When I was asked to write for The Happy Zone, I really wasn't sure how to approach it. The idea was to perhaps talk about what makes me happy. While I think that would be good to talk about those little pleasures in life, it might not relate to anyone else. So I took a step back from that, and thought about what makes me a happy man in general.
I thought back to when I wasn't so happy. It was a few years ago now. I don't want to go on about the details, but it involved a broken relationship, an enforced change of address and a painfully soul destroying job. I didn't want to end it all, but I didn't exactly mind if I didn't wake up the next day. When I think of those that have suffered with serious illness, or worse, seems a bit facile to make such a big deal of it, doesn't it? Well, that's the loss of perspective for you.
So why the change? Thanks to slight adjustments in my outlook, my life changed shape. The first thing I did was really try for a job that would be a great step up for me. Not financially, but in the way it was more 'right'. I gunned for the job. I chased them up every other day. That's something I've never done before. This resulted in something that was right for me, and in perhaps an over-dramatic sense, I fought for. Fortunately, it's worked out well and has been really rewarding.
The second thing was the adjusting to being single, and missing someone terribly. It's frustrating as an adult, because you just want to snap out of it. And over some time, I did. It was no longer important if I was in a relationship or not, and I got to know myself a lot better. Is there a secret to that? Aside from the old adage, “time heals,” there actually is.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
This is true of anything in life, but it certainly clears away the clutter of negative feelings. They have a house. They've met someone good. They have a nice car. They have kids... Have “They”? Good for them. Now take all that stuff out of the equation. You're left with who you are, and what makes up your life.
Without all that interference the important people come into sharper focus. These loved ones, whether friends or family, are reflected in you. These are the real foundations, and these foundations will support you. If you're a bit lost, talk to them. And if they give you advice, don't just assume everything's beyond your reach. It's sometimes best to just listen, and use the discussions to think about the future. No one can regroup without a battle plan.
Don't get me wrong, it's not easy to do this, and bend your mind around a different way of thinking. I'm not a paragon of aspirational thinking! But just clearing your thoughts from all all that comparing helped a heck of a lot. I can say that I am a much happier man because of it.