It’s easier to be unhappy in today’s society, so what is the key to happiness?

I am definitely the happiest that I have ever been in my life, despite not much out of the ordinary happening to cause my happiness.

If anything, life has had its difficulties over the past year. I’m not going to sit here and list my personal life (but just to clarify, it hasn’t been horrific an it has actually had some amazing parts too), but to put things into perspective for you guys, according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress scale (explanation of this can be found here: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTCS_82.htm), my stress score is 476/600. I could easily be unhappy and mentally stressed, but, although I do have my down moments (I am only human with the added feature of being female after all), I am happy and the most mentally relaxed I have ever been.

The reason why I’m so happy? It’s because I make the effort to be so. Okay, so that makes it sound like I’m forcing myself to be happy, right? Wrong. It’s just that I live in a society where we allow negative things to dominate our brains and forget to focus on the good in our lives. I don’t know if we’re psychology programed to let bad emotions and negative vibes dominate our thoughts, it’s something that I will further research and then maybe do a follow-up post or edit this one, but it’s what everybody seems to do. There could be 100 things to be happy about but people let one bad thing overshadow every single one of them. I’m no different, this has been the way I have functioned for many years. It’s the way a lot of the youth I know think today and because of it my generation is becoming an extremely unhappy group of people to the extent that this unhappiness is developing into depression.

So what I mean by making an effort to be happy? Well, despite the fact it seems impossible to a lot of people out there, it’s actually quite simple. I focus on what is good in my life and remember that for every negative life event, there is always going to be a positive one happening alongside it. I was reading a book on psychology tonight and I came across the finding by a psychologist named Wolpe that a human is not able to experience two contradictory states of emotions at the same time. It is just not possible. An example used in the book is that you cannot feel anxiety and be totally relaxed at the same time. This goes for everything. So when given the choice to let negative emotions or positive emotions take over my brain, I nearly always choose the positive. This is effort because I’ve spent my life letting negative feelings be the dominant ones in my brain, so it does take work to eliminate them.

Another reason why I am happy is because I don’t see negative life events as setbacks anymore. They are experiences from which I grow, and nearly every one of them has a silver lining.

But despite making the effort to be happy, sometimes, negative emotions do take over. I realise that this is because they need to be sometimes be felt. Pushing bad feelings away and not dealing with things is a dangerous thing to do because it’ll burst out of that psychological cupboard that you’ve hidden it in when you least expect it. I don’t live in a permanent bubble of happiness, I let that bubble pop when it needs to. I give myself the day to be as miserable as I need to be, I feel the hurt and pain and stress, but then I get into bed at the end of the day with the mindset that tomorrow is a new day. I leave any negative vibes in the past and stay present when I wake up the next day.

The last reason for my happiness is the fact I’ve let, for the most part, go of waiting for external factors to make me happy. Don’t get me wrong, my mood can be altered by external factors, but I do not depend on them to determine my happiness. You’re never truly satisfied if you depend your happiness on external factors because nothing lasts forever. You end up wanting parts of your past back but at the same time you wish for the future to come and hope something will come along and make your life seem better. The present moment is never enough. Therefore, you’re never happy. I literally just go with the flow. The future is uncertain and the past has disappeared so it’s pointless dwelling on either of them, and if I were to rely on external things to make me happy, I would never be happy. The present moment is all that we’ve got. This life is an illusion. You don’t get a say in everything that happens in this world, but you get a choice in how you deal with it.

So, the reason why being unhappy is easier? Because all it takes to be unhappy is to let things bring you down and not fight it. Fighting it is hard, so hard, but also so worth it. Happiness isn’t always easy in a such a negatively formed world who is forever craving more, but it’s hard to not be happy when you’ve found the key to happiness.

(I am not referring to depression at all when I speak of unhappiness. I am aware of the fact that depression is a mental illness that can be caused by factors pretty much beyond your control. Depression isn’t a choice, I want to make it clear that I am a firm believer of that and that it is totally irrelevant to this post)

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“Dying is just a part of life”

Everyone is on a different life journey. Different things happen to different people at different times. Some babies walk sooner than others, some talk before others, some grasp the concept of using the toilet before others etc. Children reach puberty at different times etc. Some people stop growing before others. People will have their first kiss, lose their virginity, get married, have children etc at different times of their lives. No one gets surprised at this. May dying is just another thing that will happen at different times of our lives. People pin an age on death. They say people are too young to die when people die “prematurely”. But are they really? Or is this just another part of life that happens at different times for different people? I just finished watching My Sister’s Keeper, and at the end, a character says something along the lines of “why did she have to die while the rest of us get to live?”, but, what she doesn’t realise is, that everyone will pass away eventually. Yes, seeing young people die and not getting to be here for long in a physical sense is awful. My heart breaks for anyone who has lost someone young close to them, because you can be the firmest believer of everything happens for a reason but it still would be a horrific thing to have to deal with. But, is it that some souls want to be free of their physical being sooner than others?  I feel like I may be being insensitive by writing this post, and I apologise if any offence is caused, I’m not very good with words at times and I’m struggling to get my point across. But after all, in the words of Forrest Gump’s momma, “dying is just a part of life”.

We don’t have a true image.

Everything is perception. Not one single thing looks exactly the same to anyone because we perceive things differently. I hate to use this as an example, but take the black and blue/white and gold dress for example. Everyone saw different colours in that dress.

Yes, we do see things the same to a certain extent. (Well nearly) Everyone can distinguish colour, shape, size etc. But, everyone perceives them differently. Different people like different colours for example. No one’s brain works in the exact same way. I think that there must be a link between perception and preferences, but I don’t know the logic of what creates our personal preferences to expand on this point.

