I’m pretty sure that when a close friend or family member asks us how we are, a lot of us will say either, “I’m ok…” when in fact we are not, or downright say “Sigh… Did you know that so-and-so? It is so stressful.” I confess I do both, and it is annoying, come to think of it, because just saying you’re ok can be taken as an irritating desire not to talk, while saying the latter might end up making them stressed at seeing how stressed you are. O:)
I learned this the hard way, when some friends told me that I always talked about my stresses in life that made them not want to talk with me much – in spite of my (infamous) perkiness and my (perceived) general optimism in life. As such, I gradually learned to take care of what I say; and it’s still, and forever will be, a work in progress – just as anything and everything of worth is. I also learned to narrow down on the number of people I ranted to, which may sound discriminatory at first, but is actually merely just my way of re-engineering the quality of my relationships with others to be more positive and cheerful rather than depressed and gloomy.
Since I’m a believer in the adage that nothing of worth comes easy, anyone who does pursue their passion, dream, or purpose will definitely encounter bumps along the way. But as I learned in one of my favorite books, the late Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, practical applications of which were tirelessly guided on to me by my mentors (I was never good at turning theory into practice), it is our response to what we encounter that matters most – that, even, defines who we are. For it is our choices that we have utmost power on, and this is the way we shape our world.
So – and this reflection also serves as a reminder to myself, not to be a hypocrite, to practice what I preach, if I sincerely believe in it – why waste our energy, time, and effort being all negative and bleak when we can spread cheerfulness, happiness, and an infectious passion to pursue our dreams – for less? We’ve often heard it said that it takes more than 40 muscles to frown but just about 17 to smile, so being happy is actually more beneficial for you, physically! And that aforementioned infectious passion has the potential to become the healthiest bug that existence itself has ever experienced – it can become a viral phenomenon that inspires everyone around you to spread said good cheer on, thereby quickly creating a network of happiness and love that can drive productivity in all senses of the word to uncharted heights.
I love this song; my coworker, mentor, and friend even said that it should become our “theme song” of sorts. Everything about it screams happiness – not merely the title and lyrics, but even the way Pharrell sings, and the beat and instrumentation of the music. If I meticulously observed the lyrics’ message, then I should never cease clapping, as I firmly believe “happiness is the truth”.
One reason I think it’s so popular is that in the middle of a world beset by international conflicts, long-standing social injustices, and increasing discomfort and welfare in general due to climate change, we are reminded that despite the herculean challenges we need to overcome as one world, one globe, the very first step we can – and probably should – take is so easy to do so that the idea of not being able to do it (translation: pessimism) is laughable. As Covey said, sometimes, being happy is already the most proactive thing one can do, the best way to act on what happens to us, rather than react and start cursing or self-pitying – as many of us (myself included) are prone to doing.
It is so difficult to work alone, let together with others, when one is sad, angry, depressed, or stressed. Your feelings continue to dominate you, and as such what you can do is not as good as when you are happy and feeling you can take on the world. But when you’re happy (and you know it), it is so easy to open up and share ideas, thoughts, and even build better cultures of openness.
It’s even said that laughter is the key to good health. Feeling like things are getting to you? One of the best things to do is watch a funny, short video; in these times, this is one of the most abundant things you’ll find out there. There are so many comedy videos to watch on YouTube alone; fellow countrymen based in North America, such as Ashley Rivera or Christine Gambito, are among the most talented in working wonders for the soul.
Or you can simply let your mind wander or get lost in some place you find to be the stuff of your dreams – and take learnings from those experiences as equipment for your journey of life ahead. For example, read a good book (no pictures!) where your imagination can take you to how you envision the place. Or cook something you love (or simply eat). Or play video games. Or write out your feelings and turn it into tangible art.
But at the same time, make sure that it doesn’t come at the cost of even just one person suffering. For that is irresponsible, purely unethical, and against the loving laws of our God. You may love driving, but you still need to ensure no one gets injured (or worse, killed) and nothing gets destroyed (except your negative feelings). You may love blogging, but what if your writing hurts someone, especially someone innocent? You may love money, but what if you are willing to do anything for such, even trample on the rights and dignity of someone or some ones (even your own)?
Simply put: Do what makes you happy – but not at the expense of others. In fact, do what makes you and others truly, authentically happy.
And clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth. 😉