CREATING UNSHAKABLE HAPPINESS

Everyone wants to be happy.

Well, most people I’ve met want to be happy. I won’t say everyone because I am sure that there are certain people out there who want to be sad and hey, if they are happy being sad, then let them be sad… and be happy about it.
If you are happy to be sad, then are you sad or happy? My brain hurts.

For those of us who want to be happy, it can seem like an impossible goal at times.

Someone new comes into your life and you are ecstatic. You get a new car and you take any excuse to go for a ride because you love it. Maybe you even earned a promotion and everything is looking up in life!

But then that person ends up hurting you, that car costs more in insurance, and that promotion has a lot more work with only a minor increase in pay.

How can we be happy when there is always a good and a bad side to every situation we encounter?

Happiness must come from within.

If your happiness comes from anywhere but inside yourself, it can be taken away.

I’m not saying that you should never allow yourself to feel happy because of the people and things around you, I’m just saying that you should strive to achieve a baseline happiness that comes from within yourself.

That way when things go wrong in life—which they will, often—you will be able to take it in stride and learn from it, without it destroying your happiness.

If you want to develop a baseline happiness that emanates from within yourself, like anything else, it will take conscious effort. The most important step you can take towards this goal is to understand what we generally attach our happiness to.

The person (relationships), the car (material objects), and the promotion (goals).

The Person: Relationships.

I’ll let you in on a secret, I have a bit of a crush on someone.

For the past year I have consciously avoided girls because I have wanted to focus on my dreams. From the ages of fifteen to twenty two I never spent much time out of relationships.

I thought that having someone special in my life was integral to my happiness. The problem with thinking that anything outside of yourself is integral to your happiness is that the outside object is bound to fluctuate, and cause your happiness to fluctuate with it.

Every time my significant other would be distant, or things wouldn’t be working out exactly as I wanted, I would spiral downward. It would ruin my mood for days at a time.

Now I have a crush on someone and when things don’t go exactly as I want, I can feel the negativity knocking on my mental door.
Though this time, it is different.

Now I have learned that you can and should allow the people in your life to give you those amazing happy feelings, but you should never base your happiness on those people.

Take in the positive, but when you feel the negativity creeping in, remember that you are enough of a reason to be happy. No person can affect your baseline happiness if it emanates from within you.

The Car: Material Objects.

How many people think they would be happy if they only had all of the material things they want in life.

A new car, a new house and some diamonds sure do sound like they would make you happy! The truth is, that is just not the case.

You’ve heard a millions times that the richest people on the planet can often be the most depressed, and that the poorest can often be the happiest. If that is true, then how can material objects be the key to happiness?

The problem with material objects is that once you have them, the happiness will wear off over time.

When you first get that new flashy car, you will love driving it. You’ll jump at any opportunity to take it out for a spin just so you can show it off.

But humans aren’t thermometers. If you put a thermometer into cold water, it will read the water’s exact temperature no matter how long you leave it there. Move it to warmer water and it will indicate the exact temperature there as well.

Now, if you stick your hand in cold water and then warm water, the warm water will feel piping hot because you just had your hand in cold water. But leave your hand in that warm water for long enough and it will feel normal.

What am I trying to say here? Humans are sensitive to novelty and change, but novelty wears off in time and because the norm.

You had a crappy car and then bought a great car, awesome!

But a year after your purchase while you’re stuck in traffic, you won’t be thinking about your amazing car. The novelty will be gone and you will feel the same as if you were stuck in traffic in your old car.

The same principal applies to all material possessions. They will feel piping hot at first, but eventually they will be the norm and the novelty will be gone.

The Promotion: Goals.

This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way.

When Leroy and I started our blogs the world didn’t bat an eye. No one cared.
But we were happy.

Then eventually we started getting a like or two. From then on, if we didn’t get any likes on our content we would feel like failures.

Then we started reaching some of our goals like getting two hundred views on a post, after that anything less was a disappointment.

The problem with basing your happiness on reaching your goals is that every time you reach a goal, you want to reach further, and again, you aren’t happy unless you do.
And once you do, your expectations are raised again!

You can’t win a race if the finish line keeps moving, and you can’t base your happiness on your goals if your goals always grow.

Again, I’m not saying that you can’t allow yourself to be happy because you have someone new in your life, you got a new toy, or you reached a long sought after goal. I’m just saying that you should never base your happiness on these factors.

I encourage you to cultivate a sense of inner happiness that relies on no outside factors.

Allow happiness to come from outside but when negativity tries to enter, remember that your happiness is based in yourself, not on anything else.

 Be happy because you deserve to be happy, regardless of outside circumstances.

