Happiness is pervasive. However, like the wind, it remains elusive to many in their relentless pursuits. Why does happiness continue to elude us? Could it be that our views of genuine happiness is distorted? Factors contributing to happiness varies from one person to the next. What contributes to your merriment, might not be my cup of tea. To supplement, what made many happy 5 years ago might bring great distress to the heart at present. That sort of happiness is fleeting, only experienced briefly. Can humans experience genuine happiness, happiness that persists irrespective of our circumstances in life? Understandably, though many factors contribute to happiness, here are 4 vital keys to living a happy and fulfilling life today.
Extirpate Envy From the Heart
It’s quite easy to match our success against that of another, reasoning that we deserve to be successful, or we’re
deserving of the privileges bestowed them. That might be true, but how about exhibiting a little patience or acknowledging that you’re just not in a position to possess what someone else has? This budding resentful attitude against those with a seeming advantage is like a malignant tumour, waiting to conquer its victim. How might you allow envy and jealousy to assume residency in your heart? Is there any way to wrestle this ubiquitous disease?
Extensive research has seen individuals begrudging their equals. This could include those within the same age group – perhaps colleagues, those sporting similar experiences or socio-economic backgrounds. A case in point: A teacher might not envy a celebrity – perhaps a movie star – but they might turn green at a more successful teacher. Envy never bears a beautiful face but one hostile in nature, even inciting the envious party to hatred and wicked concoctions. How can one perceive envy? An honest self-evaluation might go a far way, and underscore the importance of removing envy from the heart once diagnosed. To assess envy, ask yourself:
Do I rejoice with the success of others or does it mortify me?
Am I excited at the defeat of my peers, co-workers or others?
Choosing ‘mortify’ and excited’ is a clear indication of envy on your part.
Envy deprives people of the capacity to enjoy the simple things in life. It robs individuals of contentment. An envious person is also bitter, finding every reason to complain.
Cultivating genuine humility and modesty is a fine and practical way to stifle envy. This is recognizing that there’ll always be someone above you or one step ahead on the ladder. Humility also intimates a lowly spirit; you consider others above you. This is not a weak quality since anyone humble in spirit will be exalted. In addition, humility opens your eyes to the possibility of appreciating the fine qualities in others, rather than begrudging. Instead of stirring up contention with an egotistical spirit, cultivate genuine love for those among you.
Learn to be content with the present things
It’s human nature to want more. For some, we take what we don’t have, amassing debts and misery. For those who have, does that make them truly happy? Far from it! Research has shown throughout the years, that some of the unhappiest people are those possessing great riches and assets. A typical example: Robin Williams was a well reputed and animated actor and comedian. His entire career revolved around bringing light to people, in the form of a radiant smile. However, little did the world know, Robin suffered from depression, up until his very death. The man who brought immense joy to the world, could not extract, not even an ounce of happiness from the things he procured. According to the comedian:
“I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that”.
Finding contentment in what we have is not easy. As mentioned from the outset, our inclination is to ‘want’ – regardless of whether we have or not. It’s safe to say, a lover of silver will never be satisfied with silver. The same applies for a lover of gold.
“Money is for a protection”. However, the more we have, the less secure we feel. Anxiety will creep in. Eventually, we’ll worry about the people around us, questioning their sincerity as our friends. Do they love me because of my character or do they simply stick around because of my possessions – what they can get?
We also worry about our material possessions. The more an individual accumulates in this world, the more they’ll have to lose.
In all honesty, we need money to survive. However, we need to avoid developing gluttony or insatiable greed.
With clothing and shelter, we ought to be content with those things. Pursuing money ruthlessly or accumulating things for ourselves, will never fill the gap in our heart, it’ll only leave us drenched with misery.
Develop the Stark Power of Resilience
Resilience is the ability to recover easily or readily from a blow or failed venture. Not everyone possesses this quality, as many people over the years, have succumbed to failure. Simply, they’ve given up on life itself. We’ll all have those moments. Not everything will work out at the first go… maybe even the second or any at all. However, whenever you fail or encounter disappointments, how do you react? What is your attitude? Do you give up or do you bounce back and try again?
There’s a season for everything. When we face disappointments, it’s natural for us to wail and maybe slap ourselves a
few times. However, we should not become stricken with grief, to the extent we remain powerless or immobile.
Debilitating health experiences can sap our joy and resilience. Focusing on the negatives will only make matters worse. Instead of worrying about the things we formerly enjoyed or what we’re unable to accomplish at present, why not contend with what we can actually get done? In every situation, we can endeavour to seek out the positives. When we maintain a positive outlook, even in the face of sickness, we can maintain lasting joy. By developing the stark power of resilience, we’d have mastered the art of endurance through the face of trials.
Cultivate Genuine Love for your Neighbours
Love is a vehement preventative. When we love someone, we fight hard to put up with them, even living up to their requirements. It’s hard to love, as we’d have to constantly think about the interests of others. That love includes being self-sacrificing and giving of ourselves when the need arise. Humans, however, are absolutely selfish, most of the times.
Do you love your neighbour? Your neighbour could be anyone, not just those living next door. I am your neighbour. Though we’ve never met, do you love me? This love is not emotional or intimate, but one that is principled. If we have love, the world would be a better and happy place. However, today we’re seeing quite the opposite. We all need to give and receive love. Love is a major contributory factor in our happiness, providing a heavier impact than money, physical health or society, according to research.
How does demonstrating love make you happy? That’s quite simple. Have you ever received a gift, especially one you’ve always wanted? Can you vividly recall the expression on your countenance? Was it one of joy? Most likely. When we love someone, other qualities ensue. We demonstrate kindness, humility, modesty, mildness and so much more outstanding qualities. Truly, we feel a warm feeling lingering around our hearts. I don’t know about you, but extending kindness, especially to those lowly in heart, brings me tremendous happiness.
Regardless of the plagues we’re faced with today, we can maintain a smile on our countenance. We can embrace and keep our joy when we rip envy from our hearts, learn to be content with what we have, build our resilience in the face of disappointments and exercise loving-kindness to our neighbour.