What makes a life really worth living? What constitutes a so-called “good life”…I believe I blogged about this a few months ago but not in depth. What makes some folks seem to lead a happy life and then others feel like they get the short end of the stick? Why do some aspects of your life go so great and other parts seem to not get the sunshine and rain needed to activate genuine, sustained, happiness and longevity that others seemingly enjoy!
Ahh yes…the answers to these questions some of us ask at some point in our lives is lost on me. I wish I could quench my thirst and yours for a quick solution and ready answer, but I will attempt to offer my knowledge and understanding on the topic. I am being guided by my inspiration….so this is gonna be a long one!
There are many happiness theories based on scientific research (skip this excerpt if you’re not into the science). One such theory suggests that: Apart from exceptionally adverse situations, life circumstances such as wealth, education and employment only account for roughly 10% of your overall happiness. Genes account for 50% and the remaining 40% is under our control and based on how we conduct our life to make ourselves happy. (I expound more on this in my book Thinking out Loud in the article: Finding Your Peace….you can check it out on Amazon or RIK!)
Putting science aside for the moment, my experience provides the following revelations:
Happiness is in the eyes of the Beholder
Your idea of happiness and mine may be two totally different things. What you may appreciate and value in life, may mean very little to me and vice versa. If you are happy with YOUR life no matter how different it is from your neighbour or friend or family…you need NOT compare or caste aspersions or allow anyone to make you feel that you have accomplished less by way of your happiness and somehow not entitled to feel the way you feel.
Know what you want in life and Go after it
Many people get bogged down with everyone else’s opinion but their own. You are the sole contributor to your happiness. Stop listening to other people including the media! I’ve stopped doing this when it comes to my writing and career goals. If you want something badly enough, don’t stop till you get it…unless it is illegal, immoral or poses some danger to you or someone else.
If you think the achievement of this end will make you happy, then by all means. However it is important to bear in mind that happiness comes from within and you can’t expect to fill your life with material, transient things or people to make you happy.
Things are fleeting…People come and go and what’s left is US. Which brings me to my next point. However, before I go on, it is fair to acknowledge that these things do add to our enjoyment of life…but they are not permanent fixes or a magic elixir to our lasting happiness.
If we are not happy inside; the world of riches, a drop dead gorgeous spouse or fabulous career won’t make you happy for long. We may also be disappointed by the things that people do or our inability to attain certain things at a certain point in time, but sometimes the answers to these questions don’t come right away…
We must find that closure and inner strength which tells us that everything that happens in your life is JUST as it SHOULD BE and everyone would get what’s theirs in time…good or bad…the latter is karma…if you don’t believe in karma…maybe you can relate to the biblical adaptation: you reap what you sow (Gal. 6:7).
Enjoy your own company
A few people said to me that they don’t like living on their own, but I briefly lived on my own and it was one of the happiest and most peaceful times of my life. Sometimes I wish I still was. I enjoyed it immensely. When I was totally by myself in my apartment, I felt empowered and at peace (despite being surrounded by many trees and pitch black night!).
When I went out or had guests over I also had fun, but if I had stayed home the entire time I would also be totally okay with that too, because I thoroughly enjoy my own company. There was a time long ago when I always needed people around me, but I’m so glad that I have evolved into the person I am today for I am better for it. When you learn to be happy with yourself, external circumstances don’t matter and you learn to make others happy. And if they do leave…hopefully the pain won’t be that great. Time heals all wounds.
Do what you were Created for
I can never say this enough, but now I have the proof I need! Although I always admit that I am not an avid church-goer, I do pray a lot…many times a day in fact…and a prayer doesn’t have to be long in order to be meaningful. I meditate and reflect deeply on my thoughts for many years and this year I finally heeded the advice to start reading my bible from cover to cover…I have now reached the book of Numbers.
In this way, I get the answers I’m seeking…sometimes I turn to my friends for support in my trials (which we all have) and I must pay tribute to them…I have the BEST friends all across the globe! You know who you are…even if I don’t talk to all of them often, when I do, it’s like no time has passed. The ones whom I speak to daily are my rock and I couldn’t ask for more!
Anyway, I digress: last weekend my mother gave me this newsletter that my parish priest Father John wrote (bless his heart) and he quoted the scripture I needed to support my claims and writing all these years and it says: “Each one has received a special gift; use it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold Grace of God.” (1 Peter 4:10) Wow! I memorized it in less than a minute!
When you acknowledge and find your special gifts/talents and do what you were truly created for…you will find fulfilment and happiness by helping others. Your talent can be manifested in several different shapes and forms. This is my happiness right here…it’s not meant to be bottled up and taken to the grave…to me that’s an abomination to the Lord who has so blessed you for a purpose.
The only route to true happiness is to share what you have been given and you will receive ten fold…the rewards are endless. You would be bursting with energy and joy. Of course you are human and you may fall short along the way, but once something is done for the right reasons and it is coming from a good place, you will evolve into a better person in time. And no one can dispute your gift.
I guess there’s soo much more to say…as my mind is now in overdrive…but I will leave you with this:
- Follow your heart for it will never lead you wrong.
- Do good and good will follow you.
- Don’t harbour ill-feelings, get to the bottom of a story if you can…there’s always two sides, whichever way…just release and let go.
- Forgive…as hard as it may be sometimes…keep your distance if you have to, but just release in your mind and heart and MOVE ON! It’s the healthiest thing to do.
- Don’t live in the past and compare your life to someone else…concentrate on transforming your own life into what you want it to be. You have the power to do it. Everyone has their own struggles and crosses to bear…Like my mother always says…you don’t know what that other person did to get what they have.
I will add…you don’t know what their journey is about…and how they really feel inside and what goes on when the doors are shut to the outside world. All that glitters is not gold and everything is not as it seems!
DO YOU and MAKE IT COUNT!
As always, if you can relate, please do post a comment and rating! Writers value these things you know! It lets us know that our work is not in vain and there are actually real life people out there who share a similar story and can appreciate the message.
My friends always send me lovely comments which mean the world to me and provide the impetus to continue writing, but every now and then, I get a comment from someone I don’t know that just makes my day and allows me to appreciate my gifts even more.
I am far, far from perfect but I continue to work on me and graciously receive.
Peace & Love,