This article is about the Secret to Happiness in Life and the importance of keeping yourself happy in life. I have also written some practical steps that you can follow to maintain peace, joy and gladness in your heart.
Often our minds and hearts are disturbed by many distractions and cares of this world. They caused us to lose our joy due to our ignorance. We give too much attention to many things in life that does not matters. We also lose our focus on things that really counts. The key is this:
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34)
I have written down my thoughts in the following areas on what or how you can apply to keep yourself happy in life. Happy reading and I hope you are blessed by the end of this article:
- Guard Your Heart With All Diligence
- Risk of Discontentment
- Downfall of Pleasing Everyone
- Forgiving Others Even When They Don’t Deserve It
- Living in the Past
- Take Care of Self
- People in Your Life
Why I Wrote This
There was a time when I started to ask myself a very fundamental question. I asked myself, why are there people on this earth who are always happier than others? And all these happen when all of us are experiencing the same kind of problems in life?
What is the secret to happiness in life and how to achieve it with freedom forever? The same sunshine and rain falls upon all mankind, regardless of whether you are wealthy or poor, nor does it depend on your status in the society.
Hence, I decided that I would write an article to uncover the secret to happiness in life for myself. However, I subsequently felt that I should published it. So that perhaps there is somebody out there who may benefit from it too.
Many people have the illusion that happiness is doing or owning the things that make you happy. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Achieving happiness is more than that. Happiness is experienced also because of an absence of the things that make you unhappy!
Therefore, in my book, you will see that I tend to expound more on the things that you should stop doing because those are the happiness stealer. Interestingly, happiness is mostly robbed by the things that make us unhappy more than the things that make us happy.
If you say, oh no, I tend to be pessimistic and my mind is always full of the negative things. The good news is, it’s not permanent. You are in control of what you allow to be deposited into your hearts. You also do have the absolute power to empty those toxic that aren’t supposed to be there to begin with.
Once you do that, you will have peace and power to stay calm in the midst of storms. Even in this imperfect world that we are living in, you will remain victorious and happy. You will have the peace that surpasses all understanding.
So let’s begin this journey of uncovering what are the things that you should start to housekeep from your hearts. Be ready to fill them with the things that will bless you. See below for a book recommended for you and click here for the YouTube introduction on this book:
Guard Your Heart With All Diligence
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23
I want to begin by sharing something that I thought is the most important aspect of happiness. Nothing is more important than to guard your heart diligence from the cares and worries of this world. When you heart is right and at peace with the natural world, everything simply fall into places.
The opposite is also true, when you are constantly living in turmoil or full of unrest, even the pleasant thing would seem agitating to you. Make sure your heart’s compartments are all full of the positive things. So that your heart can be at peace, and remain with you so that you can get freedom forever.
The story was told of a person who had lost his axe. He suspected that it was his neighbor who had stolen it. Day and night, he would hide at one corner and observe his neighbor. He wanted to assess whether there was any chance that he could recover his stolen axe. The more he spent time to observe his neighbor, the more confidence he became to conclude that his neighbor had stolen his axe and have the characteristics of a thief.
One day, he found his stolen axe at one corner of his workshop. It was probably left there when he was busy working on one project recently and was too busy to keep every tool that were used. On the following day, he met his neighbor again. He exclaimed within himself silently in amazement on why his neighbor suddenly didn’t look like a thief anymore.
The moral of the story is this. When your heart is troubled, everything you see through the lens of your troubled heart is negative. But when you guard your heart and protect it, the world simply looks beautiful and awesome.
Have you ever notice that on certain days when you were angry and upset over certain things? Even the slightest things in life could agitate you? But if the same situation was to occur on other days when your spirit is high and positive, you would probably brush it off without any hard feeling. Why? That’s because when your heart is at peace and calm, nothing bothers you anymore.
The bible teaches us that “A merry heart does good, like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. (Proverbs 17:22). Once you recognize the importance of keeping your heart in perfect peace, you would want to guard it with all due diligence.
