We’re often taught that the more we contribute to making other's lives happier and easier, the more they will return to us, right? Sadly, this is not always the case.
As humans, we sometimes get sucked into the idea that if we can make others happy, then we, ourselves, will be happy. However, it's really important that our own health and happiness is cared for first before we turn to take care of others. This may sound a bit selfish, but the truth of the matter is that you’re going to be way better at helping others when you’re genuinely happy yourself. It’s like when they announce on an airplane that you should put your own oxygen mask on first if something goes wrong before turning to help children or other people put on their own mask. Happiness is like air, and if we’re unable to breathe on our own first, our efforts to help others won't last very long. In fact, we may end up resentful that we aren’t receiving all the good that we’re putting out into the world.
So how does someone start to care about their own health and happiness? Here are five pieces of simple advice that I try to follow on a daily basis:
1. Wake up every morning and think of one to three things you love about yourself. Try to choose something that is beyond physical appearance (although hey, some days we just have to give ourselves some credit for looking good!).
2. Choose a hobby and continuously set goals. As humans, we are naturally going to feel more positive and happy if we feel accomplished. Think of the last time you told yourself you were going to accomplish something and how it felt to finally achieve that goal. Felt pretty good, right?!
3. Don’t take things TOO personally. I realize this is easier said than done. Most of the time, people are not trying to offend you. Perhaps someone’s words strike a chord with a deep insecurity that we have and we react more sensitively than we normally would. That’s ok. But remember, the faster we can let these things roll off of our shoulders, the better.
4. Accept the traits you consider to be “flaws." For example, I am an extremely emotional person and I tend to wear every emotion on my sleeve. Sometimes I find this incredibly silly about myself and I wish that I didn’t tear up every time (*SPOILER ALERT*) Mufasa dies in Lion King, but that is something that is unique and beautiful about me. My emotional nature enables me to make this world a softer, more loving place.
5. Control the controllable. When something negative happens, ask yourself if you can control it. Actually ask yourself, “Can I change the situation?” If the answer is no, I encourage you to try and change your attitude about the situation through whatever means works for you (prayer, meditation, etc.).
While I hope some of my thoughts resonated with you, these tips won’t magically bring you happiness overnight. However, if you think of them on a daily (perhaps even a weekly) basis, I truly believe you will be well on your way to being a healthier and happier you.
SELFiD Member of the Board