Live to Be Happy Not Normal
When shaping our lives, we repeat patterns set by others, as if following them will grant us instant happiness. But is that really true? Cultural and social pressure has led us to believe that we will find stability in what is conventional, and this will help us achieve well-being. But in truth we should live to be happy not normal by society’s standards.
Many studies about happiness have found that spending time with positive, grateful, and enthusiastic people who participate in uncommon activities helps our well-being. Their positivity is contagious. Doing things out of the ordinary gives us a special energy, it allows us to see life through a more restful lens and discover new activities that we are good at.
The most coveted treasure of this day and age is happiness. But we might be looking for it in the wrong way. Copying and repeating other’s goals without adjusting them to our own lives can lead to frustration.
“True happiness is enjoying the present without anxiety about the future”
Do you live to be happy?
Paradoxically, being obsessed with happiness can make us less happy. A study by June Gruber, a professor of psychology at Yale University, suggests that constantly thinking about how to be happy can actually cause anxiety. This happens when those who are looking for happiness think that every method to increase happiness will work for them. It also happens when the first steps of a plan for happiness don’t give great results.
So, instead of trying so hard to be happy, we should try to be genuine. Genuine people, by definition, have good self-esteem. Authenticity and originality are real and trustworthy. We should stop following the beaten path and make our own way. It will be harder at the beginning, but then it will be much more simple because everything we look back on has to do with us. We will find ourselves in any of the memories that we have rescued.
We can’t be happy living someone else’s life. Each person has particular characteristics and a unique perspective on life. The same goes for happiness.
In a 2008 study published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, researchers in the United Kingdom observed the correlation between authentic personalities and a sense of genuine living. They found that people who express a high sense of authenticity also maintain higher levels of self-esteem and well-being.
Authentic people don’t just take time to reflect on their perspective and the experiences that make them happy, they also share them with others. And most of them do it with a happy attitude that breaks down the defenses of those with hard shells.
Happiness isn’t the product of doing some particular thing, it is a lifestyle.
If you want to be happy, be uncommon
Doctor Tal Ben-Shahar, a professor at Harvard University and an expert in positive psychology, believes that happiness can be learned. In the same way that someone learns to play tennis or to ski: with technique and practice. Among his advice on how to be happy and find well-being, we find some uncommon strategies.
One of the most important of all of his recommendations is to celebrate failures. Few people celebrate their failures. Instead, we beat ourselves up when we fail at something. This particular Doctor of Psychology proposes that if we accept our negative emotions, we will be able to open up to enjoy positivity and joy. No knowing how to forgive oneself is related to disorders like depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
Another common fact that takes us further from happiness in this society has a lot to do with the confusion between well-being and money. Many people want the first, but they spend all their time on the second. They forget that happiness depends on our mental state, not on our bank account statement.
Happiness is identifying what is really important and focusing on that.
Featured image by Mariana Kalacheva