4 Things the "Art of Happiness" taught me
Buddhism has always interested me, the way they look at life is fascinating. With my own journey of self-awareness with the purpose of finding myself again, I decided to read ‘The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for the living’ by The Dalai Lama and Howard C Cutler. The Mail on Sunday was correct on its analogy that it is ‘an intriguing encounter between East and West’. Of the two approaches, I felt more affiliation with the eastern approach.
The first of the five things the book made me realise is that it enforced that everyone has the right to be happy. Happiness is measured by the way an individual feels and views the world. An individual is in control of his / her own happiness and as such it is an achievable goal, however, to achieve it you need to change a few perspectives of life.
Secondly, I always argued that I was fine being single, but reading the book made me realised that I was finding other ways to heal my loneliness. ‘Our need for other people is paradoxical’. I have monthly ‘me time’ appointments that involve interactions with other individuals. I was getting my nails done and having a massage, whilst trying to prop up the illusion that I was independent. I was hesitant to let people in and close to me because I had my hurt in the past, by a couple of people who I had had relationships with.
Thirdly, everyone can change, a person just needs to eliminate negative behaviours and states of mind. However, to bring about the change we as individuals need to learn, we need to have conviction and determination to take the effort to take the actions to change. The urgency of the change needs to be realistic and an individual should not out too much pressure on themselves to succeed. The change may be slow or rapid.
Finally, honesty is the key to beating low self-esteem or inflated self-confidence. Be honest with yourself. I have not been for a number of years, despite being known as someone who it to honest, I was never honest with myself when it came to love, work and life. My self-confidence and self-esteem were low and I was giving the path everyone was pushing me down far too much credence. I was not listening to my own gut and spiritual instincts, thus inhibiting my own ability to move on from the past and take the necessary risks, meet challenges and achieve my objectives.
My journey to confidence and finding my happiness has been slow as I worked out all the negative beliefs and thoughts. It’s still not complete and may take a while yet. However, I am now ready to let someone into my life whilst maintaining my independence, change the things I don’t like and learn to be happy, to live my life the way that is right for me and not the life everyone else thinks I should be living. So for now, clear the negativity, do what is right for me, take a deep breath and repeat.