With love,
Steven Farquharson, 2HelpfulGuys 

The Power of Thoughts

“I, Leroy Milton, will be present, enthusiastic and inspiring.”

Is something I started saying twice a day, about six months ago, habitually. This is a reassurance of my character, to keep it in my conscious thoughts everyday.

It’s called an affirmation. It has helped me strive toward this challenge, constantly focusing on the now, being increasingly excited and bold.

What are Affirmations?

The Secret originally proposed this idea. Through your thoughts and conscious attention on those thoughts, the universe grants your imagined outcomes.

Apparently, people have won the lottery, married their dream spouse and lived in their dream houses through this mystical method. So I had to try it for myself.

They worked a few times, but sometimes they failed. I couldn’t understand why. How does the universe differentiate between my requests? Is it even the universe divinely granting something? Or, maybe God?

I am increasingly skeptical of this ‘ask and you shall receive’ mentality. It doesn’t seem logical that you can ask the universe or God of anything and it is magically arranged.

However, I still do it and it has worked.

Why the skepticism?

I don’t think it is some divine power that grants your request. I think you are in complete control of your thoughts and you determine the outcome.

My constant reminder to be present has brought me back when my thoughts stray into the past or the distant future. My constant reminder to be enthusiastic has pushed me to be my best, most excited self. My constant reminder to be inspiring has allowed me to approach every situation with an inspiring message.

I feel like through my thoughts, great and powerful outcomes can come to fruition.

However, I cannot discount peoples’ thoughts on spirituality and religion. Instead, I propose this view. When you pray or ask God or the universe, I feel like your ‘desire’ is not granted. Instead, opportunities for that desire are granted.

Situations arise that help you reach your goal. You may find yourself doing a free photography job, only to have your work discovered for a huge contract. Or, a girl may randomly approach you, and it’s up to you to make a connection. These situations challenge you to act a specific way, where your outcomes may be granted.

I was put into situations where I needed to stay present, where I needed to be enthusiastic, where I needed to be inspiring. Through these situations, I slowly added more power, more feeling and more positivity to myself.

There is a lot of power in personal thoughts. Had it not be for my positive affirmations, would I have confronted these situations the same way? The affirmation allowed me to approach each situation very uniquely.

Steven wrote an article on mastering your thoughts. You can take a look at it for tips. I implore everyone to use positive thoughts, focus your energy and through them, you will approach every situation differently and obtain something great along the way.

Be bold, be free, and love on.

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Pour Out Your Soul, Fill The Void

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been depressed in the past. I’ve looked in the mirror without being able to understand the person looking back at me.

What do you want? What makes you happy? Why do you feel this void inside regardless of how things appear on the outside?

During these slumps I spent most of my time sleeping, eating out of boredom, devouring whole seasons of shows and consuming whatever I could to satisfy the feeling, or lack there of, inside me.
I felt unfulfilled and useless.

I still feel this way sometimes but I’ve learned how to push through it with one simple question that I ask myself every morning.

Do I want to be a consumer, or a producer?

Logically, if you feel an emptiness inside you, you are missing something that will make you feel complete again. I learned that this isn’t the case.

Instead of taking things in I started to pour everything out of myself. I poured out my heart, my emotions, my soul into my writing. It made me feel something that I hadn’t felt in a long time…

Producing pride.

Downward spirals and never ending consumption will lead to guilt. It’s a cycle. You’re empty so you try to distract or satisfy yourself with movies, video games or food but it doesn’t change anything and the more you consume, the more guilty and empty you feel.

Pouring out what you have left in you into something, anything, can make you proud again. You have something to look forward to instead of just passing the time.

It doesn’t have to be art.

You can start a business, volunteer to help build homes for people or even just create deeper connections with the people around you. As long as you are producing something that allows you to look forward and feel like you are useful.

Think of anything you can put into the world today and start on it. Happiness is more about where you are going than where you are now.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to take things in.

You just have to find a balance. Someone who spends all day being creative and working is bound to burn out eventually. That can be just as bad.

I feel that most people are unbalanced right now. As a society we have lost a lot of creativity and self-esteem. We think that we don’t have anything of value to add to the world, but imagine if people tried to live up to their full potential.

Imagine if they stopped trying to fill the void with material possessions, or distract themselves from it with movies, games and Facebook.

Writing in this blog and creating deeper connections with the people around me has helped me so much. I feel like I have something to offer the world again and although I go into slumps sometimes, I can pull myself out much quicker.

Maybe the void is meant to push you forward. I don’t know if I will ever be completely happy, but if I was, would I continue to push on?

I’ll probably never have to find out because the void is a part of me, and for now, I’ll pour out my soul from it.

With love,
Steven Farquharson, 2HelpfulGuys

The Dark Cave

I wouldn’t consider my job the greatest in the world, but it’s decent. I have lots of free time and I’m able to pretty much govern myself.

