Happiness is one of the things people can’t buy. Similar to time, these intangible things are priceless yet the most taken for granted.
Long ago, there was this child who was ambitious and wanted to do exciting things. The child only wanted to be happy and enjoy life to its fullest potential. Many years had passed but the child didn’t like how life was going.
Life felt unfair and the motivation that the child had had just vanished. No one understands because they never feel what I feel anyway, the child thought.
Internal battles, relationship problems, mental stress, and emotional instability. There isn’t any good thing that is happening. This has been the reality that the child continues to believe. That life will never be better.
The child will never feel excitement over fun things anymore. No more playing and just living life aimlessly.
Are you like this child?
Do you feel happy with your life?
Or are you just here because you wanted to see if there are really ways to find joy in life.
I, too, felt hopeless with my life. One day, things are doing great and the next thing I know, I was crying out of self-pity. I thought that the universe really wanted me to live miserably.
Unwanted feelings and emotions were leading to unnecessary and toxic reactions. Bad habits were kicking in. I’ve forgotten all the important reasons why I’m doing what I’m doing with life.
I wanted to go back in time and enjoy watching cartoons whenever I get home from school. I didn’t want to overthink my decisions anymore. If this is what adulting feels like then I think I’m better off without it.
These were my silly thoughts because I believed this is the reality that the universe wanted me to believe. The society continued to mock my self-esteem and self-worth.
What brought me into the real reality is the realization that people simply do not care about you. It is because they are too busy taking care of themselves.
The universe doesn’t need to make us feel special. People are fighting their own battles. And we don’t need to prove ourselves to the society we live in.
What I will be sharing is not something that I made up myself. Know that I have collected other people’s experiences and some of their famous lines in their books.
Enough of the pep talk! Let’s jump to the reason why you’re really here.
In an online Sunday mass (vid in Filipino) Pastor Bong Saquing from Christ’s Commission Fellowship had introduced this acronym. The mass was about contentment and the pastor had said that if you want to guard your heart against discontentment, remember ABC.
- Appreciate – count your blessings.
If you try real hard to think of the things you can be grateful for or those things that you take for granted, you will end up with a long meaningful list! They can be little or life-changing things. In reality, we don’t appreciate our own abilities or the people we see every day because we know they will always be there.
Simply appreciating your ability to see wonderful things, hear awesome music, smell, and taste yummy foods; appreciating the people who helped you with your project; your ability to wake up in the morning and stand up to make your first cup of coffee.
Making a habit of counting your blessings and appreciating them is a real game-changer.
- Believe – confidence in God’s promises.
This goes for everyone even if you are not a believer in any God. Hence, trusting ourselves is the only thing we can do. It helps us to hope for a better tomorrow and to know that we are going to be okay.
- Consumed – with God’s glory.
If you believe in God, this can be self-explanatory. We know that we must be confident in His promises. That the life we live in is temporary and we are to surrender our lives to Him.
For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
— 1 Timothy 6:7
2. Gratitude Journal
Having a gratitude journal is similar to the A in ABCs of contentment. Oprah Winfrey has been advocating the power and pleasure of being grateful. With that, she kept a gratitude journal for 10 years without fail. I quote her as she says:
You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots.
I also have a digital journal where I keep track of the things I’m grateful for every day. Every night I enter 3 good things that had happened that day. Having a gratitude journal helps me to reflect on my life. However, the most important thing is that I felt good and grateful before going to sleep.
To be completely honest, I didn’t have a habit of reading. I believed I was more of a fan of watching some “meaningful” series. The bottom line is I just didn’t feel like reading and I thought I had no time to read.
I said, what the heck – it’s just 30 minutes of my time! It was the most meaningful habit that I’ve developed from the quarantine. I realized: that if people have time to scroll through different social media platforms then maybe they will also have time to read a book.
Charlie Munger wrote:
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none, zero.”
I developed a habit of reading books every night. Some of the books that I read helped me change my bad habits, contributed to my personality development, and entertained me a lot of times during quarantine. After 2 months, I had already finished reading the New Testament and 19 other books.
By having a daily journal and inserting meditation to it, you’ll be able to keep track of your system. Writing your thoughts, ideas, and lessons learned in life every day can help you reflect on your life’s situations. If what you’re doing now contributes to the vision you want to see yourself in the future.
