We spend much of our life lamenting about what is not in our control. We often think that if so much is out of our hands, how can we choose to be happy? This thinking is a direct result of living in an industrialized society. With the advent of marketing and choices, brands and companies had no choice but to show us that we could buy happiness if we bought their product. Therefore, we started thinking of happiness as an end result of doing something. For example, I will be happy if I buy that phone/dress.
Happiness Does Not Lie In That Product Which You Plan To Buy Next
This means two things: we are only ‘happy’ in the few moments after a purchase/achievement. The other thing is that we apply this logic to life decisions and think of happiness as an end result of some or the other decision. For example, I will be happy if get the promotion, or if I get fairer or slimmer! This means that we forget to look at happiness as a process. As we have seen already, end-result happiness doesn’t long last.
So how do you make happiness a process?
By accepting the way we are and the way things are around us. We often make aspirational goals by seeing what is shown to us. When we fail to achieve such unreasonable goals we become sad. We want to buy things that are of no use to us. We want to become something which is not required in our daily life. Deepika Padukone needs to beon a lean diet for her profession, we do not need to be on that diet. As long as we are eating healthy it is absolutely fine. Sachin Tendulkar may drive a BMW but we do not need it. A normal car is going be just sufficient enough.
Negativity Spreads Everywhere
Dr. Masaru Emoto has come up with a simple and revolutionary experiment. He suggests that you put rice and water into two jars, and tell loving messages to one jar, and hateful to the other, and do this for about 100 days. At the end of 100 days, the hateful messages jar would have rotten rice. This is a viral experiment, with hundreds of people uploading their experiment results on YouTube.
If something as simple as one message, to a fairly simple grain of rice, can do such damage, imagine all the rebuking messages you give yourself, day in and day out, trying to pursue the elusive end-result happiness. People’s self-talk routinely consists of conditional sentences like ‘I am a horrible speaker as I goofed up this presentation’, or ‘I am terrible and unworthy of love’. You may think that this is just banter that you tell yourself when under-confident, but if that were the case, it would be easy to unlearn. But the fact is, lots of effort is required changing negative self-talk.
Negative Body Language Also Pervades Happiness
Professor Amy Cuddy talks about how our body language and actions affect our own psyche and confidence levels as well as our outcomes, much before they affect others. Therefore, if you want to choose to be happy, the words and actions towards and with yourself need to change.
Recognize slouchy, under confident poses and negative, self-downing thinking. Argue with these thoughts about usefulness. Is there any point in having them? Probably not. And then change them, one at a time, daily, everyday. This will take time. But with each change, you actively choose to be happy.
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