Two Foundations Needed for Happiness
Everything is so easily obtained this day in age. We can shop online for anything, even groceries and toilet paper. If we feel a pang of loneliness, we can hop on Tinder and find a companion for the evening. If we want it, we can have it. Except for one thing: happiness. We don’t have a quick access button here; it’s not a material item to fill the many voids we have. Joy comes from within and is a constant effort to maintain. I often see unhappy people attempting to fill their empty hearts with material items or continuous entertainment. They’re unsure why they feel the need to buy another pair of shoes when they already have a closet full, or pressure to go, go, go to avoid the lulls in the day. They aren’t content with their lives, but instead of looking inward, they continue their hurried, instant gratification lifestyle. If any of this is relatable, take a moment to close your eyes. Let’s ask ourselves: Am I happy? Do I have meaning and purpose in my life? Is there emptiness I try to fill but never feel fulfilled? Slow down and think about this.
There are several ingredients needed to build a happy life, so let’s start with two of the basic foundations:
1. Get comfortable being alone.
Spending time alone will help each of us realize who we are. It gives us time to understand what our values are and how we want to spend our time. The next step is accepting ourselves as is. Be kind, honest, and genuine; we need to treat ourselves as we would our best friend. I often spend my alone time in silence. I hear my thoughts easier this way, without distraction. I let my mind wander wherever it pleases. When my thoughts slow down, I take each one and touch base with myself on it. Our brains move a mile a minute every day, and most of the time we push the thoughts aside because we don’t have time for it. Making time for ourselves and our inner, most private thoughts, is a start towards honoring ourselves. We deserve our own time and attention. How are we supposed to be happy when we don’t have time for ourselves, let alone our thoughts.
A few months ago I felt pressed for time. I wanted to do more in my day but felt like there weren’t enough hours to do everything. My main priority was to do three yoga classes a week, but I didn’t have time for even one. In my quiet mind, I went through my day, strategizing where to find time for my yoga practice. I decided the time spent on my phone, trying to answer all my group texts, responding to tags on social media, and getting lost in the never-ending scrolling we are all so familiar with, I would take myself off of social media. It wasn’t adding value to my life anymore, and since we only have 24 hours in a day, I had to cut somewhere. Since then, I have also turned my phone to “do not disturb.” Now, I look at my phone when I have time in a conscious matter.
Okay, we have set aside time for ourselves every day, and take action to our wants and needs. At first, it’s going to be little things, like looking for ways to have more time in our day, or zeroing in on our priorities. After we master this foundation, we find new things we want to work towards Maybe it’s diet and exercise, or finding ways to save money. Our internal need for evolving will never end, which is why it’s so important to give ourselves the “silent treatment” on a daily basis. Starting with the small things, strategizing, and learning how to live a more meaningful life with the basics is the path to living the life we’ve always dreamt. We hold the key; we just need to unlock it.