We all want to find happiness and many times we can get frustrated when reminded happiness is something which is in us. As Voltaire said, we as human beings tend to search for happiness in the same way a drunk person searches for his home, not knowing where it is but having the certainty he has a home.
If you were raised with a lot of conflict, chances are you don’t have a good idea of how to attain happiness. In todays society we seek to achieve a happy state of being by over accumulating “stuff” or going in and out of relationships hoping someone can “make” us happy. This is not a condemnation on anyone; personally I have had my own dysfunctional ways to try to find happiness. However if we take the time to listen to ourselves, to our universe, it becomes obvious life is always pushing us towards that which we need. Sometimes the lesson is not a pleasant one and it can take years before we “get it”, ultimately however life is always trying to take care of us, trying to show us the way to true happiness.
There are many ways to self discovery, what may work for one may not work for another. We all have a different backgrounds, our own unique story. Today I would like to share 7 steps to be happy found in a Hindu legend. The following is similar to a step by step program which if practiced, it is meant to help us rediscover our birthright which is to be happy. Happiness can be compare to a ladder, in which every step requires new learning.
- DEVELOP SELF LOVE. The first pre-requisite to be happy is to love oneself. Self love means feeling worthy of happiness, to do this we must give value to our life. We can always start by taking care of our health and physical well being.
- PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH/DESIRE. This means putting our thoughts into action. Many of us think about happiness, about having a better or different life yet we don’t do anything to make it happen. This process of overthinking can lead to frustration and guilt. If you think you can or want to do something, then do it! It is important to remember to make sure your actions are consistent with your thoughts and your words; if you think one way but then act another, you will only create confusion inside, however if you align your thoughts, words and actions, life becomes fluent. This is something I am still working on. When you live with PTSD/Dissociation, your internal dialogue can become at times damaging to self. It takes daily effort, some days you win, some days you lose but one thing is certain if you keep at it, it gets easier. Practice makes it better, a rule which can be applied to anyone.
- VANISH ENVY.- If you keep concentrating on the success, happiness, achievements of others rather than investing that energy towards the achievement of your own goals, you are most likely to become resentful and bitter. Many people have worked very hard for what they have, we don’t know what they may have gone through to obtain it. It is so freeing not to give others too much importance in your own life by simply minding your own business. The Hindu’s teaching say if we let envy in our heart, we will experience useless and destructive suffering. They say if instead you shift your focus to those you admire and become happy for them, you will develop more strength to achieve your goals, your heart will feel lighter and your happiness will double.
- DO NOT LET BITTERNESS AND RESENTMENT GET A FOOTHOLD IN YOUR LIFE.- Sometimes we are faced with such awful events, circumstances, or challenges which can create or reopen wounds so deep, that the pain is imbedded/clogged in our heart. Over time the pain becomes frustration which later transforms into anger, if not properly released one can end up paralyzed by such negative feelings. It is not about dismissing anger, with time and practice we can all learn to recognize pain for what it is; experience it before it becomes anger and release it. Be honest with yourself, give yourself permission to be angry (in a healthy way) and you will see how the more honest you become about your emotions, the easier it becomes to identify them, learning whatever lesson is needed and then letting them go. When it comes to your emotions, do not feel guilty for not getting it right; guilt really is a useless emotion which does nothing to help you overcome your challenges. Try your best, the universe will do the rest.
- DO NOT TAKE YOUR NEIGHBOR’S BREAD/LIVEHOOD.-According to Hindus, anything taken illicitly from others will bring with it serious consequences. Over time whoever committed this act will be stripped of something that has much greater value. If your neighbor works for what he or she has, who are you to take it from them? nothing justifies such action. Not respecting the assets of others will only give cause for the universe to let others take from you. According to these old Hindu teachings, the lack of respect for what isn’t yours is the beginning of the moral and material ruin of a person.
- ERADICATE MISTREATMENT FROM YOUR LIFE-. No living soul (this includes animals and plants) should ever be mistreated; however, being human we have at some point directly or indirectly hurt others. This saying is very beautiful, because it balances teaching #4, and clarifies that to forgive does not mean to continue allowing the mistreatment of others. No amount of wounds/hurts/anger justifies going around hurting people in order to feel vindicated. This teaching implies a radical refusal to be mistreated and/or to mistreat others. To stand up is different than to seek vengeance; to stand up against those who bully or hurt you is a good sign of self love. No form of maltreatment, hurt, humiliation, indifference, radical criticism is “for your own good” or for the good of someone else. To evolve as a human being is to realize you don’t need to subjugate yourself to maltreatment in order to atone or to learn. Ultimately no matter how much others may piss us off, most living souls are a source of joy and well being, if not to you to someone else. However there are those very few, who are there to teach us a lesson or to teach us to value our own lives. Bottom line treat others with kindness and remember…you have your path and they have theirs.
- BE GRATEFUL EVERY DAY AND BE THANKFUL FOR ALL YOU HAVE AND ALL YOU HAVE LEARNED.- Embracing a grateful spirit is very simple and it has a powerful positive effect on your emotions, heart, brain, and soul. Get into the habit of waking up every morning and before you even get out of bed say “Thank You”. Thank the universe/God/Spirit/Force…for all the good you have and be thankful as well for all the challenges you have faced and are facing. The universe does not see in terms of good and bad but in terms of focus and gratitude. Practice gratefulness and you will see just how much color is added to your life; this simple ritual can change your life as it settles your mind in a state of goodness and willingness towards everything. Being in a grateful state is different than praying; when praying we tend to see ourselves as little and insignificant, if facing challenges we hope to have the lesson taken away from us, or we put all credit on the external. Being in a state of gratefulness is to accept your divinity; it’s a direct relationship. When faced with difficult lessons one understands all power to overcome it lies within self and God/Universe is only exposing us to such lessons for our own betterment yet we can decide when to stop it. A state of gratefulness allows you to see more clearly the value of your life.
As already stated the 7 steps are like a ladder; one is to be achieved after the other until all melt within our being and become part of our core/soul/consciousness. They constitute an evolutionary process leading to inner peace; this peace is the only indispensable condition for you to be happy.
To be happy; truly happy; is to reach a state in which no matter what challenges are presented, one responds with nobility and intelligence. Let me remind you again not to beat yourself up when facing setbacks, it doesn’t help to do so. Don’t compare yourself with others, they will respond differently to criticism, hurt, challenges, because we are all unique and not one of us sees life the exact same way. Focus on you and your self development.</a