It seems like an overwhelming - externally imposed - new trend obsession. All we hear or read around us is "How to be happy", "10 ways to be happy", "How to avoid people that are not happy", etc. But what is actually implied between the lines is "Try to be happy, because everyone else is happy, except you, and, actually: What's wrong with you?".
Happiness is moments. Happiness is something circumstantial and is attached to external situations. Something happens, something that you have expected for a long time, or something that you have never expected and it surprises you in a positive way, and Bang! you feel happy. But you cannot make your inner peace dependent from something "unpredictable" like that. You cannot define yourself by being happy or not happy, and be labeled by such an unfair stereotype.
You cannot fully control if you feel happy or not.
But what you can control is whether you are appreciative or not.
Appreciation is the key to your inner peace. You appreciate what is given to you, what you have gained so far, your achievements, your people, your job, even the weather, your luck, your family, your friends, your skills, your partner, a kind gesture from a stranger, a phone call from an old friend, and a million other things that you experience every single day. But sometimes you let these moments slip through your fingers without them being noticed and appreciated. And by appreciating all these, an overwhelming feeling of joy fills you up every moment. As Brene Brown states in her book "The Gift of Imperfection", Joy is tethered to our hearts by spirit and gratitude. Being appreciative comes with wisdom and virtue, it's a philosophy of life that gives you hope and wings to fly.
The opposite of appreciation is low self-confidence and fear. You are afraid that you are not worth what you have, that you are not enough, that other people deserve more, that you cannot succeed in your goals, that you are weak. Whilst happiness is something you can experience sometimes - when you're lucky - appreciation is a conscious way of life that fills you with hope and faith and love for yourself. You are not afraid of losing anything, because you already have enough and you are thankful for that.
Comparison is the thief of your everyday joy and of your self-respect and appreciation. When you appreciate what you have and who you are, you do not need to compare. You know that what you have is already valuable and you deeply deserve and love it, so you are not looking around you to see what else you can grab, what the others have and compare yourself with them and, in the end, feel small and petty.
Practice appreciation. And joy will follow, And happiness will multiply.
Appreciate your friends but also your enemies. They make you feel important and valuable.
Appreciate your strengths but also your weaknesses. They give you something to work on every day.
Appreciate your victories but also your struggles. They made you who you are today.
But also appreciate all the small things that happen to you every day. The things you might have left unnoticed.
Notice them as they happen. Don't take them for granted. Life would be so different and miserable without them.
And at the end of the day, a joyful feeling will fill you up, and above all the things you have appreciated, you will appreciate yourself most.
How to Stop Perfectionism
How much of a Perfectionist Are You
From Conflict to Connection