with thanks to Alka Bahal for allowing us to share these precious thoughts.
Happiness – A journey
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.”
In the last few weeks, I find myself become quite intrigued about the life of Mahatma Gandhi and his teachings. Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most revered figures in world history. He was a diminutive man who had the courage to stand up to British Rule in India and fight for Indian Freedom and independence as well as justice for the oppressed. Gandhi went to jail several times during this struggle and yet never harboured any hate or animosity against his oppressors. Instead he said:
“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.”
Has the world forgotten his teachings? Have we forgotten how to be happy and peaceful, whether things are going our way or not? I find myself doing a lot of philosophical thinking of late and I want to find out what can make us happy? Why are so many of us unhappy when we have so much to be grateful for?
A wise woman once told me “It is more important to be positive when things are not going so well. It is easy to be happy and positive when things are going good, but we forget this when things are not going well and complain instead.”
I am trying to implement these values into my life now. There was a time where I would complain and whine about things – whether it was work or colleagues or life in general. I found that this would make me feel negative and stressed and have effects on my health. I would feel sick, have a headache and feel nauseated and weak. Negativity grasps your thoughts really hard and doesn’t let go so easily. It can make you feel depressed and helpless and useless. It tends to overpower you and you feel stuck in this dark place and don’t seem to find a way out.
Granted, it can be hard to find happiness and peace during our “bad times.” When things do not go well, we try to find scapegoats and blame other factors for our problems by saying “We are in this situation because of so and so” or “It’s that one’s fault or this one’s fault.” We all have done this at some time in our lives – we find it easier to blame other factors or situations for our problems rather than try to find a way out of them. I have been thinking recently, maybe if we started working more on finding solutions to our problems rather than complaining and finding a scapegoat for them, we would save time and perhaps find a way for the situation to become “ideal” again.
This brings me to another question: Why be unhappy in the first place? A lot of people will say things like “I am not happy because I don’t like my job” or “I do not like where I live,” or even things like “I do not have enough money” or “My life sucks.” Then I wonder, if money makes people happy, why are some of the world’s happiest people poor and many celebrities and rich people on drugs and unhappy?? And if your job is causing you grief, try look for other work or find a career change. If you feel your life sucks, well you are responsible for your own life, find things that make you happy and do them.
I was always told when I was younger to “count your blessings.” I find in the world these days people don’t know what this means or have somewhat overlooked this. Many of us seem to be competing in a rat race and are engrossed in trying to buy the latest cars and have the newest gadgets and trying to keep up with the Jones’. We tend to compare ourselves to others who are more affluent and successful than ourselves and go “He has a better car than me,” “He earns more than me,” and such goes on. We feel somewhat cheated especially if we feel we deserve better and someone else got something that we wanted. Envy is a vice; it can breed hate and again leads to negativity and deterioration of one’s health and peace of mind.
As I have been through this journey, I have found that indeed, happiness comes from within. When you are unhappy or insecure in something about yourself, it prevents you from being truly happy and positive. We have to learn how to love and forgive ourselves. Whatever it is that happened in the past, or whatever decisions you made before that have led you to an unhappy state, you have to let it go and find a solution to restore your state of mind to peace again. Let’s count our blessings every day. We have the biggest blessing of all – life, the present. Let’s make the most of each day we live and learn and love. This will ensure positivity and happiness. Give it a go! You will be surprised what happens when you start to condition your mind to take responsibility for your own happiness and to challenge every negative thought with a positive one. I keep telling myself– “Pretend you are Muhammad Ali, in a boxing ring and you are not going to go down without a fight.”
A big thank-you to Alka for allowing us to share these thoughts, because we all strive to find happiness, and too many people look to outside factors, when really we must start by looking in.