According to URMC, journaling can help you:
- manage anxiety
- reduce stress
- cope with depression
Keep track of your memory by having a daily journal. Personally, I love Day One and I use it as my digital journal. In Day One app, you can add pictures and tags per entry.
💡 In the PRO version, you can create multiple journals for other things you want to take note of! You can also export your journal entries if you want to save it in other note-taking apps.
5. Work on your Spiritual Life
Spiritual growth is becoming more mature in one’s relationship with Jesus. It is important to be aware of your spirituality. Although, being religious isn’t always equal to having a good relationship with Christ.
I admit that I wasn’t religious and I only prayed to God when I needed something.
It sucked, BIG TIME!
All things happen for a greater reason and it’s okay to not know that reason every time. We just got to continue living because life goes on.
Now that I’ve realized that there is a Supreme Being that knows everything and has it all planned out still amazes me. Believing in His promises really struck my mind, my heart, my body, and my soul. I’ve come to learn and understand all the great things through my spiritual growth.
It’s worth the try, really.
6. Accept things and be open to change
Life is tough. Sh*t happens. Nobody is perfect. It’s okay not to be okay.
The great thing is? We can change. We are capable of being the best version of ourselves. So what if you failed multiple times already? if your expectations weren’t met? or if people judge you?
Mark Manson says in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck:
“The only way to solve our problems is to first admit that our actions and beliefs up to this point have been wrong and are not working.“
He continues that this openness to being wrong must exist for any real change or growth to take place.
7. Learn to forgive
Forgiveness is something so sweet that people seem to have a hard time practicing easily. We want to screen others if they are worthy of our forgiveness. But forgiving is freeing.
You forgive the ones who have hurt you not because they deserve it, but because you deserve inner peace.
Forgive yourself and forgive others.
Remember, the first thing that created our relationship with God is through Christ who died for our sins. This was the key idea for understanding how God deals with sin and offers us forgiveness.
God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us — Romans 5:8
8. Love others as you love yourself
It is written. You can read it in Matthew 22:39.
Here is another verse that explains why we should love our neighbors:
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. — 1 Peter 3:8-18
Seeing other people as your enemy is not worth your time and energy. Understanding that people aren’t perfect and seeing everyone as our companions may be easier for us to love others as we love ourselves.
I’m not just talking about material things that we don’t need, although this is an essential part of the process. However, I would want to emphasize that we can also declutter our habits, especially the bad ones.
It’s time to reevaluate our life values and how we wish to live according to the identity we want to achieve. Relationships can also be decluttered. If you think you have relationships that do not add value to your life anymore, it’s surely best to let go.
As Joshua Becker wrote in his book “The More of Less”:
“When you remove or reduce a harmful relationship, you’ll experience less distraction and more peace. You’ll have more time, more energy, and better emotional resources to devote to the people and things that matter most to you.“
10. Do things you love
Remember what you wanted to do when you were younger? If you’re not doing it now, what else have you been doing? Just kidding! No pressure.
Have fun and do the things you love the most. Life is short and it’s not worth wasting time worrying about the past or the future. If you do not have anything in mind, it’s a great opportunity to intentionally discover what you would want to be doing.
I’m so glad I started reading because it opened a new world of understanding. I’ve come to understand that life is crazy as it is but it’s also beautiful all at the same time.
Reading books about other people’s lives and how they have risen up from their troubles is inspiring. I discovered my love for writing and that is why you see me here sharing these lessons with you.
Imagine being retired, what would be that one thing that you’d want to do every day for the rest of your life? Find that thing and make a habit out of it.
🏆 Bonus: Find purpose
Out of all the things I’ve listed, this underlies them all. Your purpose. If after knowing the ways to find joy in life and you’re still here not feeling all too well. Then it may be because you are not fully aware of your purpose in life yet.
In addition, it’s not enough to just read this article, you also have to apply what you have learned from it. Actively reflecting in your life by journaling (or meditating) can help you evaluate what your purpose in life is.
Know what you are most passionate about. Then you can learn more about it and do things that will help you live out your purpose. Take a mental note from Nike and Just Do It.
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Thanks and see you around!
This post is for my best friend. I hope you find the joy in your life.