You’ve come here looking for ways to live a happier life. We cannot find happiness unless we’re honest about it. If you’ve never read HerAfter, know this: we believe in every single individual’s (YOU) ability to create a happy, meaningful life. These articles are here to help you do just that. We shared one lesson per day over the course of a week. Do you best simply to adopt each lesson for the day, one by one or at your own pace, and watch your life unfold…
Live a Happier Life: The Essential Rules
Give yourself permission to go after what you really want. Your permission is the only one that matters.
We spend too much of our time waiting for the approval or permission of other people to do what we truly want. And because of it, we keep from sharing the next great idea, from learning new skills, from meeting new people, from trying new food. Unless it’s seen as noble, trendy, necessary, or beneficial to everyone else, we’ll keep from taking a risk or putting ourselves out there.
Why are we acting only for everyone else? What if the only permission you needed anymore was your own, and it no longer required that it benefited anyone else? This is not selfishness, it’s self fulfillment. And without first fulfilling your personal purpose and dreams, you will be of no use to anyone else. Unless you do your own homework, you can’t expect to help or tutor anyone else anyway.
I’ll bet that, just like me, you cringe at this sentence: “You deserve to be happy”. It somehow feels selfish, demanding, too self-centered to utter out-loud. “I deserve to be happy.” I bet they enter your mind with a hint of unsettled emotion. I bet that you can’t even say them in your own head and believe it, that you write it all off as silly, unrealistic, especially when compared to your bills, your job, your relationships. Sure, you’d love to be happy. But you’ve got other, more important things to concentrate on…
Do you really have other things to concentrate on? Is anything actually more important than your own happiness in this short, insane, beautiful life? Do you really not have a choice in the matter, or were you just taught to believe you don’t?
Generations before us were starkly awakened by the power and permanence of violence, war after war. And today’s teenage generation is one of the most anxious, worried generations of all time. Did you even realize you’re furthering the belief that personal happiness is second tier to worry, simply by not making it a priority?
What if you and I tried only to remember what we could see from that vantage point, and look through it like a lens in our everyday life? I truly believe we can, and I truly believe you already know the only requirements create a happy life. But I’ll share them here anyway, because I know they’ll resonate deep within your heart, and you’ll be able to remember them and act on them. You’ll have that “oh yeah” or “aha!” or “that’s right, I forgot” realization when you read them…
There are only a few, simple rules to a good life, sweet and clean cut as a fresh sheet of paper, so clear to see when the light hits just right, so easy to forget when the world puts its heavy, cold on your shoulder.
Give yourself the ultimate permission to stop worrying about what everyone’s reactions will be to your next move – talking to the guy at the bar, traveling to India, starting a blog – and start living only by what you’ll be proud of, or absolutely regret not doing when your very short life comes to an end. Because at that last moment, you will go forth out of this life alone, and you’ll have wanted to achieved your own approval of the life you lived.
Make it a priority to do small things that bring you joy. Do at least one every single day.
Depression is coming, I can feel it. I’m a cancer survivor, I’m grateful to even be alive, but not even I am able to fight off this disease. Even now, I can feel the icy, familiar fingers of depression sneaking onto my shoulder, asking me to come lay down, talk a while. It temps me to crawl into it’s arms in the comfort of my bed. We know each other so well, my depression and me.
I feel you, I really do. I sat in tears this morning; I feel so selfish for wanting happiness. Who has the right to happiness, anyway? There are people starving around the world, there are women in serious danger of being hurt or hurting themselves. The new year brings with it a deadline on articles, bills, rent, and more. I can feel the icy, familiar fingers of depression sneaking onto my shoulder, asking me to come lay down, talk a while. It temps me to crawl into it’s arms in the comfort of my bed. Kicking to keep from drowning, I find myself in desperate need of a walk around the park.
The trees are gold and red, reminiscent of fall, the ground is compact with mud like spring; a single square block is somehow the juxtaposition of every season at once. I find a guilty feeling behind the idea of walking to it, leaving my laptop, and yet I’m unable to do anything else… So I go. I accept the cool air’s invitation for a few minutes of solitude in the afternoon gold beams. Come with me, reader. Let’s let depression and anxiety sit in the cold sheets together. Put your mind on this walk, in the yellow filtered light of the sun, and talk with me instead…
Women, especially, please make this rule your number one priority today, every day. You are deserving of a life full of small and simple pleasures that make you feel good, that remind you of your worthiness, and that bring you joy. Everyone around you will always have a list of 100 things you could or should do for them, but you are the only person who can give you the little pleasures you want to get you through each day. A hot bath, time alone to read a book, chocolate, a daily meditation practice. Even if it’s just a mug that has a saying to inspire you. Give yourself little gifts of joy every day. I promise, the practice will be come contagious, and you’ll be bringing yourself and everyone around you little joys too.