However, you may ask, how to maintain the inner peace in your inner being? There is no magic formula, but I would like to suggest just a few for you to kick start in this chapter. More will be elaborated in the rest of the chapters in the book for you to take note. So that you can empty the negative things from your compartments and fill them with the positive one instead to reach the peace you need for your heart.
Firstly, give yourself some personal time each day to be alone. It needs not be long, I would suggest that if you can afford 15 minutes would be enough. Take half an hour if you can, that will be excellent. You can do anything you want during this solitude, but I would strongly encourage that you simply do “nothing”.
Find a quiet corner and allow your busy soul to rest and calm down, think about the good things that happened on that day, think about something that you can be grateful on.
Whatever that is good, whatever that is of good virtue, let your mind dwells on such things on a daily basis. This is part of filling your compartments with the good and positive things.
There is only one prerequisite to achieve the full benefit of this. Make sure you have some spare compartments that are empty for you to use. Just like a container that is already filled with stale oil, you have to pour out the stale oil before you pour in the new one. Otherwise, the either there is no room for the new oil to be added. Or it will be contaminated by the stale oil.
Random Acts of Kindness
Next, do a good deed at least once a week or random acts of kindness. Have you noticed the beggar begging on the street which you could have blessed them with some money? Or the elderly man who needed a seat in the subway and that you could freely offer up your seats to them. It could even be as simple as giving smile to strangers who may just need that kind of encouragement due to a bad day.
It is more blessed to give than to receive. By doing so, you will notice that it brings much joy and peace into your heart. So the main beneficiary is the giver, not the recipient. Once you do that, another of your compartment is now filled with joy.
When you believe right, you will live right. Guard your heart to believe right today, and this book is highly recommended for everyone who needs to know the power of right believing.
Risk of Discontentment
“But Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” Timothy 6:6-7
Contentment in simple term is finding joy in what you already have. The opposite of contentment is greed which destroys your ability to enjoy all the blessings that you currently own. It will blind you from seeing how blessed you are already. Therefore beware of the risk of discontentment.
It is not the new toys that you have just purchased that will bring you happiness for life. True enough, you may be excited and be happy over the new gadget you’ve just purchased for a while. However, soon you will realize that the happiness brought to you by that item starts to diminish over time till it no longer excites you anymore.
The moral of this is, material things can never satisfy your soul. If you attempt to look for joy and satisfactions amongst material things, you will have to keep acquiring new one regularly to maintain that joy which is not sustainable.
Soon you would discover that you have many things that you actually don’t need. In the worst scenario, you may have to sell some of the things you need to keep the things you don’t need.
Long lasting joy and satisfaction is not about getting the latest gadgets or expensive stuff. It’s the art of being able to be contented and appreciating what you already have. To maintain the joy and happiness in your heart, learn to count your blessings in the midst of all your wants.
Convince yourself that you may not have everything that you want in life. Instead recognize that you have been blessed with all that you need. With a grateful heart and thanksgiving heart, move on with your life. Isn’t life more than food and drink or what you should dress up with?
It’s amazing that children from some underdeveloped countries have a much brighter smile than many of us in the first world countries. Why? One simple answer is that these children would produce the smile that we envy because they are perfectly contented with the little they have. They don’t need any sophisticated computer, iPad or the latest smart phone to keep them happy. The world is their playground and all that they have is all that they need.
People from developed countries often have other priorities in life resulting in unrealistic demand and emptiness. And nothing in this world can satisfy these demands. For example, some people would not be satisfied until they get the latest smart phone. They do not know that soon after they have gotten the latest one, another new model is launched in less than a year. And the wild goose chase will go on and on without an end. Just like the poor hamster running on the wheel, no matter how hard it tries, it remains at the same position.
Hence, the solution to discontentment is simply contentment, deep?
Downfall of Pleasing Everyone
In this world, there will bound to be people who will not like you no matter what you do.
