Another year has flown by, and now we quickly usher in 2013 with all its fresh potential. Reflecting back onto my year, I remember the one and only resolution I made in 2012: be happy. Not to say that I wasn't content with how my life has been, but I knew that there was room to make better choices for my happiness.
Before I continue, I want to make a side note. For a while I've wondered if this idea of "seeking happiness" was selfish, or "first worldly" even. (Pretty sure I made that word up.) However, a look back into the philosophy courses I've previously taken, I will see that this isn't true at all. It can even be argued that all human decisions are made under the premise that it will eventually bring us this wonderful feeling of happiness. Of course, everyone gets there differently, no way is wrong or right (although I personally think there are better ways than others). And some make goals to reach it, but never do.
Nonetheless, here are some of the actionable ways I went about to find my happiness. Some may seem simple or obvious even, but it takes time and effort to build such a mentality and actually carry through with it. Hopefully for those of you seeking it, this can help shed a light on how to achieve it for the new year. Enjoy!
1. It is life. Live it.
Most of our lives are spent doing things we should do. But sometimes we need to make decisions based not on what we think we should do or what will further us in our career, but on how happy it can make us. I spent a number of semesters in college literally running from one meeting to another...filling every hour with something to keep me busy and to make me feel more important. However, there is something to be said about making conscious decisions that you know can make you happier. For example, instead of taking an extra class that you dread, register for a class you know you will enjoy.
2. Make time for yourself.
I always believed that if I was not being productive, I was wasting time. I lived by this notion to a point where I forgot the value of being still and just appreciating down time. I didn't even want to cook my own dinner...it was too time-consuming. But finding time for yourself to relax is not seeking the easy way out. It is understanding that life should not be all about work. We work so hard only to seek happiness for the future, but why do we overlook the importance of happiness in the now?
3. Learn to say no.
Quite self-explanatory. Respect yourself enough to be firm in saying no if it is not something you want to do. Prioritize your happiness high enough to say no to opportunities that will spread yourself too thin.
4. Be kind to everyone. Show gratitude.
Show kindness, and you will receive it. Show gratitude, and others will feel it. Both are vicious cycles that can make you and everyone around you feel happier!
5. Surround yourself with good people.
I know I've written about this on this blog, here and here. But can't stress enough how important it is to treasure good company. Also to realize that sometimes not all friendships are made to last. It doesn't say anything about the friendship; I believe that it is natural and it is okay (do not wallow in it).
6. Reward yourself. And don't feel guilty doing so.
Whether it is a shopping spurge or a needed vacation, you should learn to reward yourself for your hard work. And it's not just about the short term gain of that splurge or vacation but the idea of showing appreciation towards yourself. I mean, when something awesome happens to a friend, you go out of your way to celebrate their accomplishments so why not hold yourself to that same standard?
7. Give back!
I know there has been many people in my life who has helped me get to where I am today (whether they intended to or not). So I believe that you should extend a helping hand to others whenever you can or when the opportunity arises. I think some people operate under the belief that if they share their wisdom with someone, a bit is taken away from them. That's not exactly true, and in the long run, that way of thinking only limits your potential.
That's all -- but remember, everything is in moderation. I am a firm believe in hard work, ambition, and giving something all that you've got. So when I say relax, I am not saying, be a bum. I am saying when you've done your homework and you've put in your effort towards something, it is okay to just be and to embrace the present. And when I say splurge, do it responsibly. Also I can't brag to be an expert on the idea of happiness, I am merely sharing my experience and takeaways from this year. Thanks for reading!
"Do your best until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."