Late last night, I got the topic for today’s blog article. No, an angel did not come to visit me with prophetic visions of my own happiness. Rather – and this is pretty predictable – I found myself making a mental checklist of the things I aim to achieve in the next year and a half before my twenty-first birthday. The items that found themselves on my mental checklist were huge, monumental things that I did not think I could ever achieve. Instead, I began breaking them down and dissecting the very idea of happiness itself as it means to me.
What follows is my list of Essentials to Happiness:
This is the first most important thing when it comes to achieving happiness. Human Beings are social creatures, and yes – this does explain social networks (it had to happen sooner or later, I often laugh at the idiots back in the 80’s when the computers first came out and nobody suspected that such a thing would happen). More so, this means that you need some kind of a social life. How small or big is up to you and your preferences. A social life, and (more importantly) a social circle, is essential to a person’s mental well-being. Everybody needs a support system made of real people outside of their own minds, people to catch up with and share news with, basically just a reliable close collection of people with whom to share things.
For me, my social life is mostly my girlfriend, my family, and a handful of friends that I see about four or five times a year. I prefer it this way.
- Make sure they are your real friends and that they like you for you. This is the good thing about choosing friends in your own social class. Lower, and there’s a chance that they are using you; higher, and there’s a chance you may be using them.
- Keep it reasonable: a smaller group of best friends is better than a large group of loose-knit acquaintances.
- Friends come and go, don’t hang onto them and if they want to go, let them.
2. Leaving The Past Behind You
A decision to be happy has just been made, if you’ve read this far. One of the most important parts of this whole exercise is to leave the past behind you and forget about it. You can never really look forward to the future if you’re always looking back, you don’t have a pair of eyes at the back of your head.
This includes forgiving both yourself and others for what has happened in the past. If you can, tell them in person that you forgive them and attempt to quench any qualms that may be bothering either of you.
Just remember, there’s no way to change what happened. But you can change your whole future, and that’s what you should be focusing on.
- Do it sincerely. There is no point in saying you forgive someone if you don’t. It should come from your heart, not your mind. The only thing your mind should do is help you make the decision.
- There is a possibility that the people you choose to forgive won’t forgive you in return. Grudges are hard to bury, and some people never manage to do it. Take pleasure in the fact that you are able to forgive them, as that is what really matters. You are, after all, trying to make yourself happy – not anybody else.
- Sometimes the past can sneak up on you. In these cases, become a ninja and bitch slap the shit out of your past. Beat that mofo into submission.
3. Your Career – Keep It or Change It?
Yes, contrary to popular belief, changing your career can have a major influence on your happiness. If you’re stuck in a job you do not feel you are good at it, if there is something you would much rather do, if you’ve gotten bored and the excitement has gone out of your original field of interest, then you might want to consider quitting. Before you quit, however, take some time to explore and line up another job. In today’s times, quitting a job without lining up another one is a move you shouldn’t consider. Unemployment rates are going up, and job opportunities are going down.
- Choosing the right job is integral. The best jobs are often in the field of your greatest interest. Mine is English, so naturally Journalism is my main career choice, being a writer my second.
- If the job you have now isn’t the problem, but you’re not enjoying it, think about whether or not relocating would be an option for you.
- Do not expect your new job to be moonshine and roses. There will be days when things get tough and you don’t like your job, but if you made the right decision there will be far more enjoyable days.
4. Money; it’s not as trivial an issue as you think.
Some people are naturally more inclined towards thinking that luxury will make them happy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this thought. If you don’t earn enough, consider working harder to get a bonus or promotion, or relocating to a higher-paying firm/establishment/business. Want or need a higher qualification? Go study for one! There’s no shame at all in going back to high school or graduate school even years after you’ve given up or didn’t have the chance.
- There are opportunities everywhere. Want that new television or a Nintendo Wii? Then consider getting a better job (see Essential No.3), investing in stocks and bonds, or perhaps starting a new venture.
- Never, ever put your Pursuit for Money above the feelings of others, your own moral standards, or the law.
- Do not expect money to make you happy. For some, it really is just a luxury and won’t improve your happiness at all. First consider how happy an increase in your monthly income has made you in the past before you consider pursuing more money. Sometimes, your quest may be in vain.
5. Security and Health
These two almost slipped my mind, and had to come back and edit this post before it went live. Security and health are important aspects of a happy life, and cannot be done without. If you live in an unsafe neighborhood, hurtful relationship or you have regular ailments, you might want to consider fixing these problems. No, actually, I recommend you do.
The problem with security is that it’s a loose term. What is it, exactly? It’s the freedom to feel safe. This includes: security at home in the sense of an alarm system, guard dog, or locks on your doors; security in your relationships (if you’re unsure over whether or not it’s going to last or if you’re being treated right, you need to rectify this problem and alleviate this stress from your life); and, of course, health security.
Your health is undoubtedly the most important part of your happiness. I’ve been there, the whole sickness thing. I was walking around with a permanent headache and body pains. It wasn’t much fun, and it was bringing down the degree of my happiness. Finally, I had it checked out at a doctor and I was told it was because of stress. And stress from what, might you ask? Security.
It’s different for everybody, but I highly recommend reinforcing your life and seeing a general practitioner. Regularly!
- It really is true that you should see a general practitioner whenever you feel out of sorts. You could be catching something or developing something, and a “just in case” trip to the doctor could nip something bad in the butt before it gets too bad.
- The more security you can install into your life, the better. Don’t hesitate to make yourself more safe.
- Don’t go overboard and turn your house into a bunker. Also, don’t harden your heart.
6. And, finally, the sex.
There will undoubtedly be some people who disagree with this statement, and that’s okay. I’m trying to help people here, not win a popularity contest. The fact of the matter is that if your sex life isn’t up to standards, you’re pretty much screwed. And not in that sense.
Sex releases all sorts of hormones (will not bother you with which ones, this isn’t a thesis), most of which relieve stress and cause happiness. A lack of sex can increase your anxiety and cause mood swings, depression, and all sorts of unwanted emotions. If you are single, consider getting a girlfriend/boyfriend, or (if you’re okay with it) have a one night stand or a friend with benefits. These are all viable options for the single person. However, if you’re in a relationship, then I suggest you sit down with your partner and have an honest heart-to-heart about the lack of sex in your relationship and try to resolve these problems.
A lack of sex is often a major contributor towards lack of self-esteem and perceived value. If nobody wants you, then something must be wrong with you, right? Often, however, that’s not the case and you’re simply unreasonable or not good at what you do. These things, however, can be fixed, so don’t fret too much about them.
- Don’t just expect to receive. Not getting enough oral action? Consider giving a bit more, and hope to get some in return. Pleasuring your partner should be a pleasure, not a chore.
- Be kind and thoughtful about it. If you act like an asshole/bitch, chances are you won’t be getting any action at all. Now, wouldn’t that be a shame?
- Furthermore, don’t expect your partner to conform to your sexual standards. It’s a relationship, meaning the street goes both ways. If he/she wants sex once a week, and you want it thrice a week, consider settling for twice.
So there it is, my five essentials to a happy life. Not one of these things was simply written down for the fun of it, and all of them are entirely essential to being happy. These are things I am going to be aiming for in my own life, and I hope you will, too.