Okay. I'm going to eat my pride (and my words) for writing this way. Just last month, I wrote a short post about never writing this way again. But, I learned THE HARD WAY that people prefer learning from lists than learning one lesson each day. So, every week, I'll try my best to write a list of things that can help you live the life you want. For this week, here are the 10 rules of happiness we have forgotten to apply in our lives:
1. Success Follows Happiness, Not Vice Versa
Many of us depend our happiness on success: landing our dream job, getting a promotion, or finding the perfect partner. We have forgotten that it is success that really depends on our happiness. If we are happy and secure with ourselves, potential employers can feel it thereby increasing our chances of landing our dream jobs. If we are happy with the work that we do, we perform better increasing our chances of getting promoted. Finally, people who are happy, confident, and secure are very attractive increasing their chances of finding the perfect partner.
2. Happiness is Not One-Size-Fits-All
Whether it is your parents telling you what course or job to take, your friends posting their new "toys" and travels on social media, or other people flaunting all their successes, the world pushes its definition of life and happiness to us. But, happiness is not one-size-fits-all. What makes others happy will not necessarily make you happy or vice versa. You have to define what life and happiness mean to you. It doesn't matter what other people think. The only person you need to please is yourself. Just do what makes you happy.
3. "It is Not Good for Man to be Alone"
You are responsible for your own happiness. You should define what happiness means to you. Your happiness starts with you. But, that doesn't mean you should isolate yourself from the world. It is biblical. Happiness is felt most when shared with others. Go out, meet new people, share your happiness, and share in others' happiness. There is also valuable insight to be learned from other people who remain positive despite being in worse situations than you are in. If you are an introvert like me, that's okay! There's still hope for you to socialize! Find a group that shares your interests, passion, or even your personality.
4. Excitement is Not Equal to Happiness, But It's a Start
Yes, you can define the things that will make you happy. But, it's hard to define what happiness really is and how it feels like. Instead of spending a lifetime defining what happiness is, do more things that excite you. Excitement is easier and more practical to define than happiness. It is easier to identify which activities excite you than to identify activities that make you happy. Go to more adventures, take more risks, start your own business, or dream bigger dreams! No matter what you do, live each day with excitement! Who knows? Maybe your excitement can lead you to your happiness. Life's more fun than you think it is.
5. To Experience Deep Happiness, Live a Life that Matters
While excitement gives you the similar heart-pumping and adrenaline-rushing feeling that happiness gives, happiness is still so much deeper than that. In order to live a fulfilled life, each one of us has a deep need to matter and to make a difference in the lives of others. If you want to experience deep and lasting happiness, you have to find the convergence of what excites you and what makes an impact in the lives of others. Do more things that excite you and at the same time make life better for others. Lose excitement and you'll get burned out in your service. Lose service and you will keep on chasing temporary highs. At the end of your life, you're not going to ask yourself, "Which countries have I been to?" You will ask yourself, "Did my life matter to other people?"
6. The Present is All You Have to Be Happy Now
After taking responsibility of your own happiness and defining what will make you happy in the days to come, you have to make a conscious effort to stay in the present and be happy now. The present moment is the only moment you have. You cannot live in the past that has already happened or the future that is just about to unfold. Now is really the only time you can live. Be happy with who you are, where you are, what you have, and whom you are with now. Yesterday had its moment and you have tomorrow to enjoy, well, tomorrow.
7. Idleness Robs You of Your Happiness
There's an old saying that the idle mind is the devil's workshop. It is when you are idle that you are most vulnerable to helpless self-talk, limiting beliefs, doubts, and worries. Don't give yourself an opportunity to indulge in negative thoughts. Find a way to keep yourself busy. If you're too tired and stressed from all the day's work, you can relax by doing more productive activities like reading a good book, going to the gym, playing sports, or expressing yourself through music or art. Don't just watch TV and fill your idle mind with more negative news and senseless shows.
8. Happiness is Going to Bed Fulfilled
Two common things about happy people are that they wake up determined and go to bed fulfilled. There is deep joy in doing all the best that you can for the day and telling yourself, "Job well done." Whether it's working on your dreams, building relationships, meeting new people, or even just taking care of your family, there is happiness in exhausting all your energy doing meaningful things. Plan your day, make a to-do list, or visualize your day. Then, be sure to accomplish the day's tasks the best that you can so you can go to bed smiling and feeling accomplished.
9. You Don't Need to Force Yourself to Always Be Happy
One of the most common misconceptions about happy people is that they are always happy. We think that they are smiling, giggling, or laughing all the time. No. Really happy people are emotionally healthy people. They know how to acknowledge their different emotions. They cry, feel sad, get upset, and even get angry when they need to. They feel their pains and their hurts. They experience every peak and every valley in their lives. They also know that the rainy days in their lives are important to make them stronger and for them to appreciate the sunny days.
10. There is Something to Be Happy About in Every Situation; You Just Have to Look for It
Life may not always be happy. But, there is always something to be happy about in every situation. A failure may be a lesson in disguise. A rejection may be a redirection. A loss of a loved one may mean no more suffering or finally having eternal life. Don't just see trials, sufferings, and challenges as they are. Believe that they lead to something greater. Finally, don't just wait for the rainbow after the rain. Learn to dance in the rain.
Now, It's Your Turn
What other rules of happiness do you think we have forgotten? Write them in the comments below.
Image: Caitlin Doe on Flickr.com
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