A lot of those I love are going through it right now. I wanted to share some ways to make things better. So here goes.
First off, stop trying to pursue perpetual happiness. It doesn’t exist. Life has ups and downs and that’s all there is to it. Nothing is permanent. Everything you have, think and are will be gone or will have changed into something completely different sooner or later. Nothing stays the same. When you realize that you will lose everything at one time or another, it frees you from being too attached to anything.
Some things will stay with you until you die, and some may be gone tomorrow. Anything can happen. So, when you get a new toy, enter a new relationship, sit down to a meal, start a new job, etc., tell yourself that it will be gone someday and enjoy the hell out of it while it’s here. Value it, and immerse yourself in it, but be able to let it go when the time comes.
Intentionally replace that which sucks with that which does not suck. At the very least, get rid of that which sucks now to make room for better things. If you are in a dreary, miserable relationship that has no realistic probability of getting better, end it. If your job is killing you, get the fuck out! Take anything else and then use that time to find something better. If you are swamped in debt, simplify and maybe declare bankruptcy. Dig yourself out of shitty situations.
Spend time around those who are supportive and uplifting. If you spend time around negative, self-pitying, pessimistic, snarky people, it drains you. It depletes the energy you could be using to make things better. Phase out negative people and seek out more positive people. After all, their attitude is their choice, and you don’t owe it to anyone to let them drag you down with them. They aren’t entitled to your time and attention.
Of course, when you start to pull away, they may get more dramatic, have more crises and guilt trip the hell out of you to try to keep you around, and if they pull that kind of stuff, it’s best to just walk away. Just stop giving attention to those who only seek it in a “misery loves company” kind of way. It’s not worth your sanity.
Remember that your life is YOUR life! Stop molding yourself to the expectations of others. Sadly, most people will try to restrict you when you seek to fly, or at least want to stop crawling. People don’t want you to change, they want the old familiar you, even if the old you sucked. They like being right about you.
Many people are very uncomfortable with change and they may take your aspirations as an attack on them. They may try to pull a “you don’t like me anymore” guilt trip. All you can do is explain that it’s not personal and keep moving onward and upward. Cut the tentacles of guilt, expectation, and limitation. Break free! After all, if they really want to keep you around, they can get better attitudes.
Some situations will be very difficult to extricate yourself from. You have a choice: stay and continue to endure this hell indefinitely, or go through the hell of extricating yourself and find freedom on the other side. Two hells, but one has a happier ending. Go towards the light, Carol Anne!
Write down all the things that make you happy, no matter how small or how grandiose. Everything you can think of. The scent of the forest, a certain meal, books, places, sounds, etc. Write it all down. Take a few days and add things to the list as they pop into your mind. You’ll find that simply focusing on that which makes you happy will help uplift you. It will also help you understand what to move towards and what to include more of in your life. You like being in a forest? Go be in one for a weekend! You miss a person’s voice? Call them! Nothing’s going to just fall into your lap, no matter how much you wish or pray. You have to make things happen. You have to make the first move.
Make another list, this time of all the things you want to have, learn, do and experience in your life. Time and money is irrelevant for this list. Just get it all out. All the places you want to see, all the bands you’d like to see live, all the meals you want to try, all the skills you want to learn, all the people you want to meet, all the things you want to have. All of it. Just like the other list, keep it going for a few days and add things as they come to mind.
Once both lists are pretty full, you’ll have a much better idea of what you want and what makes you happy. Now you know what to move towards. After all, the most miserable and crippling life is when you don’t know what you want, so you do nothing. You simply float along in limbo wishing things were somehow better. After these lists, you’ll know what you want.
Start adding to your life whatever you can from those lists. Start with small stuff. This will also show you what is getting in between you and that which makes you happy.
Some things will cost money. For me, travel is my big passion, and it can be expensive. So, you need more money. Simplify. Get frugal. Go to www.reddit.com/r/frugal often and get some tips on how to keep more of your money and how to be more frugal. Get out of debt, whatever it takes. Declare bankruptcy if you must. It takes a while, but it’s not that hard. I just did it and it’s a HUGE relief!
I learned a lot of frugal habits in the last few months, and now that I finally found a better job, I’ll have way more money than I would have had if I didn’t learn how to stop wasting money and how to live more simply.
Now I have goals to direct that money towards.
Your life is waiting for you. Stop simply existing and start getting more of whatever makes you happy! If you do nothing to get happiness, then you’ll get nothing in return.
Now, you may have medical limitations to what you can do. Still, do what you can. Surely there are some things you can include in your life to make it a bit happier. There must be some things you can do that you aren’t doing right now. At the very least, keep the images, sounds, smells, etc. of what make you happy around you as much as possible. It beats being in a funk all the time.
Watch uplifting videos. TED.com has a bunch of very inspiring and motivating stuff, and a lot that will give you hope for humanity. Read books that make you happy. I don’t mean self-help, unless you think that will work for you. I mean books that give practical advice in the kinds of things you’re interested in.
Learn some new recipes, or a new language, or a skill you’ve been putting off. Read about a place you’d like to visit. Keep filling your brain, eyes and ears with positive things and practical, helpful information. Turn off the fucking news. Nothing is more depressing and aggravating and causes more fear and feelings of being overwhelmed than that which passes for “news”. Most of it is info that you can’t do anything about, and there’s no point worry about that which you can’t change. Your life is a big enough bite to chew on. Deal with what you can, a little bit at a time. Filter what you take in. Start making choices about what you read and watch and who you talk with.
Help others as much as you can. Nothing feels better than being able to make someone else’s life better. One of the best ways to get happiness is to help make others happy! After all, what else are we here for if not to help each other and have the best life possible for everyone?
The whole process boils down to removing that which sucks from your life and getting that which does not suck into your life. If you have a bowl of shit, throw it out and get a steak! If you can’t get a steak, at least don’t eat shit. Having something mediocre for a time is better than having something bad.
None of this is a guarantee that life won’t still suck from time to time, but wouldn’t it be better to have more happiness than less? Sucky situations must be endured from time to time, but as long as you keep moving towards whatever makes you happy, the harder times will be much easier to endure. It all depends on what is more important to you. To keep life as it is, or to say “fuck that noise” and make it better. After all, how else are you going to get more happiness?
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