A few weeks ago I discovered a new You Tuber – Rowena Tsai. I instantly felt connected to what she was sharing and I could relate a lot, particularly at this moment in my life. So here is a piece inspired by her discussions, but also by my own journey with happiness, where I am trying to maintain the happiest version of myself. I hope this might help in creating and maintaining your own happiest version of yourself too.
I think it’s interesting how we’re all on our own journey of happiness. We all exist on our separate scales – some people are right at the bottom, some people are right at the top, and then there’s a range of people dotted about the middle. Every now and again it’s beneficial to take a mini time out and contemplate where you are on this scale. Why are you at this mark on the scale? Why are you not higher or lower on this scale? What are you doing that consciously makes you a happier person? Sometimes life is so busy we don’t stop to contemplate what we are actually doing with our lives.
I think contemplating happiness and being aware of your own happiness is the first step in actually creating a journey to increase it, but even at this stage it is hardly enough to motivate you to change anything. When I was feeling low, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to change, it was that I didn’t know how to change, and even when I did, I was fearful of it. When your mind says to you ‘you can’t change’ or ‘there’s nothing you can do’ it is putting up a barrier because it’s afraid of what’s out there. The mind’s habits have become so comforting that it doesn’t want to lose them. Sometimes I feel myself wanting to drift back to lower mood for no reason and I think it’s because that’s what my mind has been used to for so long – the mind does not eradicate negativity overnight.
It’s weird because, when I look back on how I used to be (before I decided to make positive changes to my life), I didn’t feel like I was that depressed at the time. The saying of “losing interest in things you used to enjoy” I believed didn’t apply to me, since I was still doing all my hobbies and I was still going about my everyday life. What I didn’t realise was that the happiness that used to come from these activities was like a numbed version of happiness – an exterior happiness that I believed was there but inside was empty. I was just existing in a cycle I was doing only because I thought it was what I wanted – and partially it was what I wanted, but the problem wasn’t with the activities, it was with my mindset.
It’s only now, in the present, that I can feel and understand the difference in my mood. Now, when I do those same hobbies it’s like a completely different experience. I take part in them not because they are part of my routine, but because I genuinely want to take part in them – I feel excited by the prospect of them. If you are partaking in a hobby and your body isn’t genuinely thrilled to be doing it, then ask yourself why are you even doing it? Does it make you feel good? Are you doing it for yourself not other people? This can be used in all areas of life too – why do you do any of the habits that you do? If you don’t have a sufficient answer, then maybe that’s a habit to adapt or eliminate from your life.
Sometimes, it’s hard to know what happiness is. If you’ve felt the same way for a long time you know no different. But from my experience, I can tell I’m happier because the world and the future excites me. I can tell I’m happier simply because I’m motivated to get up and do things and explore the world, rather than sit in a monotonous pattern. And wow, is it so freeing. It is so freeing to just sit and think about my life, smile and not have anything bad to say about it. It’s a state of peace and acceptance. Accepting the bad for what it is and allowing it to change myself as a person, because that is the reason why it is there.
I feel like the last few years has been a journey of turning my mindset upside down. I used to wonder how people could be so positive – it seemed unrealistic and impractical – but now I realise that those people are positive because that’s the only way they can live happy lives. They’ve been let in on the secret that the only way to move past difficult patches in your life is to train your mind out of the negativity in order to overcome it. And it’s not a secret at all – it just takes a while for some of us to really understand it. Certain events in life happen and you can let them tear you down, but why choose to be unhappy when you can make changes to improve your life?
I think the journey of happiness is hardly a straight forward path. There are ups and downs and I guarantee you I will fall back down at some point in my life. But I’m no longer scared of it. I trust that the world will run its course and I trust that I will be able to get myself out of it just like I’ve done before.
Where are you on your journey of happiness?
And what did you change to get there?
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