Monday, March 7, 2016

How to Be Happy

This is a guide to letting go and not living a life of stress and despair. I found this once on the internet, but the site was taken down, unfortunately. I've since added to it greatly and always kept it up everywhere I go since I feel this is the most straightforward piece I've ever seen on the topic.

Stop Being a Shit
Seriously. Just stop. Even when other people are being shits. Just stop. When you get a reaction from strangers, they're not actually reacting to you. They're reacting to some stereotype and set of assumptions about who you are based on how you look, how you carry yourself, what they would do, and the kind of person they are expecting to bump into in their current situation. So whatever it is they just did, whatever it is that you think was some great offense to your person, just let it go. It's not worth escalating the situation, because you aren't going to get anything positive out of the situation and you're just ruining everyone's time. So leave strangers alone. As for everyone else, you've got even more reason to stop being a shit. If someone says something that you don't like, yelling isn't going to accomplish anything except make everyone else sorry they're around you. Oh, sure, you may get them to shut up. You may even intimidate them to admitting you're right or taking back what they said. But they didn't mean it, and as soon as you leave the room or they think you won't notice, they'll go back to being exactly they way they were before you yelled at them. Congratulations, you've done nothing by being a shit except make everyone regret that you were invited to the party. So how about you stop being a shit?

Stop Whining
Look, everything you might want to whine about falls into one of two camps: either you can do something about it, or you can't. If you can do something about it, then put the energy you were going to put into whining into actually fixing it. If you can't do anything about it, then your whining isn't going to do anything except continue your cycle of self-loathing and make you a general downer. Reality isn't going to change because you whined at it, so deal with the life you have, not the one you want. Whining is counter-productive to everything you want to accomplish. Save your energy and use it to find a hobby instead.

Get Out, Get Some Exercise, Unplug, and Deal with Real People
If you're in your house all the time, surrounded by your own hand-picked decorations and designs, and you go out only when insulated by your iPod's earphones and something to be burying your eyes in, the it's no surprise you're unhappy. Human beings are social creatures. That means you will be a lot happier if you socialize. And, y'know what's really weird? Most people won't think you're anything other than friendly if you strike up a conversation. We're also creatures of nature and built for movement. Being surrounded by neon and advertisements has been scientifically proven to make you unhappy, so get into nature and go for a walk. Discover a local park. It's a bigger deal than most people give it credit for.

If People Are Treating You Like Crap, Then Let Them Go
There are lots of people out there who aren't listening to #1 ("don't be a shit"). They, for some reason or another, are out to bully you, to passive-aggressively control you, to tell you that you are wrong, to use you as a punching bag (verbally or otherwise) and to generally be a problem. So let them go. Stop hanging out with them, and put plenty of distance between you and them. No matter what that person might say, you know that you don't deserve what they're dishing out, so pick up your dignity and hit the road. There are 7 billion people on this planet. You can afford to not hang out with that one again.

Your Critics Are Always Right
Ever watch the show Kitchen Nightmares? Good God, these people miss the obvious - if 100 people don't like your food, then quit saying "it's good"! If someone seriously says that you are some way – if they tell you you're embarrassing to be around, or if they compare you to someone you hate, or if they say you're not a very nice person, or whatever – then you are that way. You may not be that way in the core of your being, and you may not want to be that way, and it may be a surprise that you have come off that way, but their perception of you is valid, and you need to accept and deal with that. What did you do that made them think that was true? Where are they coming from with their experience of you that made it seem accurate? Ask yourself (and them) these questions, and see if you can take it as an opportunity for self-improvement. Don't do what most people do, which is to take it as an attack that needs to be responded to with anger and yelling. Then you're just taking an opportunity to make yourself better and replacing it with an opportunity to hurt your relationship with them. Now, of course, you need to be sure they're serious: something said in the middle of a fight doesn't really qualify. So you need to be sure they're serious. But if your critic is serious, then your critic is right in some way.

Do Hard Stuff for a Change
For some reason, our society tries to ask as little as possible from you. Don't let it. It's hard to make a new friend. It's hard to vest yourself in a job, or in a project, and to really start to care about it. It's hard to fight for your career, and to do what needs to be done to advance it. It's hard to get out of your comfort zone and draw something difficult for you to draw, experience things or listen to people that are totally foreign. Nothing takes your sorrows away more than thinking about something besides yourself. Give freely and with a smile. Find a new friend or get involved in your old one's lives. See if you can donate some hours to the community food bank, or a charitable organization. Or how about talking to that new employee at your workplace? There's a ton of things that you can do. If you are single and lonely, this is a sure-fire way to help ease that void, though it's not fair to others if you only show up someplace because you expect to receive a spouse. It's hard to demand your dignity, it's hard to submit to humility, and it's hard to focus on self-improvement instead of self-destruction. But, if you do those things, you'll be happier for it. Take the hard road: that's where the good stuff is.

Let Stuff Go/Suck It Up
Most things aren't worth the effort we put into them. We get angrier about them than they're worth, we worry more about them than they're worth, and we ruin ourselves over nothing. Let it go. Not a huge fan of where the RPG you're playing in is going? Suck it up and roll with it for awhile. Try something different. Did someone "blacklist" or "foelist" you? Let it go: the reality is that they probably don't even remember it - or they won't in a year or so, maybe less. Whatever it is that you're all hung up on that's been ruining your decade, just let it go. It's seriously not worth the effort you're putting into it. Along this same vein: you can't control everything, so don't try. Let it go. Have some confidence in yourself: you'll find a way to deal with it – whatever "it" is – when you get to it. Human beings are wonderfully adaptable creatures, and there have been others who have found ways to deal with worse than you will ever see. 

Emotions happen. Sometimes it's good to really be present in the moment, but you shouldn't always live there. Don't be emo about your life. It's not just you that has a hard time, everybody does. And there isn't a soul on earth who looks as happy and together as you think that they do. Also, I can guarantee you there's always a person that has it worse than you. Take the opportunity to learn how others dealt with the situation, don't just act like you're the only one who has had this happen to you – being self-centered is the fastest way to lose friends. So, cheer up, I'm sorry that you're having a rough time but things are going to get better- if you let them and work a little at it.

Appreciate Stuff
There's lots of cool stuff on this green earth, it's always helpful to find things to keep your mood lifted. Perhaps a pretty sunset, the smell of coffee, your best friend, how much you pet loves you, how mind boggling it is that the universe has no end and no beginning. If you find yourself hating everything and everybody, act like you appreciate something instead, pretty soon, you will. This trick works great for troubled marriages. If you listen/read any kind of media, you will observe that people get hurt and sometimes die. Next year could be your last year. Seriously, I'm not kidding. Or next week, or even tomorrow. Appreciate the time you have here. Tell your spouse you love them, pet your dog a little more. Stop telling yourself "I'll donate blood when I'm not busy" or "I don't have time right now to be happy, I'll do it when I'm married instead", and do it now. I'm not saying that you should spend all of your life savings on a Porsche; act responsibly, but stop putting off the small things you want/like/need.

No comments: