Updated: Aug 22, 2021
The stresses and stressors all around are sometimes enough to exhaust even the strong. At times your support system appears to fail you just when you need it the most. You may feel that you are standing all alone and that no one has your back. Nothing or no-one ever seems to make you happy. You've tried it all - done it all. Yet here you are. And for these (and many more) reasons, you might be tempted to have a pity party - just wallowing in self-defeat and frustration. It is understandable but it is never acceptable. Depending on others or on things to make you feel happy is a feat you will never succeed at no matter how hard you try.
A portion of the time and energy we dedicate to others, whether in our work, family, friendships, and other associations, should be spent on ourselves. It's so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of our lives that we neglect to make time for our own life - we neglect our own happiness. We are the casualties of our own actions - even our good intentions. Yes, work is important. Family is important. Friendships are important. But who takes care of you? Who should? What about you? We often get signs that our happiness is in jeopardy or even non-existent but we do not pay attention. You ignore the nagging, unspoken sense of unfulfillment that accompanies accomplishments at work. You mask the tinge of sadness you often feel when you are alone. But just an hour prior, you were the life of the party - you were the comic relief. You pretend that the unreciprocated attention from friends and family is not killing you inside. After all, you are the gift that keeps on giving - though Christmas is long gone. But how do you choose to deal with these issues? Do you avoid them or do you do the work that is required of you?
To be happy, one must be brave and relentless. Avoiding our issues is an act of cowardice and an exercise in futility. Running away from reality does not change reality - it changes us instead (and not necessarily for the good either). Reality, therefore, only demands a few things of us - acknowledgement, acceptance, and action. Similarly, avoiding the things in your life that are making you unhappy will not magically make you happy somehow. The things we are willing to put up with and accept in our lives, just to make others comfortable (and happy) is mind-boggling. Sadly, we are better advocates for others than for ourselves. Simply put, if something or someone is making you unhappy, do not ignore the signs. Do something about you. Yes! You heard me right. Do something about YOU! It is easy to cut people off or remove yourself from situations. But until you get yourself right on the inside, you will find yourself right back where you started - in the same mess.
How do you see yourself? What do you believe about yourself? What do you know about yourself? If you see yourself as someone uniquely valuable who brings his or her authentic self to the table every time, then you will not depend on the validation of your boss(es) for a boost to your self-esteem. The value you'll ever need is YOU. Your success is only a reflection of that which is already inside. You are success! If you believe that you are worthy of love and attention, you will be discerning and cautious with whom you give your love and attention to. The source of discontent in many of our friendships and relationships is that we are 'casting our pearls before swines'. A swine (pig) will consume anything that comes its way - even your precious jewels. It makes no distinction between the valuable or invaluable. Give your most precious gifts (time, love, presence, attention, self), then, to those who know how to appreciate (value) them. It is an investment that demands a profitable return. Do not devalue your worth just to feel wanted or needed. And if you know who you are (having a good sense of self /self-esteem), then you will not settle for less. Compromises in strategy, outlook, or position are often required in business and relationships - family and friendships, as a mark of professionalism and maturity. But never compromise your self to be accepted or included. Anything or anyone that demands that of you is already unworthy of you. Compromising one's integrity only sets the stage for heartache, discontent, and more unhappiness. "To thine own self be true" (William Shakespeare).
Happiness, therefore, is one's duty to self. This duty is not reliant on one's ego where arrogance, pride, and entitlement are the required tools. Rather, it requires one to be fully present, vulnerable, and in touch with one's true self. If your interactions with others are simply vain displays of superficial concern, charity, and pride, then do not expect your soul to find nourishment in such mockeries. Happiness needs truth, authenticity, selflessness, and presence of mind to flourish. Bring your full self to the table - leave no part of you in the shadows. For the light will reveal all things around you. Happiness comes when all of you is fully invested. Happiness, in my opinion, is not a state of gleeful bliss. Rather, it is the act of giving that which you are now fully becoming - yourself. It is fulfillment in its purest state. As you go about the daily grind, look not to others or things for happiness, know that it all depends on you. So please, just mind your own business and be fully invested in your happiness.