Nothing is more frustrating than to know that someone is not please with. Despite all your efforts to make peace with them, they will always have something against you. They could be your relatives, colleagues or simply friends. In this section, I will talk about the downfall of pleasing everyone.
Living a life trying to please everyone will make a hell out of you. In this world, there will always be people that will never like you no matter how hard you try to please them. In fact, if you pour all your energy to please someone and is not getting any positive response, you probably had poured your energy on the wrong person. Would it be better off to invest your time and energy on another person who is more appreciative?
You also need not be apologetic to those who are not happy with you or to keep explaining yourself. In this world, it’s a sad truth that many people only choose to understand what they want to.
If people are mean to you, don’t listen to them. If they are rude, just walk away, you don’t always need to have the last word. Walking away is not a sign of weakness, instead it’s a demonstration of your strengths that you are able to subject your spirit under control. Don’t ever let the mistakes of other people rob you of your inner peace.
One of the biggest problem in the current stressed out world is that people are quick to react. There is a lack of self-control. That’s why we see more incidents of road rage, people fighting at shopping centers over trivia things etc.
Anyone can get angry and lose his temper. But not everyone can be calm and get his inner spirit man under control. You don’t have to lower yourself to the same level as the person who is rude by behaving the same way, learn to walk away when necessary.
On the other hand, the moment you have an enlightenment that you don’t have to please anyone, and you are no longer concern on what others think of you, you have arrived at another level of happiness. That is true freedom indeed! To do what you love and feel good about yourself without caring about needing the approval of other people.
The opinions of other people doesn’t define your reality. You are who you are. For those who trust in the Almighty and believe that your origin is God. Be reminded that you are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.
Stress, anxiety and even depression are inflicted on us when we are living to please everyone surrounding us. Caring too much on what others think of you will make you their prisoner. So, the choice is yours, to continue to be a prisoner of those who dislike you, or to move on with your life as a free person.
You can change the way you think today, our brain is not permanent, it can change. Dr. Caroline Leaf in her book “Switch on our brain” shares with readers the “switch” in our brains that enables us to live happier, healthier, more enjoyable lives, do purchase a copy using the link below:
Forgiving Others Even When They Don’t Deserve It
You forgive others not because they deserve it, but you do it for your own benefit rather than for the benefit of the person you forgive.
Unforgiveness is one of the main culprit for robbing you of your happiness. It’s quite sad to know that there are people who harbor resentment for an incident that happen many years ago. They continue to hold the grudges against a person even if that person had already passed on. And for many years, this unforgiveness never cease to poison and torment them. Day and night they are robbed of their happiness and peace.
The urge to hold on to unforgiveness is usually because you feel that the other party is in the wrong. You felt that you have been victimized. Instead of questioning whether the other party deserve your forgiveness. Just let it go and move on in life. Unforgiveness is like a poison that will immobilize you. It will make you feel lethargic, restless and sad. You may feel good holding on to it, but it is like a toxic that will contaminate your life.
Do you know that lots of your emotional energy is wasted by refusing to let go? You wake up each day, and you are reminded of the evil things that others had done to you. The bitterness prevented you from excelling in your careers. Therefore there is little energy left to contribute to the company. As you let it go, you release much of your emotional energy which can be used in a more productive way.
Be reminded that you forgive because you need the deliverance more than the person you want to forgive. Remember that it is for your benefit to forgive so that you are no longer under the bondage. It’s bad enough to be hurt by others once, but it’s very silly to allow that to hurt you over and over again by holding on to the grudge. It’s like allowing the enemies to strike and injure you on the same spot repeatedly. So remove the poison from your body so that you can be free to do the greater things in life.
Do you know that the person that you are resenting may not know it? They continue to eat and sleep well. But you are the poor and miserable soul who lose your appetite and deprive of your sleep by harboring the bitterness in you. In every situation, before you start to condemn or demand justice for the wrongs that others had done against you. Take a step back and ask yourself, are we so perfect that we never done any mistakes in our lives?
