Yes, pain is inevitable and there is no way we can prevent it from coming. However, growing up, I realize that we have the ability to choose happiness in the same way that we can decide what type of pain is worth enduring and not. I tried seeking happiness, but a long time was needed to fully realize that it couldn’t be sought on because it comes from within. Happiness starts internally. It starts from how we approach the world, how we see life, and how we interpret things. It begins with us.
How about you? How do you define happiness?
No steps can be taken to become free from pain and sadness because we are all humans, not robots, capable of experiencing the dual nature of life comprised of positive and negative. The following, although challenging, can make happiness easier to experience.
1. Do not care what people think of you.
“How will my boss and co-workers think when I do this?”
“What will be my friends and classmates’ opinions if I wear this?”
“What will people think of me if I perform that?”
How many times you ask yourself questions like these in a day? Are you aware of them?
All happy and successful individuals do not give a fuck what other people think of them for two reasons: First is because they know themselves way more than everyone else and second, is because they understand their worth and value. Not giving a shit of what other people think does not mean doing anything you want even at the expense of others, but rather filtering who are the people you can give your fucks on. It can be your husband/wife or your family.
Give care to other important aspect in your life instead of the words and opinions of people who barely know you.
And by the way, imagine the countless talents, skills, expressions, and ideas that are trapped because people are afraid of other’s opinions. I believe all of us have a unique gift from God, isn’t it silly if we let that die just because we are greatly affected by how other people see us?
Love yourself to the point that, regardless of what other people say – may it a praise or criticism – you will still express yourself in any way possible. Judgments, opinions, and criticisms have no power unless you accept them totally. If they praise you for what you are doing, then great, move on! If they criticize and talk about it, then great, move on!
Not giving a fuck about what people think of you means you value yourself. And as harsh as it is, people will not value you unless you value yourself first.
2. Do not prove something to yourself or others.
Many people will not agree to this one, but I do not give a fuck. This works to me.
Back before when I was a sales employee at a prestigious company, I had a deepest motivation to achieve excellence at my work. I desired to be someone who contributes a lot to the fulfillment of company goals. I wanted to be great at what I do. But guess what happened? I came up with, for a long time, a continuous frustration and disappointment, and this seriously affected my life-being.
I have realized at one point of moment that those standards and expectations I have set for myself did affect my work in a negative way, instead of positive. I was always thinking about the end point, about the result, and was not focusing to the work itself.
I became fully aware that proving something to myself or other people extremely put a feeling of pressure and resistance, which are the main hurdle for cultivating happiness within me. I thought, “Why am I sabotaging myself? Why am I sacrificing my own happiness to the standard of other people?” From that point of time, I had enough! I made a commitment that I will just do whatever the fuck I want without proving something. I had a conviction that I will put in the trash can all those expectations and will live in my own terms.
And I do not regret doing that. Now, I feel more intense and liberated. I do not hold grudges and living life deeper. Not proving something to myself or to other people enabled me to focus more on the tasks themselves and therefore, achieved better results.
You do not need to prove something. Just love yourself and the rest will follow.
3. Embrace failures.
If you read my previous blogs, you may know that I am a big proponent of failure because I experience it countless times – and see the beauty of it.
Many of us were cultivated by our parents based on obsessive protection. When we were kids, we have been told to stay on our lanes, to behave, to sit down, to shut our mouths, otherwise, we will receive punishments. The education system is another factor. When we were students, we are told to study hard and not fail on exams. We acted in a way that we should not do other endeavors, except to pass all the grades. If you do something wrong, you will be expelled out. They, unconsciously, prevented us from expressing out our truest desires and brought us an attitude that we should not fail, that we should stay on our laid path, and we should behave in a safe manner.
Well, guess what? People, after their graduation, are fucking scared and wimpy in the reality of life, afraid to explore the unknown and exotic path where their heart truly lies.
Accepting and embracing failure is synonymous to embracing life. Fear of it trapped many people from expressing themselves. It is a rope that binds our hidden potentials and makes us stay in the box that involves mediocrity, conformity, and comfortability.
Embracing failure is tough but transforms us. The question is, how one can embrace failures?
One thing: Expose yourself to them.
When you fail and you feel a deep and devastating frustration, when you feel the immense hurt residing in you, when you feel the thorns that continuously spiking your heart, and when you feel like you lost something important in your life and that you have to start again, make a courageous act to embrace it and believe it is part of life. Cry those tears, talk to a friend, shout in your room, grab a bottle of beer and drink a bit, dance, travel, whatever they are, make sure to express them in any way possible.
You may see this advice as shit but that’s okay. I am just sharing what has been my experience.
If you notice, the three steps listed above are something that we have control on and that they are based internally. Happiness can’t be found outside – material things, a job, a nice car, a large property – yes they can make us feel good, but only temporary. Happiness starts internally.
Again, do not care what other people think of you, do not prove something to yourself or others, and lastly, embrace your failures. Nonetheless, they all boil down into one noble thing: Loving Yourself.