What does it take to genuinely be happy?
A lot of people feel that happiness is a destination, but miss out on the fact that it’s a journey. Every single day we have a choice to make. Almost like being on a river where as you meander down, something beautiful pops up on one side and something negative on the other; and these polar opposites switch sides at any moment so we need to be vigilant and change our focus. Otherwise at any particular moment we may miss the beauty that exists around us.
As a youngster I found myself sitting at the Aramis counter with nothing to do. The store had just started extended opening hours until 7pm Monday to Thursdays. There were minimal customers this Tuesday evening. I sat quietly at our counter with thoughts buzzing my head. So I grabbed one of the dockets we used to print receipts on and started writing.
I’d like to share my thoughts I wrote about happiness and enjoying life with you:
- Take pleasure in life’s little gifts. Warm and comforting smiles of those around you; some of the most magnificent sunsets the world has to offer.
- Don’t underestimate the power of your thoughts.
- Be gracious in defeat and humble in victory.
- Cherish laughter – especially with family.
- Whenever you look in the mirror – SMILE! That’s the best friend you will ever have.
- You never stop learning so don’t stop teaching.
- To look good, you have to feel good. To feel good you have to be great!
- Enjoy little moments with friends and family and sometimes even with a stranger – these little moments are chocolates for the soul.
- Keep sacred places sacred and places to relax relaxing.
- Take note of what colours keep you warm inside.
- Things that are personal to you – never let anyone outside interfere, for example your house. Decorate it as you see fit, not how others do.
- Be generous and you will receive it back three fold. Be miserly and you will end up alone.
- Remember: wealth, love, good news and joy are nothing without somebody to share it with.
- Companionship is the foundation for personal growth, to realise your faults and have the courage to challenge them.
- Some of the most difficult things in your life will turn out to be your nicest.
- Hardships last as long as you allow them, prosperity is forever.
- Acknowledgement is for the weak people, true doers do it for self-fulfilment.
- The best feeling in the world is to hear somebody laugh because of you.
- Everybody makes mistakes – not everybody learns from them. Learn to forgive, the quicker you forgive the lighter your soul. Negative emotions clutter the soul and prevent our true selves to shine and give warmth to others.
- Always make the most of what you have – even disabilities give you an advantage, you appreciate what you otherwise would have taken for granted.
- Being deaf in my left ear means I’m so thankful that I can hear in my right ear. This leads me to having ‘Andrew moments’ – moments in which I can stop and go ‘Thank God I can hear in my right ear!’
- Never forget where you come from and who helped you along the way – who listened when you were in need of it, who gave you advice, guidance – a choice. Was charitable in times of need.
- You always enjoy life when you’re in a good mood – so choose to be happy every morning when you wake up and start the day off with a bang – usually a smile.
- Sometimes in order to be strong you have to be weak, to be happy you have to hurt.
- Remember – bad experiences always make us appreciate the good ones even more when they come along.
- Life isn’t always fair, accept that.
- You can never lie to yourself – you can try fooling yourself into believing something – but eventually you’ll have to face up to the truth.
- Listen to your guardian angel
- Take note of what people around you experience and try applying it to yourself.
- Be kind to yourself and every now and then spoil yourself, you’re allowed to.
- You can never tell somebody you love them too many times – just don’t let it become redundant. Don’t ever say it just to hear it back; say it because you mean it.
- Talk about your problems, a problem shared is a problem halved.
- Remember, some secrets are best kept to yourself – not everything about you needs to be known by others. Keep some parts of yourself private and to yourself.
Have you ever taken the time to sit down with yourself and think about what happiness means to you?
I was 22 when I wrote this and still relatively untainted by the realities of adulthood. I look back on this list now as a marker of how I’ve lived up to my own ideals; that poured out of me as though a tap had been turned on in my mind that wonderful day.
It was probably the first seed planted in my mind about writing too.
Why not pour your favourite glass of wine or get a cup of coffee – and take some time out to write down your own list.
Well – just enjoy your boat ride every day and use your list to make sure you see the beauty around you.
No matter which side of the river it pops up.