I’m a operations coordinator. I oversee peoples’ parties, make sure things go smoothly and clean up. Pretty much, I’m a glorified janitor.

Hmm, doesn’t sound as glamorous as ‘operations coordinator.’

People book party rooms for all sorts of happy events: Birthdays, weddings, baby showers and retirements (are retirements happy?). These are all pinnacle moments in peoples’ lives.

Ideally, the hosts should be ecstatic to be celebrating with their family and friends.

Instead, I see the opposite. I see grumpy, anxious hosts enter, spewing a flurry of curse words like some sort of pirate.

But wait; isn’t this supposed to be a happy occasion?

It seems to me, the hosts forgot what they’re celebrating. They choose to be miserable because something wasn’t set up properly.

These little problems ruin their entire occasion. They are forever flustered about everything.

They’re trapped in this dark cave from which everyone eventually emerges.

I’m reminded of the last time I let little things bother me. It sucked. I was flustered and anxious. It was pitch black in my cave. I didn’t know how to deal with everything.

Little problems are just that…

Little. When you make small things into big things, you forget about the important things. You forget to enjoy the present moment. You stop looking for laughter and enjoyment and focus on that insignificant issue of a table being set up wrong.

They Ruin You

Like an apple left out to oxidize, you slowly start to turn. You steer your attention towards more insignificant problems. This process is gradual. All these little problems compile.

They add up, brown. Before you know it, like the gradual process of the apple, you’re spoiled, core out.

Choose Freedom

When in doubt, shrug it off. Don’t let these little problems affect you. When you let it get to you, your life gets affected.

You won’t be able to think and act properly. You start giving in to your vices. You may chomp on your nails. You may smoke or drink. You may want to punch a wall or hurt yourself, or worse, someone else.

These things will weigh on you, like you’re carrying a hundred-pound sandbag. If you let it affect you, you’ll be forever weighted and hindered.

To Learn or Not to Learn 

I like to think of these problems as miniature hurdles, each trying to teach you a little something as you jump them. These problems are a test for you to overcome, to help you progress, to make you stronger.

If you don’t learn from your problems, you’re bound to repeat it. There will only be darkness.

Here lies the pinnacle choice. Do you squander your time complaining and getting angry or do you utilize this moment and seek a way to make your life better.

Every single situation has a good and a bad. What do you choose to focus on? Who will you be after you come through that dark cave?

Be bold, be free, and love on.

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Thanksgiving Celebrations

I woke this morning to a rather pleasant surprise. This blog almost has a THOUSAND followers. That’s huge. Almost a thousand people are reading my work. I am honored and incredibly thankful.

Today is also the national Canadian day of thanks. Tonight, people will be sitting down at their long dining table with their extended family, using the coveted silverware.

Not me.

Thanksgiving has never been a big event for me. Then again, no holiday has ever been a big event in my house. Everything just gets swept under the rug.

One reason: My family is broken.

So today, there will be no turkey carving ceremonies. No grandiose meals, filled with laughter. No drunken uncle bumbling around telling corny jokes. And, worst of all, no thanks.

I’ve learned to improvise. I don’t need a special day for thanks. You don’t need one either. For some reason, we see Thanksgiving as the only day to be thankful. What about the other 364 days?

For me, I’m thankful every single day. I’m thankful for my life, my body, and the world. I’m thankful for my friends and (little) family. I’m thankful to be in Canada where the biggest problems are tax-season and figuring out what to wear in the morning.

Most people can’t say the same. Most people don’t have what we have.

I am fortunate enough to be typing this on a computer in the quiet. I am fortunate enough to have the Internet to post this and read all your wonderful comments. You are fortunate enough to be reading this, on your computer, using your Internet.

There is so much to be thankful for everyday, that one day doesn’t seem to do justice.

The ‘Be Grateful’ List

Everyday, starting today, write down things that you are grateful for. Contemplate and dig. Search for everything. There are so many things that we take for granted.

If you start to struggle, dig deeper. It’s there. Something. There is always something. Struggling is good. When you find something to be grateful for, you will appreciate it much more.

On my particularly crappy days, writing this list helps. I feel rejuvenated. No matter how bad things may be, there is always something I can be grateful for. That’s the positive side of it all.

For me, I am grateful every morning. I wake up and my phone dings because of WordPress. I have new likes and comments and follows to reply to which makes my heart happy.

Write that list. Count your blessings.

I don’t need a turkey-carving ceremony or grandiose meals. I have everything that I love. I love everything that I have. There is no more for negativity.

I don’t need a drunken uncle. I have you. And I am grateful.

Be bold, be free, and love on.

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