Years ago, I had a conversation with a close friend, and he asked me if I am always happy. The question caught me off guard. I could not say yes because I realized I am not always in the best disposition. I am not always happy. Later that night, I thought about the question again and reflected. Why am I not always happy? What were the reasons for not being happy in those moments? I recounted some instances and got these answers:
- When I think about other people’s comments. Though I know that it is unwise and unhelpful to dwell on comments of other people that are not constructive in the least, I still tend to be affected by them. Fortunately, through time, I learn to only allow my mood to be momentarily influenced by them. Now, I see to it that I use those comments to make myself better instead.
- When I think about other people’s superiority over me. I am well aware of my weaknesses as a person, and these weaknesses sometimes cause me to feel insecure about myself. “Is it possible for someone like me to achieve such a big goal or fulfill my mission with these weaknesses? If only I were as rich as this person, or as creative as this artist.” These thoughts of comparing myself with others never fail to cause me unhappiness.
- When I think about my past mistakes. Sometimes, when I am idle, I tend to remember wrong decisions, embarrassing moments, and failures from recent memory to even a distant past. These moments of recollection make me doubt myself and sometimes bring about feelings of regret.
- When I think about what I do not have. I fail to see the things, big and small, that I am blessed with when I focus on what I do not have. Thus, I become unsatisfied and, in turn, unhappy.
By then I realized that, as a whole, my unhappiness is a result of a wrong mindset and focus. I caused it myself. It is not elicited by other people, things, places, or situations though technically, my negative thoughts are about them, caused by them, or directed to them. But, there it is. The problem is me with the way I think. I should not have any business minding what other people say about me when I am not hurting other people. I should not think of myself as less than others when I have the choice to make myself better. I should not dwell in the past and fret over what I did wrong when I learned important lessons because of my mistakes. I should count my blessings and strive harder to be worthy of what I long to acquire or achieve.
Do you also have thoughts like these? What else makes you unhappy?