Surround yourself with beautiful things, and you will have a beautiful life.
In scenery, artwork, music, conversations, flavors and souls. Surround yourself with things that are truly beautiful, not only aesthetically pleasing, but also authentic, genuine, and natural. You will be astounded at the way your ability to create and enjoy expands when you put in your own path inspirations and muses. It is absolutely impossible for a person to not see how beautiful and incredible this world is whilst standing in front of Monet’s Nymphaes. The same is true for a mountain view, a plate of freshly roasted vegetables straight from the garden, the works of Miles Davis, and a true and honest conversation with a very old friend. So go to museums, listen to classical, feast your eyes and mouth on hand-crafted macaroons, watch documentaries. If you want to have a beautiful life, first make a devoted commitment to putting beautiful things and experiences within your life, and watch the rest unfold.
It’s simple, and it’s true. Surround yourself with true beauty, and your life will become a beautiful experience.
If we want to be happy, we have to make happiness a priority. If we want to have a beautiful life, we have to commit to creating, living, and fostering a beautiful life. The biggest indicator in life that I’m not living an intentionally beautiful, inspired life is after a few days holed up in my office, when inspiration is gone and the itch to get out of the house comes in full force. A life of beauty and vibrancy does not happen by accident. It happens when action meets awareness. The action lies in surrounding yourself with goodness, love, and light. Actually, intentionally putting those things around yourself, so that you can feed your mind and heart with them. Awareness comes in looking around, seeing and appreciating the beauty of those things, and honoring it with your adoration and repeated interaction with. Thus, today’s rule.
Never let money, status, or other people make or break your sense of peace.
Never. Never. Never. A very wise, successful, award-winning lawyer (and, fortunately, my brother) once told me that money will always come and go; do what you love. And it’s true, money and other people and other people’s opinions will always come and go. Your peace will not. Your peace and contentment will wait patiently for you in the depths of your own heart while you base your happiness on fleeting things. Then when you’re ready to let go of all that superficiality, your peace will welcome you back in and you’ll see you had happiness and peace right inside you all along.
Look inward, not outward. Let you peace be derived from your simple, miraculous existence. From your beating heart. Nothing else.
As we all know, new year ambitions turn mostly to new year responsibilities and stresses once the ball drops and the calendar turns. And as we discussed in previous segments of this series, wanting happiness can sometimes feel like a selfish pursuit. It is selfish, in that it indulges in your individual self. But it does so for the better of the whole. Because a happier, more fulfilled you is a more purposeful you. And as we talk about at length in our new lifestyle guide, this world needs you to fulfill your purpose, to raise the entirety of our population with your devoted action and compassion. So please, by all means, indulge in yourself today with a commitment to your own happiness and fulfillment. Don’t let anything get in the way. Which leads us to today’s commitment:
This rule completes our series of Live a Happier Life: The ultimate rules and commitments to make to yourself. And we wanted to finish off the week with one last bonus lesson that won’t be shared on other sites around the web. It’s only for you, readers, so be sure to send this article on to a friend and make these commitments together. After all, though misery loves company, enlightenment works best in community.
So today we share the last and ultimate commitment to make in your personal life if you truly want to live a happier, more fulfilling life. It’s a lesson that’s harped about ad nauseum, but that makes it no less profound. In fact, maybe that we’ve heard it so much we’re sick of it only speaks to it’s validity, and that our annoyance to these words are indicators only of our willful attempts to avoid it’s truth. Nonetheless, here it is, the culmination of every other rule, and the perfect way to end your week:
What more is there to say? If you had a lifespan in numbers – how many years you had left, how many chances still waited before you – you might feel empowered to be more outspoken, self expressed, experimental. The truth is that while you don’t have a number, you still have a definite and unavoidable end coming your way. The time in between now and your last day is yours for the taking, yours for the molding, yours for the shaping to your true potential. It cannot be said any clearer, so embrace the unpredictability, relinquish your want for control over this crazy, beautiful, short life, and let it surprise you while you surprise yourself.
The only time you have is now, the only thing you have to lose is everything.
Stay tuned for the next post, and make this week a life-changing experience!
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