In the same way as we apply this principle in the world we live in today, think about this. Before we really get mad over someone who had offended us, learn to be more merciful and gracious and forgive freely. On top of that, let’s trust that God is a righteous God. Nothing escape His eyes and surely and certainly, God can vindicate us better than we can vindicate the situation ourselves.
Unforgiveness is also the root cause for many health related diseases. It may not be explained scientifically. But studies have shown that many diseases are induced by unforgiveness due to the stress and pressure of the bitterness put on the person. So for your health sake, forgive. Who is the gainer when you forgive the person who had hurt you? You may feel that it’s that person you are forgiving, but no, you are actually benefiting yourself more than the other person. You get to be happier and healthier when you’re not filled with resentment in your heart.
If you could not get over the incidents that hurt you, you can pass over it. It means that even when you are reminded of it occasionally, it has lost its power to hurt again. When you forgive, you did not just did the act of forgiving, you are making rooms in your compartment for better things to be filled.
And as you forgive, the benefits is visible almost immediately. Firstly your face will shine radiantly and you will certainly experience peacefulness which result in happiness. And for this reason, you will look younger than your physical age because your heart is full of joy and happiness. You may be old physically, but you are young at heart and healthier than many people who are much younger in age than you.
Worry and bitterness will make you weak and age faster. You can observe those people who looked much older than their actual age. If you ever get a chance to find out more from such people, they are usually grumpy and filled with lots of resentment and unforgiveness.
All these add more wrinkles to their face than people who are constantly laughing and remain cheerful. So give no place for unforgiveness in life if you want to remain young, energetic, healthy, full of joy and happiness.
Enjoy this video by Joel Osteen on “Beating Bitterness” and be blessed.
Living in the Past
There are few things in life that once it’s done, it cannot be taken back. A stone after it’s thrown, a word once it is spoken, water after it is splash on the ground.
Remember, the past is something that cannot be changed. Just like a spent bullet can never be reversed, and in the same way, hurtful words once spoken cannot be taken back. Getting upset about yourself isn’t going to help you, it only pushes you down and under and make you weak.
You can’t do much about the past, but you certainly can do something today! Whether your past is full of regrets or sweet memories, living in the past is not going to help you. Neither should you always be living in the future, day dreaming on what you want to do when you retire and forget that the most crucial time is NOW!
Once a while, you may smile and enjoy in some of the sweet memories you have of the past. That’s OK, just don’t indulge in it all the time. On the other hand, keep mourning over past mistakes or bad decisions made only allow yourself to be defined by your past. You have to take all those as lessons learnt and not meant for you to mourn over and over again. Instead, moved on and leave the past behind. Just like driving, you will never see the future by keep looking at the rear mirror.
Guilt is as fatal as unforgiveness. Unforgiveness poisoned your inner soul, while guilt creates what we know as condemnation in your heart. Guilt and condemnation make you beat yourself up constantly for the bad decision or mistakes that you’ve made. A person who is living constantly under the bondage of guilt and condemnation would have the same health issues as unforgiveness.
In additions, it immobilizes your whole being from doing anything positive and preventing you from reaching your destiny. Guilt takes away confidence from you. You lose motivation because you would constant condemn yourself as useless and good for nothing. You need to release this toxic from your body and thrust yourself forward to reach your potential in life.
Know what is beyond your ability or power to change it especially when it is a done thing. Then for goodness’s sake, let it go. Don’t be a prisoner to things you can’t change. Lift up your head and see, there are many things in life that you can pour your time and energy to.
Life is about balance. Learn to be able to let go of things that you can’t change, and focus on things that really counts. Many years from now, many of the things that you are upset or stressed over now may no longer matters anymore. Life is too short for you to dwell upon all these negative things.
