So, I’ve made a pact with myself to be happy.
Remember in last Friday’s post, I talked about having a “safety net” when it comes to your acne? In other words – the one thing that you rely on to keep acne at bay as long as you are doing it consistently?
Read the post if you haven’t read it.
While writing that, I decided that what I really want to do is switch my safety net from food to happiness.
I want to truly believe that if I am happy, then my acne will stay away, or at least stay at the mild level. My biggest irrational fear, of course, is that if I get a little bit of acne, it will inevitably turn to more acne if I am not vigilant and constantly worrying about it.
The worrying likely has the opposite effect though. Worrying = stress and stress = acne.
After I wrote that post, I actually felt elated! I was excited. I felt like YES!!! I can do this. I can be happy. I can believe that happiness is my security net, and I can be happy – no matter what my skin is doing. I was excited and felt passionate about cultivating emotional well being.
And then I was happy and worry free.
For two days.
Two glorious days.
Now I am right back to my old habits.
So… I guess it’s not just going to come to me that easily. It’s HARD being happy!!
So anyway, I was thinking – maybe I should define for you what being happy really means. Or at least what it means to me. What my goal here really is. Because “being happy” is pretty abstract.
I suppose the best way to define being happy is like a “light, joyous feeling”. It’s probably different for everyone, but I’d like to think everyone has had moments in their lives when they can say that they have been truly happy?
Obviously you aren’t going to be jumping for joy every minute (well, maybe you can be??), but I suppose “contentment” is a better word for every day existence. A light, secure, content feeling.
Anyway… there are plenty of things that are important to happiness: having a roof over your head, good food, close friends, and personal goals and a purpose in life. I feel like I have those. But what about that extra oomph I need to push myself over the edge into blissful existence? The things that I’ve been missing?
I feel like this graphic I saw on Facebook today pretty much sums it up:
And here are some particular factors that I believe contribute to me being happy and content:
Living the Majority of Your Life In the Present Moment
I think this is one the biggest things, and one that I find personally very significant.
You see, rarely are we ever really “present” in our lives. We do many, many of our daily activities on autopilot, while our minds wander off to the past or the future. 90% of your worries are about things that happened in the past or may happen in the future, so the more time you spend in the present moment, the less you are going to worry.
Plus the more time you spend in the present, the more you get out of life. The more you feel like you are living it. You are enjoying life’s pleasures. You are tasting the flavours of your food. You’re feeling the silky water run over you as you shower. You are getting shivers as you listen to your favourite song. You are appreciating the beauty of nature.
Personally I think that the more of life’s little pleasures you can enjoy, the more we will realize how awesome being alive is (and that pimples suck but they really don’t matter that much in the scheme of things).
Anyway…. read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle if you haven’t already. It’s awesome.
But yeah. This one is really hard for me. My mind is usually running a mile a minute. I’m always thinking of what I’m supposed to be doing, but I’m not. While I’m doing one thing, I think about what I’m going to do next, or what I’m going to eat for dinner that night. I’m planning out my future.. Or I’m just daydreaming about some random conversation or event that has no significance on anything that I’m doing, and just serves to take me away from the moment.
And of course, when I get a little zit, I can almost always handle the reality of having the pimple now…. but I can’t handle the fear that it will get worse in the future.
Being Productive and Non-Procrastinatory
Is procrastinatory a real word?
Anyway, I don’t know if this is important to everyone’s happiness, but it seems to be to mine. As I said above, I’m always worrying about things that I feel I should be doing but I’m not. I find that if I am very productive and don’t procrastinate on the things I need to do, then I feel really awesome about myself.
Case in point: I wish I had written this blog post this morning, but instead I spent all morning rearranging photos in my iPhoto album. I liked it, but I wasn’t really enjoying it, because all I was thinking about is how I should have been doing this instead and feeling guilty about it.
PS – for those of you who also struggle with procrastination (most likely of the Facebook type), this free app called “Self Control” was the best thing I ever downloaded. Lets you block certain websites for a set amounts of time, and once it’s going, you can’t turn it off even by restarting your computer. It’s amazing. I feel so FREE after I block facebook and gmail for the day. Btw, the app’s for Macs but I’m sure there’s similar ones for PCs.
Not to Get Stressed by Stress
I do this one all the time. I get upset over something. And then I get upset because I’m upset.
Being nice to yourself is important! I want to make the goal to treat myself like a friend.
Think about a friend of yours that you dearly love and what you would do or think if that person was getting stressed or sad or upset over some little thing – like their appearance, or beating themselves up for procrastinating (like I do). You wouldn’t give them a hard time. You’d just go ‘hey. It’s okay. Here’s a hug.’ No judgment given.
Actually WANTING To Be Happy
We all say we want to be happy – but do we really?
The thing is, I feel like a lot of the time we’d rather be the victim. We want to feel sorry for ourselves. Sometimes being unhappy or pissed off or sad gives us this weird sense of satisfaction. Or maybe just because it’s way easier that way because that’s what we’re used to.
I don’t know, but if you really want to be happy, you have to actually want it. You have to be willing to let go of the victim mentality, which isn’t so easy.
Okay, those four things were just what I came up with off the top of my head because that was how I was feeling after I wrote Friday’s post and made my pact to be happy.
I made a point to focus on my present moment. I was fully aware of what I was doing. I ate my food whilst not zoning out in front of the computer and really focused on it. I watched birds fly. I didn’t worry about my skin. I was super productive. And I didn’t give myself a hard time about anything. As a result of all this, I felt excited and light and joyful and purposeful. I legitimately WANTED happiness.
Sigh. But then the fear started creeping back in and that was the end of that.
Last night we didn’t have much food for dinner, so I thought…. maybe I should have a sandwich. Then I noticed how much the idea of eating wheat freaked me out. Hm. Safety net definitely not switched over from food yet.
Then I got a pimple and the same old lightning bolt of fear struck. And then I fell right back into procrastination mode. And then my mind wandered off.
Ah well…. I guess I should keep number three going and not be so hard on myself! It’s going to be a process. A definite process. I’m not sure that, for most people, pure happiness is something that just ‘happens’ – it needs to be cultivated.
But it’s awesome when I get glimpses of the elated and happy life – because then I know it’s SO possible!! It’s there for the taking, I just have to figure out how to keep my grip on it.
What does being happy mean to you?