How Can We Be Happier?

This is a gentle reminder for myself, and for those who feels a little loaded at times. Now more than ever, we’re comparing ourselves to others. In the last decade, the culture has changed dramatically. We’ve been buffeted by shifts that has conditioned us to behave differently. The combination of media and technology has resulted in each week being different from the one that we have experienced before. We need to keep in mind that with every beach vacation photo that we see comes an underlying flight delay photo too. But, we don’t see it. We tend to highlight wins in our lives, and we’re silent on doubt and worry. The line between bold and reckless is thin, and is always only visible with hindsight. For all the successes and glamour that we witness, let’s take a step back and evaluate who we admire and what are we actually admiring.

There are very few things in this world that are more persuasive than the opinion we desperately yearn for or want to be true.

As simple as this sounds, just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean it don’t exist. Everyone of us have our own sets of problem. Everyone is dealing with issues we don’t advertise. So the next time we feel the urge to throw shade at someone, let’s ask ourselves if the information we’ve gotten is true, and more importantly, if it is contextually complete. Chances are, it isn’t. Let’s be more forgiving to ourselves and others too. As compared to the past when the world isn’t accelerating at our current pace, we’re now gauging our wellbeing relative to those around us. We have the ability to find out how others are doing, albeit largely on the surface, which makes us raise our expectation in different areas of our lives. Subconsciously or not, we look around and ask, “What do other people have that I don’t?” I’m an advocate for improving and moving our goalposts, but it should be grounded around our own happiness. We should not be moving our goalposts based on whether are we living better than someone else.

We’re living for ourselves, not for others.

It isn’t the case that the gap didn’t exist in the past. It wasn’t that apparent and it was easy to keep our expectations in check. There weren’t much exposure into a glimpse of how few people lived dramatically better than us. Now, we’re constantly bombarded by how we ought to be. Now, we’re constantly reminded of how we’re not enough. Not everything that we see on the Internet appears to be what it is, and we begin to compare reality with an idealized alternative. This is when expectations become too heavy. When we start to have excessively rosy views about others, it becomes difficult to maintain our self-esteem. It destroys our self-esteem. We become blind to who we are, what we value and what we’re really in pursuit of. “What do I want?” is a much clearer motivation and direction than “Why does he get that, but I don’t?” So.. What do you want?

There is a fine line between fishing and doing nothing. We would like to think that we’re fishing, but the truth is we don’t have the line.