I recently got this in my YouTube inbox:
Hey can you give me advice on how to be happy, yeaah
I really liked that question. It’s something I’ve thought about long and hard. I made a video real quick about it last night, but… I wanted to see what else would come out if I let my fingers do the talking. 😀
Levels Of Understanding Happiness
Now… whatever you or anyone come up with for an answer for how to be happy is correct if it’s working for you. 😉 I’m just going to share some things I’ve observed from myself and sometimes from others.
Having Fun – When
you’re I was younger, I think I could have easily answered the “How to be happy?” question with “Have fun!” Depending on how old I was that might have been eat candy, watch cartoons, play video games, jump off large objects, dance, etc. Having grown a little older (and perhaps a smidgen wiser lol) I don’t think it’s that simple. Some of those things still make me happy (like playing video games!) but it isn’t a sustainable/healthy happiness. I can’t just play video games ALL DAY (although some people certainly do or try) and I also can’t jump from one happiness producing activity to another. I mean I can’t logistically do it, I gotta earn money to eat and stuff. 😉 And even if I could logistically play video games all day, observation (of, for example, wealthy folks committing suicide, being super depressed and addicted to all kinds of drugs) and a little experience has told me that it eventually wears off and doesn’t produce the same level of happiness as it once did previously. Having fun only gets you so far.
Doing What You Want – I’ve never used this as an answer to the question but I hear it a lot. To me using that as an answer already implies that something is amiss. I mean… You can always do what you want. I know in extreme circumstances this isn’t true (like being a hostage), but outside of situations like that you can… do what you want to do. The first thing I ask anyone that responded with that is “Well, what do you want to do?” I rarely get a clear answer (as simple as that question is). I guess in a way “Doing what you want,” is an acceptable answer, but I think it goes deeper than that.
Doing What You’re Passionate About – I think this is WAY better than a simple “Doing whatever I want… YEEEEEAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!” (seems like an answer you would get from a partying college student or something). Now doing/working towards a passion, that’s something that feels really good. If you’re passionate about art, doing art probably makes you feel REALLY good. You could probably do art all day. Heck, if you’re passionate about video games, that works too BUT it’s never as general as that with a passion. It’d would be about a specific game. Working on or towards a passion is a really good answer. Is it the best answer? I don’t know. It might be for you. 😀 I think it can definitely play a large role in sustainable happiness.
Helping Others – I forgot to mention it in the video but helping others feels GOOD. It feels really good. I think it definitely plays a role in sustainable happiness. I don’t think it’s something that one should dive into head first without first taking good care of oneself BUT some people do and it seems to work for them (example: being like FUCK IT and moving to Africa to teach English). I only say not to dive in head first because I think in most cases you could help even MORE people if you took care of you first… BUT, sometimes you gotta…
Follow Your “Gut” – I have to throw this in there. I’m not sure if this is a good idea all the time but I think an element of following your gut is important. I think it’s your subconscious (or soul/spirit) telling you what your conscious mind doesn’t want to hear.
Becoming “Enlightened” (or trying really hard to anyway 😉 lol ) – This probably needs a whole post or series of posts dedicated to it, but if I were to give people a blanket answer to the question “How can I be happy?” it would be “Work on becoming enlightened.” Why? The quest for enlightenment will take you ALL over the place and the journey is largely an internal one. You’ll seek out spiritual teachers, read spiritual stuff, try to understand the nature of desire (and aversion), struggle with the fact that the answer to many of life’s questions end in paradox, start to see through the illusionary nature of the material world and… yeah. And when you see “enlightenment” you don’t have to see the Buddhist version, this definition works just as well:
1 : freed from ignorance and misinformation
2 : based on full comprehension of the problems involved
I mean… I honestly can’t even tell you what it’s like to be unhappy anymore, but I would assume it has to do with being frustrated about something, angry, scared, etc. With the right bit of knowledge those feelings can be washed away. I’m not saying I’m never depressed, scared, angry, etc. but I have a large toolkit for dealing with those feelings so they never last very long. I also understand where they’re coming from and even while I’m feeling them I’m kind of simultaneously feeling happy. 😀 lol If I don’t understand where they’re coming from, I’m happy to have run into something new that I don’t understand and have to reflect on to find out where it came from.
My fingers have talked long enough. Would love to hear your thoughts on happiness. I know my mom will have something to say about this. 😀