When we build our lives, we repeat patterns drawn by others, as if by doing so, we are immediately happy, but is this really the case? Cultural and social pressure has led us to believe that stability is found in the ordinary and that it will help us achieve our well-being.
Several studies on happiness have shown that being with people who are positive, grateful, enthusiastic and who carry out unusual activities infects us with this well-being. Doing things out of the ordinary gives us a special energy, which allows us to see life in a more comforting way or discover activities that we did not know and in which we are adept.
The most coveted treasure of our times is happiness, but perhaps we are wrong in the way we seek it. Copying and repeating the goals of others without even thinking about how they would fit into our life can lead to frustration several times.
Do you live to be happy?
Paradoxically, further unhappiness can occur with happiness. A study by June Gruber, a professor of psychology at Yale University, suggests that constantly looking for how to be happy can generate anguish. This happens when those who seek happiness do so thinking that everything that is suggested to be done to achieve it is appropriate to them and that, therefore, must lead them to that goal. It also happens when, after outlining a strategy, the first steps don’t involve big progress.
More than being happy, therefore, we must try to be genuine. Genuine people, by definition, enjoy good self-esteem. The originality is real and the authenticity is reliable, so we must stop for a while to transit in common paths and trace our own. At the beginning it will be difficult, then it will be easier because everything we see beyond will be related to us. In this way, we will find ourselves in every memory that will resurface in us.
In a 2008 study published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, British researchers examined personalities who believed in living genuinely. They found that people who express a high sense of authenticity also maintain higher levels of self-esteem and well-being.
Authentic people not only take the time to reflect on their own life perspectives and experiences that make them happy, but they also share them with others. Most, moreover, do so with the fragrance of cheerfulness that sprinkles the defense of a personal, unique and representative work.
If you want to be happy, be uncommon
Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, a Harvard University lecturer and expert in Positive Psychology, argues that happiness can be learned. Learned the same way you learn to ski or play tennis: with technique and practice. Among his main tips for being happy are uncommon strategies for achieving well-being.
Among these, celebrating failures is one of the most important. Few people celebrate their failures, conversely we get discouraged when we do something wrong. Dr. Ben-Shahar says that by accepting negative emotions, we will be able to open ourselves to positivity and cheerfulness. Not knowing how to forgive oneself, therefore, relates to the presence of disorders such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.
Another common fact in our society that takes us away from happiness has to do with the confusion between wealth and money. Many people want the former, but take their time to get the latter, ignoring that happiness depends on our state of mind, not our checking account.
Image courtesy of Mariana Kalacheva