Back to the Basics #5: Happiness Is Hard Work

Back to the BasicsToday we have a special guest blogger. He’s not a blogger at all, in fact. I opened the doors to all the people that I enjoy conversing with and communicating on different levels, and this article comes from SSgt Phillip Oriol from Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve known him for the better part of 9 months through my main blog and playing online together in World of Warcraft. He stepped up to the plate and hit one out of the park on this one.

Happiness Is Hard Work

Some people think happiness is a right, or that it’s somehow owed to them; well they are most certainly wrong. I was watching The Pursuit of Happyness the other night and Will Smith’s character noted Thomas Jefferson put “the pursuit of happiness,” not just happiness, in the Declaration of Independence. He (Will Smith) pondered if we could only pursue it and never truly see it.

I personally believe that happiness is something we all can achieve, but it’s not like flicking on a light switch it takes work and persistence.

Happiness is...(A quick side story)
To give you a little perspective I will tell you about a married couple I know. Their marriage was, from the outside world’s perspective, really good. They hardly ever argued and showed great affection for one another. The truth behind doors however was a lot different. His wife was a good person, but suffered greatly from depression. The husband did all he could to help his wife, for he loved her with all his heart. To no avail however, shortly after three years of marriage the wife attempted suicide and then a week later started chatting with men on the Internet and meeting them for a “friends with benefits” situation.

The wife eventually got caught and said that she just was not happy anymore and that she did not know what she wanted.

Now I tell you that story to show that, at least in this case, the wife’s core reason for finding outside stimuli was to be “happy,” but that kind of happiness is only fleeting.

This person did have to go to therapy, but still chose not to do the work involved to make her self better. Now that brings me to my first point.

Go to therapy –
I truly believe that therapy is a wonderful thing, and would say from personal experience that it’s a great help. A counselor is an objective person without a vested interest in your life that will let you vent out your frustrations in a safe place.Therapy will give you, in time, all the tools you need to fix whatever is broken inside of you. The tools however can’t do their job if you don’t put in the work. If you just sit there and vent to the counselor then just ignore their advice or instructions on what steps to take next you will never be fix your problems and therefore never start to be happy.

Take time for yourself-
I realize life tends to interrupt what we perceive as our free time so you have to make the time. Take five extra minutes in the shower in the morning, just stand/sit there and turn up the hot water a little. Let the water wash over you and just take a little imagination vacation. When you are at work take your lunch outside. Go and try to find a nearly park or at the very least a grassy shady spot. Sit down, turn off your phone, take a deep breath, and enjoy your meal. If you happen to see a playful squirrel, try to lose yourself in their silliness; watch it play and enjoy the distraction. Animals are nature’s reality show, enjoy it.

Volunteer-
I have found that if you put a smile on someone else’s face it becomes contagious. Volunteering your time is one of the best way’s to bring a little bit of happiness into your life, and will in turn bring it to someone else. When you are done with whatever you have done, don’t go around bragging about it. Let your actions be self-satisfying. Having others praise your actions will give you an ego boost for sure, but that feeling is only fleeting.

Those are just a few ways to bring a little bit of happiness in to your life, but the secret to true happiness is………WORK.
Understanding yourself takes work.
Pushing yourself to do new things takes work.
Consciously pushing yourself to slow down and understand why you do the things you do takes work.
Life takes work.

Some may say that they don’t want to “pretend” to be happy, that it’s a lie. Well, I call it practice, and if you don’t practice at being happy how will you ever get good at it?

This job of self is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding jobs one can have. If you have a good sense of self and understanding your core, it makes a great foundation for the rest of your life. Construction can’t start without a foundation. Make sure yours is strong.

  • Jerry

    Good advice!

    One of the most helpful books I have ever read is “None of These Diseases” by S. I. McMillen, MD. It focuses on physical disease, but with a strong emphasis on the mental and emotional causes for many of our common ailments.

    It’s amazing how closely linked our emotional and physical health are.

  • Jerry

    Good advice!

    One of the most helpful books I have ever read is “None of These Diseases” by S. I. McMillen, MD. It focuses on physical disease, but with a strong emphasis on the mental and emotional causes for many of our common ailments.

    It’s amazing how closely linked our emotional and physical health are.

  • http://www.perfectlypetersen.com Perfectly Me

    No kidding. I put on a very healthy 20 pounds after we got married. It was the best thing I’ve ever done for my health… someone must have been happy… scratch that… someone is happy.

  • http://www.perfectlypetersen.com Perfectly Me

    No kidding. I put on a very healthy 20 pounds after we got married. It was the best thing I’ve ever done for my health… someone must have been happy… scratch that… someone is happy.

  • Oscar

    Great advise and good point of view. I think I’ve practiced enough.

  • Oscar

    Great advise and good point of view. I think I’ve practiced enough.