Basically, we don’t look exactly the same to anyone. Nobody on this earth sees us exactly the same as we see ourselves, not even our family members. We look different in the eyes of our fathers to the eyes of our mothers because their perception is different. Different brains also picks up on different details.

So when you think you’re unattractive to others, don’t. You don’t know what they’re seeing. You only know your own perception.

We don’t have one set true image.

Age is just a number.

A cliché phrase, right? But honestly it is true.

As part of my university degree, I have had the opportunity to meet an exchange student from South Korea and tutor her in English. I asked her to write me a short piece of writing on South Korea, and one of the many facts she included was this:

In Korea, we count a child right after he or she is born as a one-year-old child. So, the way we count our age will be slightly different. Though I am 20 years old here, I am 22 back in my country.

Surely this goes to show that you cannot truly judge someone based on their age? My student is 22 and I am 20, but we were both born in 1994.

She also made an interesting statement to me when talking about the education system:

Just because you’re 16 years old, it doesn’t mean that you’ve lived 16 years of your life. Age is just a number.

Now although I don’t believe she meant anything deep by that, I think that she is totally right.

It’s the same with time and dates. Time doesn’t really mean anything. We’ve just created it to add structure to our lives. The Chinese have a different calender to me, which goes to show that time is created by us. People place too much importance on dates, times and age. Yes, they are brilliant for creating order, and are definitely needed in life, but people have taken what was a good idea and have let it restrict them in so many ways. They’re almost trapped by it. 

A person I have had the privilege of getting to really know in my life has always joked that he was born 22. He’s only 19 now. But this person has a greater understanding on the world than a lot of adults. A lot of people die without making the realisations that he made at a young age. I don’t know for definite, and I’m not sure he truly knows it himself, but there’s definitely a reason why he says he was born 22.

I don’t know what happens when our physical beings die, I’m not sure about whether I believe that our spirit existed before our physical beings were born. But if they did, then you can’t judge someone based on for how long their physical being has existed.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this post, I currently can’t collect my thoughts in a way that can be expressed through writing, so I’ll just leave it here for now.

Living in the now is easy yet difficult.

Although I can’t say I am constantly in the now, I am able to recognise when I slip back into the realm of psychological time, take a step back, and release myself from it again. I have found that it has been happening a lot recently. I always trap any emotional pain, fear and anxiety the minute I start to feel it, and remove it from within me. After all, I create and am in control of my reality, and emotional pain, fear and anxiety are pointless.
My main struggle at the moment is living in this way but being surrounded by a society that doesn’t understand. I feel harsh for even thinking like this, but hearing people being so absorbed in external factors that are beyond their control, or living in an inpatient and anxious manner is difficult to deal with. I try and tell people that it is pointless worrying about what has happened in the past, or stressing over what may happen in the future. I understand how they’re feeling, because until recently, I used to be the same. I also am aware that people need to make these deep realisations for themselves. Who’s going to listen to a 20 year old French major at the end of the day? 20 is a young age. Nobody takes young people seriously. But it’s hard. I just want to be able to ask people questions, learn from them. Increase my understanding of philosophy and spirituality. Books help, the Internet helps. But neither of those things talk back. I want to be able to express my thoughts, and hear the views of somebody on the same wavelength as me, somebody who understands.
Part of me wishes I had never come to these realisations, that I was still caught up in the realms of psychological time. I feel too young to have made these realisations about the world. This is why living in the now is difficult.

Is it possible to truly love more than one person?

I have recently separated from my long-term partner. I am accepting of the fact we both need to follow our own paths and live our own lives, and I have emotionally let go of the relationship. I still and always will love him. I wonder now though, will it ever be possible for me to love anyone else like that? I want a husband, a family, to pass my soul onto others in the form of reproduction, but I wanted it to be with him. People cannot be replaced. I cannot have the same relationship with anyone else, in the same way that I cannot replace any other friend in my life. I cannot do the same things for fun with anyone else. There will always be things that I want him there to experience. It’s the same with all of the people in my life, I couldn’t imagine doing certain things and not being able to tell specific people about them. Will it be possible to find someone else that I want to watch grow and develop in the same way that I’ve wanted to with him? Realistically, no. There was a spiritual connection between us like no other. Can you have strong spiritual connections with more than one person? Is it possible to be in love with more than one person? I’m not interested in finding anyone right now, I am not looking. At this moment in life, I need to be on my own path, by myself, and am happy with that. I do not fear never finding anyone. Fearing will take me away from the now and will mean that I’m dwelling on things which aren’t definite and I would not be living my life. This is just general curiosity. Based on the society around me, the answer is yes, of course it is possible. I see people have multiple partners throughout their lives and be happy and in love with all of them.

While writing and reflecting on this, I may have answered my own original question. People come into your life at different times for different reasons, which is why having multiple partners is possible. But now a new question has arisen to me: does romantic love really exist? I have had sexual encounters with more than one person, and there is only one person that I have felt spiritually connected to. For that reason, I want to say yes. But can that connection be felt with more than one person?

I suppose I’ll just have to live my life and find out for myself. There is no way of truly knowing without experiencing it for myself.

Drifting apart

Why is it that people in romantic relationships cannot drift apart from time to time? Friends and family members drift apart all of the time. Everyone has their own path to follow and their own lives to live. Why is it that if this happens in a romantic relationship, that it must come to an end forever? I’d never cut a friend out of my life just because we’re in complete different places. I wish people viewed relationships in the same way. The spiritual connection and love you feel for that person should be strong enough for you to be able to let go of  them from time to time. There would be a lot less heartbroken people in this world if romantic relationships were treated and viewed in the same manner as any other relationship.