Happiness #10

What is happiness?

Did you make a new year's resolution? Many people mark the beginning of a new year with ultraistic intentions. I mean they actually consider putting a stop to things that they like and/or gives them pleasure.

Some of the physical pleasures include tobacco, pills, illegal substances, alcohol and even food.

Or they decide to change their life style, in some way, which may mean kicking out of the current lover, who is just getting to be too much trouble, and finding a new one. Or it might include taking a course in something that will expand their potential or just fill in time between the old lover and the meeting of the new one. In fact, maybe a health club would be a good place to meet someone new while I'm taking off the fat.

Why do we think of subjecting ourselves to the horrors of breaking the nicotine addiction, our reliance on tranquillizers or limiting ourselves to two beers/glasses of wine per day? Any of these resolutions require a lot of self-discipline. And self-discipline ain't easy!

"Yeah, but I got this smoker's cough and it isn't getting any better; they cost too much now and will only increase in price; and they're fewer and fewer places I can light up. Not to mention, more and more people keep telling me it is unattractive not only physically but socially, as well, to smoke. And to make it still worse, a couple of potential new lovers I've met --- that could replace the old one and make life beautiful again --- tell me that they ignore smokers. No one wants to give me a BREAK!" But that latter statement is also the ironical part because BREAKING a habit is the HARD part for most resolutions. And only YOU can give yourself the break. Life is hard!

Like that diet you want and/or need to do so that you can shed 10 kilos before the swimsuit season. If nothing else works, in finding a new lover, certainly a nicely trimmed body that stands out under the spotlight of the July sun will be the secret weapon that will change your life for the BETTER.

And what is the true motivation behind any of these resolutions? Better health? Better figure? Better love life?

None of the above. The real reason is because "I WANT TO BE HAPPY!!!  And I'm not happy now so I must be doing something wrong!  The cancer sticks don't really seem to help; to stay feeling calm I gotta light one after the other. The pills, weed, coke or what have you only do the trick for 15 minutes to an hour or so then I crash feeling worse than before. The food ... well, that's how I got the extra 10, 15 or more kilos in the first place; too many Big Macs and too many ice cream cones not to mention the chips and dips and Snickers bars."

Unfortunately, the majority of people, who make resolutions, fail to keep them. Their resolve last three days, a week and, maybe even several weeks. Then, "I'll smoke only one cigarette each day; and only one beer or glass of wine; and chips and dip only on Saturday's with an odd number date." But the one cigarette in the morning leads to the one before bed --- after all two a day can't hurt; the one beer after work leads to the one with dinner; and the chips and dips' dates become confusing: was it on odd dates or even ones?

"I just couldn't do it! And I REALLY tried." But you got a reasons: "I stopped ccigarettes and started putting on more weight ... and that's worse than smoking ... isn't it? And my friends like to hang out at MacDonald's and I DO like their french fries. It's not MY fault!"

What you got to see is that making new year resolutions, and following through on them, more often than not, requires rearranging your life style. And the hardest part often becomes avoiding your circle of friends because "EVERYONE smokes. How can I just sit there and go through the torture of denying myself? It ain't natural!"

Well, back to square one. Your are not satisfied with your life the way it is because you are not HAPPY.

That's why making ONE resolution just doesn't do the trick; not to mention the resolve doesn't last very long. So it is a series of resolutions that are required. And when you do that you change your life in so may other and unanticipated ways. Not to mention, that these series of changes, in your way of living, will make for a new you. Once you define your weaknesses you are better able to see your strengths. Thus, the better you come to know your TRUE self. The result is you achieve a mental and emotional position that allows you to be honest with yourself; to see your real faults which is not the smoking, drug abuse or eating too much but the motivations behind those vices which is, of course, "I WANT TO BE HAPPY!" We have been conditioned and brainwashed by sophisticated advertising and subliminal promotion and peer pressure to believe that those vices are short-cuts to happiness.

If you can reach the stage of KNOWING who you ARE you will experience HAPPINESS and not just the chemically influenced euphoria that is so fleeting and not really fulfilling in any way as you already well know or you wouldn't be thinking of giving up the vices in the first place. Whew, that's a mindblower!

I'm reminded of the Chinese axiom that says a trip of a thousand kilometers begins with the first step. The new year's resolution is your first step on an odyssey that may turn into a very long journey to the NEW you. If you are really lucky, the journey will only come to an end with your last breath. But every step along the way will be rewarded because of the discoveries you will make about yourself, life and that new lover who will be by your side to the last.

The lesson: "Happiness is to be sought not outside but within.” That was something said by Boethius in "Consolation of Philosophy"(c. 1391).