Inside Every Happy Person Is a Fighter

December 22, 2017
“Happiness is inward, and not outword; and so, it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are.”
-Henry Van Dyke-

Life isn’t easy. We know it sounds a bit stoic. But we can all agree it’s true. And actually the Greek, Stoic philosopher Epictetus taught us a very relevant lesson around 130 B.C. It strangely has a lot to say to us here in the 21st century.

When we’re not in control of the things around us — said the Greek philosopher — we have to focus on the aspects that we can control. The ones we can act on: the thoughts that live inside our minds.

Only when we rein in those negative emotions will we find clarity, internal peace, and even freedom. 

This idea should help us understand something very simple, something very basic. When we meet someone who at first glance seems like they have the secret to happiness, we can understand that it’s not magic.

There are no magic wands. And these people also don’t have anything that we don’t, nothing to be envious of.

Inside a happy person there’s a fighter. A person doing the work every day to kill their limiting attitudes and empower their own strengths.

They’re the type of people who break out of their comfort zone every day. The kind who learn something from every “bad thing” that happens to them. And in spite of all the hardships, they keep looking hopefully at life…

a woman looking hopefully at life

To Be Happy, You Need “A Lot” (Yes, A Lot!)

If you’ve ever heard that classic phrase about how you don’t need much to be happy in life, you should know they’re wrong. Because we actually need a lot. 

Well, a lot of what we could call “interior work.” This kind of psychological, motivational, and emotional work doesn’t happen overnight.

We’ve been taught our whole lives that happiness has to do with accumulating things and relationships. But then what happens if we don’t live up to it? What we feel is devastation, helpless, and unhappiness.

Oliver Bukerman is one of the most well-known authors today when it comes to helping us be happy. His focus is undoubtedly one of the most innovative, bold ones in the publishing market.

His book, “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking,” invites us to put aside Martin Seligman’s classic focus. And he has good reasons…

A lot of self-help books tell us to cultivate our positive side. To make an effort to always look for the positive side of life. To always think about the best way to make that yellow-brick road appear before our feet.

Oliver Bukerman explains that these ideas end up breaking down pretty quickly. And, they can even turn out to be counterproductive. 

The current economic climate, combined with political and environmental insecurity, makes it so that a lot of the time it’s not enough to have hope. It’s not enough to just have a positive focus.

hugging the globe

The book “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking,” suggests that we should first accept that life is hard. That bad things also happen to good people.

And that, sometimes, working at something doesn’t always have a positive result. That’s the problem.

Being positive is good, but being able to process negative things is imperative. We should be capable of accepting failure — and moving on from it. Of accepting the losses — and confronting them. Of understanding that life is constant change. Being a fighter.

A Happy Person is a Fighter: Strategies

We already know that we need “a lot” for happiness. We should be effective processors of our negative emotions, skillful architects of realistic goals. Be a fighter no matter what destiny puts in your path…

But let’s not give up. Here are some very helpful things to think about. They’re simple strategies and approaches to life that we can adopt.

  • The world is the way it is: changing, random, and hard. We should accept that complexity and not hide from it. Don’t take the easy road. Say no to the lie of, “no matter what I do there’s no hope anyway.” 
  • Don’t visualize yourself as a strong, brave, and skillful hero with a shiny weapon. Construct an image of yourself as flexible, light but unbreakable. Like a piece of bamboo that fights the wind every day and wins, even in the strongest storms.
  • Instead of putting the blinders of positivity on, create a new worldview where you can also accept the negative. This way, you will not only survive them but learn from them as well.
taking the hard road to happiness

Lastly, here’s a strategy that might be helpful to you when you feel overwhelmed and lost. Go for a walkPhysical exercise is extremely useful when you’re feeling boxed in. It’s a simple, cheap, and accessible way to learn to be happy.