Life is all about freedom. The freedom to do what you want, when you want and the way you want to. In today’s modern world, social media has skewed our ideas for happiness and as a result most people become profoundly unhappy.
We often find ourselves comparing our lives with those of everyone else around us. From the friend jetting off to Bali again to the one who’s always partying, it looks as if our lives never seem to be the way they should be.
As a result, our lives become a never-ending cycle of chasing the next “best” thing that’s coming along. On the long-term, happiness becomes a kind of mirage, always within our grasp but never reachable.
This isn’t the way life is meant to be lived. Every moment of life should be savored and enjoyed with the urgency of a man taking his last breath. It isn’t meant to be squandered feeling depressed and guilty that we just can’t seem to find happiness.
If you’ve always been chasing happiness, this article is for you. Here are 5 ways for you to start living the life you’ve always wanted.
1. Allow yourself to feel sad
Many of us seem to believe that life should be constant stream of joyous events where we’ll never have to feel sad or down. Movies and television series have us sold on the illusion that everything has a happy ending and all problems can be resolved in convenient 2 hour or 1-hour segments.
In fact, the opposite is true. Life is a complicated mess and a continuous journey filled with ups and downs. The bitter moments in our lives allow us to savor the sweet and let us be thankful for the good times.
All too often, most of us try to ignore the fact that sadness is a significant part of being a human. Our capacity to feel and emote is what makes us human. Just like in sports bets, sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.
Emotional pain follows us everywhere and only through accepting sadness and learning to move on are we able to truly experience happiness.
2. Forget about what others think
Lao Tzu was an ancient Chinese philosopher, teacher and sage. His teachings were so influential that his name in Mandarin refers to teacher or wise one. Despite being born several centuries ago, Lao Tzu’s wisdom can still be applied for use today.
One of his most famous sayings was “Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner”. Essentially what Lao Tzu meant was that life should be lived the way you want to. Live free and unshackled by what everyone else thinks. Being too concerned with the opinions of others only prevents you from living the way you want.
At the end of the day, we need to live with the decisions made by ourselves. In today’s social media age, many of our decisions are constrained by the opinions of others. We seek validation from faceless strangers and use this approval as a measure of our self-worth.
Instead, live life the way we want to. Make the decisions that we want to. Spend time with people who complete and fulfill you. Only by letting go of society’s constraints are we free to rise up and be happy.
3. We all move at our own pace
Life is a long and winding road with its own set of obstacles and challenges. On this journey, many of us move at our own pace. We set our own goals and make our way towards them. Naturally, some would move faster than others along this road.
However, in today’s information age where information is so freely shared, it’s easy to compare ourselves with our peers and be let down by what we see. Perhaps an old friend got married or has started a business, it simply doesn’t matter.
We all progress at our own pace and our happiness should come from within. Comparing oneself with others is a slippery slope and a never ending one at that. Accept the fact that life is what we want it to be and you’ll be much happier.