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Darren's guide to a happy life

Confessions of a realistic pollyanna

I just thought I would drop a few lines today about What goes in to making a person happy. I think everyone wants to be happy. But I think that many of us don't know how to get there. Here are my thoughts on bringing satisfication.

1. Realising life does not owe you anything.

All of us are born naked into the world. We own nothing. When we die, we take nothing with us. In between others give us things or we buy things with our efforts. In between birth and death, we become collector of things. If we let the things we collect rule us, we will never be happy. We will never have enough. There is always one more bigger, smaller, faster, flashier new thing. If we accept our new things as a blessing and not as a demand, we can remain satisfied.

2. Living with peaks and valleys

Good things will happen in our lives. But if we expect everyday to be like that then we are going to face disappointment. Not everyday can be the best day ever. We will all face bad days, days that we wish would never come. If on other days we refuse to celebrate because things might go wrong like those bad days, we miss out. We can only be happy when we realise that means there will be up days and down days . Peaks and valleys will come but they won't last forever.

3. Choosing not to dwell

This is not merely "looking at the world through rose coloured glasses". Rather it means that each day we start afresh. Yes I might still have yesterday's problems to deal with. But today, I have a chance to make a fresh start. I get to try again. I get to try once more. Perhaps I will fail again. But maybe what I learn today might help me get through tomorrow. Choosing to be happy means that we need to be willing to try, fail and try again.

4. To live with respect

I like to be respected for what I do. I like to be listened to. I like my opinions to be honoured. Well in this case the axiom of the Golden rule applies. I should treat others as I expect to be treated myself. So I should be respectful of othrers. I should listen to others. I should honour their opinions. In my interactions with others, I should model the behaviour that I wish to see in the world.

5. Controlling my emotions.

Things will make me mad. Do I let my anger build within me, or do I let it pass? Things will make me cry. Is this a fleeting thing or do I cry all day? It is important to express emotions and not hold them in, but again do we let our emotions control us or are we in control.

6. The past is gone

Some of us might regret things in our past. We wished we would have done something, not said something, or reacted differently. But there is nothing we can do about past events. We should try to rebuild relationships, make amends and say sorry. But no matter what, we can't change the past. Also, it might be easy for us to see the mistakes of others, we need to recognise that we too have made mistakes. Just as we expect others to forgive us, we need to forgive others.

7. Not expecting tomorrow to solve everything

Each day we get a chance to start a new. But unless we are willing to amend our behaviours, our expectations, our approach, then the mistakes we have made in our past will be repeated. This needs to be done today, not tomorrow. Tomorrow is not magic, where everything will suddenly turn out all right. Rather we have to work for them by being the best person we can be today.

8. Taking responsibilities for ourselves

It is easy to blame others. You should have loved me more. You should have encouraged me more. You should have set stronger boundaries for me. You should have been less controlling. These outside factors do effect us. But again, it is how I react to these outside factors. Am I controlled by the circumstances that formed me, or have I incorporated them into my story and grown from them? Although I can't change past circumstances, I can choose to rise above them.

9. There are no easy answers

Well meaning people are too quick to give trite statements of condolences in the midst of suffering. Happiness is more than keeping a stiff upper lip, being blissful, being unrealistically positive in the midst of crisis, and dumbly smiling when your heart is breaking. Happiness comes when we are willing to face up to whatever life throws at us. Life is lived not on a straight road but through a series of detours.

10. Be willing to fail

Life is made up of misteps, trial and error, and failures. When we fail, we need to try once more. If we fail a second or third try, we need to try again. There are no easy solves on the road of life. The mistakes we make is when we quit trying. We also are continually becoming the person that we are meant to be. Push yourself but be gentle with yourself as you journey through life to be the best person you can be. That is all that anyone can ask.

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