We often add to our pain by being overly sensitive. And over react to non-trivial things and taking almost everything too personally. What we can do is to learn to take things a little easier. Learn to laugh even at ourselves sometimes for the little mistakes that we make, or take some sarcasms with a pinch of salt and not to take it too personally.
Life is full of ups and down, we made some mistakes as we grow. But we need to mature and learn to be a little wiser to avoid making the same mistakes again and again. The most unwanted thing to do is to allow the same past mistake to hurt you again and again. It’s silly to allow an incident that happened more than ten years ago to hurt you till today.
We can also learn from the mistakes that others committed and tell ourselves to avoid such pitfalls. Seeing what happen to others is like a lamp in the darkness for us so that we do not fall into the same trap since we have already been forewarned of such potential danger. In short, let go of things that you can’t change, especially if it is already history.
Take Care of Self
I’ve come to a realization that it’s not a selfish act to indulge in yourself.
In this section, I would like to share on this very important lesson: take care of self.
Some people take care of everyone else in the world. They include their spouse and children, their parents and grandparents, friends, colleagues and even pets like dogs and cats EXCEPT themselves. Though it may sound noble for being selfless and putting others first, but that’s a lie. You have to take good care of yourself first before you can be a blessing to others. If are empty and deprived, I wonder how you can be happily taking care of others.
The saddest thing is that you lose yourself while in the process of loving others too intensely. You may have forgotten that you need to love yourself too. Remember this, you are special too and you need to love yourself in the same way you love others.
I am not referring to buying the most expensive clothing and materials stuff for yourself all the times. That is not necessarily be a good example of taking good care of yourself. I am perfect fine and happy with a Seiko watch that I have been wearing for the last twenty years. It serves me well and I am happy with it. I am referring more to the needs of the inner man that is within you. Some call it the inner man, while someone calls it the soul.
Let us start by talking about being kind and gentle to yourself. Sometimes we are very hard and unforgiving to ourselves especially when we fail at times. We can easily forgive others when they make mistakes, but some people find it hard to forgive themselves for making mistakes. So first thing that you need to do is to be kind to yourself. Treating yourself well is not a selfish act, but it’s an act of survival.
Do you have time to do what you enjoy outside your work? Or are you always busy attending to the needs of other people and neglect helping yourself? If you are guilty of this, it’s time to take stock and allocate some time each week when you can indulge in things that you enjoy. It could be a hobby that you stopped because you are too busy. Or simply to read books on topics that you like. It may as simple as taking a scroll regularly at the garden. And allow yourself to be refreshed with the beautiful flowers and trees. Or it may be watching a movie on a regular basis.
Whatever it is, as long as it is something that you like to do. Plan time for it and do it on a regular basis. Learn to take that as a priority over the needs of other people and I am not ashamed to say that this is not being selfish.
Last but not least, take care of yourself by having a good opinion of yourself. Nothing is more devastating than you look down on yourself. Look at the mirror and say to the person you see in the mirror, “wow, you are looking good!” And in everything you do, believe that it’s the best that you can do. No need to be upset that someone else could do a better job than you. They are not in your shoe, so they would not know what you are going through.
You are already doing the best you can base on all the resources you have at that time. If you have the same resources as them such as having lots of money to acquire new skills and educations overseas, obviously you will be able to do the same tasks in a better way.
So for those people who are able to do a better job than you, probably it’s because they have the opportunity to be better trained. It does not mean that you are incompetent. Be reminded that you are one of a kind, you are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the Almighty God.
As you try your best to empty out the impurities in your compartments and refill it with all the good things. I declare that you are going to step up to a new level of peace, joy, health, prosperity and wholeness in your destiny. You have not failed yet until you failed to try. I would want to close with this quote from Bryant McGill, “The number one skill in life is not giving up.” and you may want to get a copy of his book here:
People In Your Life
Life is too short to let toxic people suck the happiness out of you. If such people want to include you in their life, they will make time and treat you with respect and importance. You don’t have to try to fight for a spot in their lives. Ask yourself this question, would the people that you are surrounded with now would still stand by you when you are at your worst? Or they will appear only when you are at your best?
