life. Is a privilege lifestyle necessary for a happy life? I don’t think so.
• Embrace all the different qualities that you have about yourself. They make you so much more awesome.
4. Learn the Difference between Being Alone and Lonely
• You don’t need to be surrounded by people all the time. Allow you to be alone and give yourself a quiet time to genuflect or read a book.
5. Complain Less and be a Positive and Grateful
• I think as imperfect human beings we always have the urge to complain about something unhappy or about someone we genuinely dislike and I believe the person listening would not have enjoyed my negative emotions as well. You can never complain and yet be a positive person, in equivalent to ever love and yet want to harm a person at the same time.
• Instead, look at all the positive aspects presented to you. If you really dislike your job, remember that you asked for a job. Be grateful for the opportunity to be able to spend your cash on clothes or for travel.
• Always say ‘Thank you’ to show your appreciation and gratefulness towards a person.
6. Surround Yourself with the Positive People
• This fact has helped me so much for the last few years. Unconsciously, I had surrounded myself with amazing people who were either extremely positive or they knew how to cope with the problems that they had. Either way whether they knew it or not, they were good friends who constantly made me laugh and it made all these years a worth while living.
7. Be Alright with Not Being Happy
• It’s alright to not be happy but don’t try to bottle it up. Tell someone or write it down in a piece of paper and throw it in a bin. It’s never alright to keep all these negativity in your mind and we should all find a way to heal it, instead of posting them on the internet.
• Live your life knowing that there are things that you can do and you’re passionate about and it’s alright that there are things that you can’t do.
• Sharing goes a long way, especially when the problem that you have may not be as big as you thought it was.
• Reflect and think about why you’re not happy. Most of the time our body would instigate a feeling letting us know that there is something wrong. Maybe it’s the change in your diet or your relationship etc.