If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that we want to be happy. Most of our life decisions are based on the likelihood of attaining happiness. Whether it be immediate happiness or delayed gratification, we always choose to pursue it. Because if we don’t, our lives would look depressing.
The problem today isn’t the fact that we chase happiness. I don’t think that’s bad at all.
The problem is that we measure happiness in the worst way possible.
The pursuit of money is justified as a way to obtain happiness. If you want to provide the needs of your family, then you need money. Once their needs are met, it’s safe to assume that your family would generally be happy.
Take for example a child’s education.
Every parent knows that education is essential for their child’s future happiness. That is why they invest money and save up. And without education, the likelihood of a comfortable life for their child decreases.
All human beings have basic needs; food, shelter, water, clothing, social interactions, and a safe environment are a few basic needs that keep us alive and sane. Add to that the need to have a purpose in life and a place in society. The diversity of individuals adds another layer of basic needs. The beliefs and values that we cherish must be nurtured and grown in order to feel full satisfaction. Different religions and spiritual practices become a part of who we are therefore adding another complex layer of our needs.
This leads me to my point that in order to be happy, we must know what our basic needs are.
Our basic needs vary from person to person because we are all unique. A value so cherished by one individual may not be that important to another. A trait that someone is looking for in a partner may or may not be what you want in your potential partner. We must know our basic needs so well that we won’t go chasing the type of happiness we think we need. By knowing what works for us, we won’t be tempted to measure happiness based on how others see it.
When you know what you want, you know what you don’t want.
Self-discovery is a long journey that takes a lot of introspection. However, if you intentionally take the time to hear yourself out, you’ll find that you’re a pretty simple person with simple needs.
Think about the things that excite you, and the things that don’t. Make a list of the type of partner you want based on beliefs, values, and character traits that you know can work in the future or can be worked on in the future. It will take a lot of self-honesty to come to terms that a tall man with abs is not exactly a realistic criterion for a life partner. Be honest with yourself and take all the time you need.
If you care about it, you’ll work on it.
Once you’ve spent time discovering yourself, you’ll notice the filters you put in place. By filtering out what you don’t need, it’ll be clearer to see what you do need. This is where your time and attention will go. By nurturing what’s important to you, your satisfaction in life also increases.
Setting aside time for your hobbies and relationships help solidify who you are as a person. Working on what you believe is true and real will help ground and equip you in times of crisis.
The reason why people find themselves miserable is that they themselves are not grounded in who they are. Once comparison comes along, their insecurities get the best of them and someone else’s happiness becomes a threat to their own.
Our happiness gets stunted when we constantly feel entitled to have the same things as others.
The beauty of individuality is that each person is different and unique. We may have similar survival needs but the next layer depends on many different factors. When we scroll through social media, it’s important to keep in mind that some things work for others that don’t necessarily work for us.
Growing up, I had a distorted cookie-cutter image of how my life partner would be. He would check all the boxes and be the coolest guy ever. One of the traits I wanted him to have was to be super adventurous, impulsive and friendly. That person would be doing amazing things around the world helping out people. A couple of years later, it struck me that this was an unreasonable and horribly desired trait that I could think of.
It’s because I, myself, am not that adventurous and would probably have relationship issues. Although they say opposites attract, I am well aware of myself and my tendencies to know that someone who’s constantly away would make me feel sad and lonely. The thought of moving from place to place into the unknown unsettles me. Although I can admire those types of people from afar, I know that I am not that kind of person and it wouldn’t work for me.
It’s like being an army wife. We can admire army wives and their super cool husbands. We can also wish we had a husband in the army. However, we’d have to keep in mind the sacrifices we’d have to make in order to have that life. Some people can handle it while others can’t. We make choices about what to sacrifice based on our own self-assessment. So the next time you try measuring your happiness with someone else, remember that there is more than meets the eye.
There will be times when we will feel the pressures of comparison. Consequently, we will start to look inwards and question our value and worth. That is why it is so important to be aware of your surroundings and how they may affect your feelings. It is important to be aware of triggers so that you can step back and put your mind back into its correct perspective. This takes a lot of practice and control, especially during the social media age. Be intentional with what you are looking at and remember to keep a reality check in the back of your mind.
A great tip is to analyze how you feel before opening social media or before diving into a similar “danger zone.” Make sure that you are not opening social media with an already vulnerable mindset. That’ll make things worse. Before stepping into a social gathering, analyze how you feel and get rid of any thought that can make you doubt yourself. It’s important to step inside with an attitude ready to hear out other thoughts, opinions and comments.
Remember, we don’t have control over what people say but how we react and feel. We will inevitably run into rude comments or situations that make us uncomfortable. It’s up to you how well you handle the situation.
As humans, we are expected to learn and grow. As we get older, we encounter new experiences that change us, like moving to another country, or trying out a new workout. With that said, we should also have some leeway to add changes. A child doesn’t stick to barbie dolls forever. As the child grows, she eventually takes interest in clothes, then relationships, and then other adult things once she reaches the appropriate age.
You’ll find that new activities excite you as you continue your journey of self-discovery. However, what shouldn’t change are our core beliefs. It is important to stay grounded and honest with ourselves as we go through each phase in life. New experiences make us wiser and help us appreciate things that we didn’t notice before. Our priorities shift and our outlook in life can become clearer. Make sure to leave some room for this growth without compromising what truly matters to you.
I sincerely hope that everyone can find true happiness in their lives. For me, I am more fulfilled and happy when I am spiritually grounded in my faith. I value my family and the relationships that I have with people over other things in my life. It is a priority I choose to set.
Being able to know who you are as a person is an essential pillar in your journey to happiness. So take the time to discover yourself and the world around you.
As a kid, I loved climbing around the playground, swimming, and running outdoors with my friends. This energy was eventually channeled into middle school, high