There is a Chinese saying:
“One who stays near vermilion gets stained red, and one who stays near dark ink gets stained black.”
You nature will evolve with the kind of people that you regularly associate with. You may not realize it, but human nature is such that it is constantly changing and adapting to the environment it is being immersed in. And the tendency for you to be influenced and be like those you hang out with often is higher than the tendency for you to influence them. Therefore watch who you hang out with.
I would like to categorize the kind of people that we are surrounded with into 3 broad categories. I call the first group the “Controller”. The “Controller” are those people who are not interested in making your life better, but they are more interested in what you can do for them.
Having such people with you will drain your energy. They are constantly sucking up your energy to feed their hungry soul instead of replenishing yours. They hardly show any concern to your well-being nor put in any effort to motivate you. If you have to try to keep them happy, you will soon be worn out, stressed, frustrated and unhappy! Stay away from such toxic people who are out to control and manipulate you.
You must know that you need to take care of yourself. You are responsible to keep yourself happy and not the other way round, keeping all the people around you happy except yourself, that’s a very silly thing to do.
The second group is what we called as “Dragger”. By definition, you would guess that they are the people who will drag you down always instead of propelling you forward in life.
You could identify this group pretty easily. Spending time with the “Dragger” for half an hour. Instead of feeling motivated, you feel as if a hundred kilogram load of weight has been added to your shoulder. You leave with a heavy heart because they are always pouring out their complaints and sorrows to you. And they will share many pessimistic views on almost anything under the sun.
They tend to see the world as being unfair, cruel and everyone on earth owes them a living. They would complaint why the government is not doing enough to help them. Or why the neighbor’s dog is barking the whole day, or why they never get to strike lottery. The list goes on and there is always an endless list of things that they can murmur on. Similar to the “Controller”, stay away from such people if you can.
The above two groups are what I call as impurities of life that we need to remove from our lives. These groups are filling your compartments fast with anything but good. Take no thoughts if you are going to lose some friends belonging to the above categories. It’s better to have less friends, than to have many friends who poison your life and your future. These are the impurities that have no part in you in the first place.
The last group is the positive one. I would call them the “Booster”. This group of people are always ready to boost you forward in the positive direction. When you are successful, they rejoice with you instead of getting jealous. When you are down, they are there to comfort you and cheer you up. Most of the time, you feel refreshed spending time with them as they are always able to spot the good about you even on things that you did not observe about yourself.
They are like a guarding angel to you who constantly motivate and challenge you to achieve greater things in life. And when you misbehave or had done something wrong, they would not hesitate to correct you gently. So surround yourself with such people who inspires you and bring out the best in you.
You may want to take stock and identify what kind of people you are surrounded with today. Quickly remove and stay away from the “Controller” and the “Dragger” and make more friends with people who are the “Booster”. Don’t attempt to change the “Controller” or the “Thruster”, especially if they don’t even see an issue in their actions.
Sometimes in life, there are some people that you wish can be part of your inner circle of friends. Perhaps you are lamenting why the person you wish to date got married with another person. If God allows that to happen, probably that person is not good for you. Don’t go around and beat yourself with self-pity and poison your life. Instead, trust and declare that God had reserved a better one for you.
Remember one simple truth, happiness is a choice. You decide whether you want to live your life happily or continue to dwell in your current state. The secret to happiness is not complex. I hope you are blessed reading my article and determine to make yourself happy under all circumstances. May God Bless you.
Last but not least, here is a book that may be relevant to you for considerations, it’s the book by Dr. Angela Duckworth. In her instant, multi-month New York Times bestseller, Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent. But a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” “Inspiration for non-geniuses everywhere” (People).
Click HERE to see the 4 authors that I am recommending and their BOOKS. You may find something that may interest you.
Thank you and have a nice day.