Listen & Love.
FEEL GOOD ANYWAY.
I think that life is far too short – we shouldn’t spend it dwelling in negativity and wallowing in stagnation. I feel that everyone should instead live their lives doing what they love, engaging in activities that stimulate them in mind and body. They should be entitled and empowered to a life of joy, adventure and passion.
While these are important enough that they could call for separate posts (which are forthcoming), I would like to talk about them briefly here. I also don’t want to go without mentioning that today, February 13, 2010, is Madly in Love with ME Day, a day of self-love. How cool is that?!
EDIT: Now that this series has concluded, click the headings of each topic to read the corresponding article. Enjoy!
Without further ado:
MY HAPPINESS MANIFESTO. (not just for me, but for everyone!)
WORRY LESS– This is an issue that I, personally, have a problem with. But honestly, in many situations what good does worrying do? If you have a major interview or an exam around the bend, will it help you to succeed to dwell on the possibility of failure? Of course not! Is it worth it to avoid new experiences due to anxiety and worry about the unknown? Of course, there are things that are genuinely worth your concern, but these are often different than worrying. Worrying typically does not focus on facts, but rather the “what-if’s” of a situation. Being concerned, of course, can be constructive – it is always responsible to give things the serious thought and consideration they deserve – but anticipating chaos and negativity before it happens can be quite undermining. And while it’s been disproved that worry can gray hair, it can still make you sick!
SMILE MORE – This is a simple and straightforward one – making a point to smile more can do wonders for your self-confidence and mood! Studies have shown that smiling can actually help increase your mood and happiness. Some cognitive psychologists believe this is because you closely associate certain facial expressions with mood, and keeping a smile on your face may help convince you to be happier. In that same study, it was mentioned that people seem to “catch” emotions, so smiling at a stranger on the road may help them feel happier as well. Give it a try!
ACCEPT CRITICISM – This one is tough. But it is extremely important to not let criticism put a serious dent in your self-image. Criticism is often meant as a suggestion for self-improvement and it does not make you a bad person; everyone has a fair amount of work to do on themselves! Criticism should not be geared towards making you feel like the scum of the earth – and if it was meant to, that criticism is obviously rubbish! But learning from someone’s constructive criticism can often be valuable; it is extremely hard to be self-aware at all times, unless you are prone to out-of-body experiences!
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY – To a reasonable extent, of course. While shouldering the weight of the world isn’t feasible (and you shouldn’t have to, either!). It is also important to take responsibility of certain aspects of your life. One thing I have learned growing up is that while there are hopefully people who are able to support you, the only person who is with you one hundred percent of the time is yourself. Not only that, but I feel that unless you feel a personal responsibility and investment in whatever it is you do – whether it’s in school, your job and even your relationships, you will lack the driving passion that allows you to be more successful and truly appreciate what you have and what is in store for the future.
LISTEN AND LOVE – These two are extremely different concepts, but they are strongly related at the most basic level; they both require an open heart and mind. As far as listening, some of the most remarkable people in the world are ready to share their experiences to someone who has an open ear to listen. Everybody has a story to tell, a talent to share, wisdom to give. Without taking the time to listen and appreciate these people, you may miss out on some of the most fantastic insights you have ever heard! Opening yourself up fully to others can be difficult, but the most amazing, passion-filled relationships are formed that way. Leaving yourself vulnerable to love can be extremely terrifying, but can ultimately be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. This may not just apply to other people, but also yourself.
DON’T HATE – This one seems obvious, but true! In my opinion, the feeling of hatred is the direct contrast to the feeling of love – aside from the other; the two are unmatched in their intensity and all-encompassing nature. Hatred is a poisonous emotion that builds and consumes you. But think about someone or something in your life that you love – consider how often it crosses your mind, and how profound the positive change in your mindset can be when you remember the value it holds in your life. Is it really worth it to reserve an identical space in your heart for such negativity?
EMBRACE CHANGE – Change is virtually inevitable, whether we like it or not. Huffing and puffing won’t stop winter from following autumn! Embracing change and the new experiences it can bring can be fulfilling and inspiring, while resisting change with all of your heart can be boring and stifling. Change does not always have to be a bad thing, and when one door closes, another opens. And if change ends up being for the worse, know that there is always a new day on the horizon, and things may change again.
FEEL GOOD ANYWAY – The simplest of all. It obviously is not possible to be upbeat every single day. Things may not go your way, worry may be consuming you, and it may be hard to smile. For some reason, it has become difficult to accept criticism, your responsibilities may be overwhelming, you are not in the mood to listen to anyone, there is this person or thing that is pissing you off, and you can feel hatred rising through every vein in your body. But it doesn’t have to be like this, at least not all of the time! Happiness can often be a choice, based on your attitude and outlook. The world outside may be a load of watered-down weak sauce, but happiness comes from the inside, not what is happening outside. Count your blessings, do what makes you happy and try to love every minute of it!
With that said,
What is YOUR personal happiness manifesto?
ps – Happy Self Love Day, everyone!! (and happy birthday to my blog!)