Happiness is Loving Yourself
Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want. ~Margaret Young
I love this quote, probably because it strikes so damn close to home for me. You see she’s dead on and we all know it, money can’t buy you love or happiness, the big job, the nice car, the McMansion, they don’t do it. Happiness is something that is derived from self, which emanates from your ability to be comfortable with yourself and be at one with the world around you. To find joy in every living being and to see the magic that resides in the world. Different religions and philosophies have different names for it, joy, bliss, enlightenment, nirvana or maybe just simply, happiness is the word we should use. But it all starts from the same place, inside of you, you must come to terms with who you are and learn to love yourself. Once you’ve done that happy is an easy leap and the degree to which you’ve accomplished that is the degree to which you can become happy. It’s a trip we’re all on, but remember to enjoy the journey as much as the promise of the destination.
For me, this understanding came out of great pain and confusion. Earlier in my life I struggled with pain and anger that I carried around with me constantly. The only way I knew to deal with these feelings was suppression and once I left home I found my release through drugs and alcohol. I had the ultimate college party experience and became ever more deeply involved with the altered states of consciousness these chemicals could provide. In some ways it was the best time of my life, I had absolved myself of any responsibility and was leading a purely hedonistic existence, it was wonderful. But there is a cost to everything and the cost for my hedonism and denial was an inevitable crash, and my life crashed. I lost friends, was kicked out of college, had to move home and watched some of my friends go to jail for dealing drugs. It was the darkest and most important time of my life, a time that scared people close to me half to death, some convinced I was on the edge of suicide.
However, after I crashed I had that moment of perfect clarity and saw my life for what it had become. I then spent six months tearing myself down and rebuilding myself brick by brick. In the end, what was left of me might not have been what others would have chosen, but it was who I wanted to be, who I am. That comfort has allowed me to care little what others think, unless they are people whose thoughts and opinions I respect. That comfort has allowed me to make choices that have seemed crazy to others but have made me happy. My crash was the best thing that ever happened to me and I owe where I am and who I am today to those dark days.
My hope for you is that you won’t have to crash to find a way to be comfortable with yourself and like the person you are, or to find the strength to become the person you want to be. Maybe reading this is a start, I hope so.
At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. ~ Lao Tzu