Reading certain Buddhist texts is what gave me that final push I needed to become… I don’t want to say “the new me” because in essence, I am still me, so maybe the real me. The real you is the person you are when you peel off all those layers of problems that don’t belong to you, when you put down that heavy weight that you carry around everywhere with you: you carry it into your relationships, your work, your friendships, your vacations, your studies…
If you are reading this blog it’s because you probably already realized that happiness cannot be created by clubbing or filling your time with all sorts of activities. Also, you might have noticed that I say “create” happiness and not “find” happiness, and that is because happiness is not out there for you to find, it doesn’t matter how many times you move to a different city or country, or how many times you switch jobs; if you are not happy with yourself you will not be happy anywhere.
So, now that we are all on the same page and we all agree that something needs to be changed, what now? The first thing you have to do is accept your situation. Trying to be happy or having to appear happy is very stressful. Everything around you is saying: you have to be happy, you have to appear happy, if you’re not happy there’s something wrong with you, if you want to be happy buy this, if you want to be happy go on this holiday, if you want to be happy be rich, if you want to be happy you have to like what everyone likes.. .Be happy, be happy, be happy. Feeling like you HAVE to be happy just adds on to your stress. So let’s get rid of all of this. All this extra stuff we think about that we know just clutters our mind and has zero relevance in our lives, it has to go.
Now, this next part won’t be easy, but bear with me… You have to accept that there is something that is not working in your life and that’s ok. You have to accept that you don’t feel well, and that’s ok. You have to accept that, right now, you are suffering, but it will be fine. The thing about human beings is that we don’t want to suffer, we want to run away from it, we don’t want things to be the way they are so we distance ourselves from them. Buddhism explains how, when we encounter suffering, our most immediate reaction is to try to get rid of it, but the more we try, the more pain we cause ourselves. This is because our pain and torments don’t come from suffering itself, they come from our reaction to suffering.
Let’s say you’re at work and your boss calls you into their office. There has been a problem and when you try to explain what happened, in a condescending tone he tells you “they are all excuses”. You are not even able to get three words in before you are told to “just fix it”.
So that happened, and chances are it will happen again. You will always have unpleasant encounters with people, but you are the one carrying them around with you. Have you ever noticed that when something undesirable happens you keep replaying it on your mind as if it were a movie? And if you had an argument with someone, you’ll even think of what you could have said instead? By doing this you are extending your suffering. The moment has passed and you are choosing to drag it into all the other areas in your life. You go home thinking about it and you complain about it repeatedly.
The reality is that it happened and you are ok. That boss will remain the same, something similar will happen again, and the only way to change the feeling it left you with is by changing your reaction to it.