How many of you have answered the question “What do you want from life?” with “I want to be happy”? Yeah, me too. I’ve read up on how to be happy many, many times and a few things have come up more than once so they must work, right? But too much of the time we tell ourselves we don’t have time to do any of these things or tell ourselves it’s too hard when in fact they should be on the top of our priority list. Reading things about how you can be happier is unhelpful if you don’t actually put it into practice.
There are plenty of things to be grateful about in our lives but we live in such a consumerist society that a lot of what people are thinking is “want, want, want” instead of thinking about what they are thankful for. Remind yourself of what you are thankful for each and every day and you will be much happier. You will be so consumed in what you already have that you will think less about what you want but do not need. You can be thankful for living under a roof, having food, water (and coffee), family and the Internet(!).
Gratitude is important. We’re all so caught up in our little bubbles and forget that we need to respect and appreciate each other. If you’re grateful for the things you already own and the things that you’ve done, and if you think about all the positive things in your life then there will be less room in your mind for negative things. But if you compare yourself to others too much, you can never truly be happy. You will envy people for what they have and you don’t. If you keep thinking and wishing for more, you will always be miserable and feel like there is something missing from your life.
Self-Love and Positive Affirmations.
You need to love yourself. You need to tell yourself every day that you love yourself. You can even do it in the mirror; look deep into your eyes and say “I love me” or “I love you” 10 times. Even if it feels silly or stupid at first, you need to tell it to yourself until you believe it. No one is perfect but you don’t need to dwell on your flaws all the time, just accept your flaws and be comfortable in your own skin. You will be living in the same body for the rest of your life, so you need to treat yourself with care and with love. You need to value yourself. When you love yourself, that’s when you realise that you don’t need anyone else to validate you. Validate yourself.
“Buy yourself flowers and take yourself to dinner.Quit waiting for another human to validate your existence.” – Zienab Hamdan – Be whole, all on your own.
Be kind to yourself. Be your own best friend. If your best friend was feeling hurt or sad, you’d give them advice and hug them and keep them thinking positively. Do the same for yourself. I know how bad I am at following my own advice but that’s what we need to do. Get in front of that mirror and tell your reflection what you love about yourself, turn your flaws into unique and special things about yourself that no-one else has. One day you will love yourself so much that you will not care about anyone else’s judgement or criticisms. They will not be able to push past your self-love barrier with their negativity. Fight them back with your strong mind and your strong heart. You can do this! Love the person you are instead of the person you aren’t, and give yourself credit for once.
I’ve tried meditation and sometimes, it doesn’t work. The trouble is I can’t stop thinking. When I tell my mind to quieten, however much I try, I can’t. When you meditate, you are controlling your mind into doing something it does not want to do, and therefore it tries to escape and wanders off. But what if, instead of controlling your mind, you treated it as your best friend instead? Much like my previous point, you treat your mind with kindness and do what it wants to do. Sounds kind of strange but bear with me. When you practice mindfulness you are in fact controlling your mind to think a certain way or do a certain thing, so instead ask your mind what it wants to do rather than telling it what to do. A great app that I love using is Headspace because it brings your attention back to the body, and you don’t have to clear your mind of any thoughts, you can just be. You get 10 days free, for 10 minutes a day.
Stop being such a control freak to your own mind and treat it with the respect it deserves. The respect you deserve. Be kind to yourself and think kind thoughts. Treat everyone else kindly too and you will receive it back in abundance from others. If everyone treated everyone else kindly, the world would be a better place, and it can start with you. But in order to truly be kind to other, you need to be kind to yourself first. Your kindness will create a positive spiral of happiness in yourself, and you will start to think more positively with every new day.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
Photo Credit: Annie Spratt via Unsplash