The strength of your social relationships is super important for happiness.
It is clear that you cannot truly be happy unless you are happy with yourself. And I know the number one question that I hear when I talk about this topic is that “But where do I know the difference between healthy self-love and actually egoist or unhealthy relationships to yourself or self-centeredness?”
And I haven’t lived a very long life; only 40 years but that piece of life has taught me one thing, that almost all the bad things that we do to other people are because we don’t truly love ourselves. Because if we truly love and accept ourselves, we don’t need to prove anything to anyone. We don’t need to prove anyone wrong to show anything to anyone. And that’s where all that unhealthy stuff happens is if when you truly don’t have the self-love.
And people who seem that they’re self-obsessed, this is them compensating for the lack of love for themselves. This is what Vishen was talking about — I’m really sorry kids – but unequivocal, is exactly when you do not need anybody’s approval to be okay with yourself. And a lot of the times when I hear somebody saying, “Oh they’re so full of themselves”, that’s exactly the problem. We do not see — we only see the mask and we only see what social media shows us. We don’t see the void and the pain of those people.
We only are nasty if we don’t love ourselves truly, which is why I think this is a very important point in learning to be happy. And there is never such thing as too much love for yourself. You cannot be happy unless you truly accept and love yourself.
- DEALING WITH THE NEGATIVE
Dealing with the negative. When we talk about happiness, often we talk about shifting the perception, looking at things differently, seeing the light versus the dark. But the truth is that there are both. There’s light; there’s dark. We were just talking about seasons in Estonia. I come from Malaysia. We don’t have seasons there.
And I remember when I lived in Estonia, I loved spring. And spring is not as warm as summer but just the sight of Sun makes you feel happy. Just a little bit of warmth when you can take off those gloves and feel the air on your hands, that makes you happy. And you can only truly appreciate spring if you have survived the winter.
So what I’m talking about is there is going to be negative in our life. And the art to learning to be happy is not to ignore or not notice the negative or be okay with the negative. It is actually to learn to work with it.
What you do when you feel a negative emotion? First of all, you acknowledge that it exists. You give it a true and fair and honest name without spiritual bypassing. You actually acknowledge this is what I feel. You allow yourself to feel it, to feel it and every emotion feels in your body in certain way which actually helps.
I like the connection between emotions and the physical body, because by translating your emotions into physical body it’s easier to work with them.
So let’s say if you feel fear and it’s somewhere in your stomach, just relaxing that part of your body really helps. Or if you feel like anger and it’s up here, breathing deeper really helps. And then after you let it be, that’s when you’re ready to move on and transform this emotion but you have to let it be.
One thing that life will throw in you are negative emotions in the form of being upset with someone. And I think that the point is that we are sometimes thinking that forgiveness is about — you know if I forgive, the evil is not going to be punished. So we don’t want to forgive, because we want some kind of learning out of that, or the evil to be punished. But the truth is that forgiveness is not a practice for anyone else but for you.
Being upset with someone is like taking poison hoping that the person who upset you is going to suffer. If you upset with someone, if you are angry with someone, if you hold a grudge against someone, the only person who is suffering is you. Just you.
And the moment when you realize that, the moment when you realize that forgiveness is not about the other person who has hurt you but it is only about you, you have much more motivation to work on that.
You cannot help anyone if you are not happy.
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