What people post on social media doesn’t always translate into who and what they are like in real life. What people forget sometimes is that social media only shows the best moments of someone’s life, the experiences and moments they want to share with others, most of the times skating around the realities and struggles of their day to day life.
Having it all
I have a lot of people coming to me asking ‘why do I feel so miserable when on the surface my life seems so good?’. You can have what seems to be the perfect life, great clothes, plenty of handbags and a large house and still feel awful about where your life is going. These thoughts are common and something that you shouldn’t fear, in fact if you recognise that you are feeling this way you are already one step closer to getting on the path to happiness.
The Dalai Lama has a great line stating, “Happiness is not something ready-made, it comes from your own actions.” This is the crux of the point I’m trying to make, it doesn’t matter how nice your life can look online, or how many pairs of shoes you have in your closet, happiness isn’t something you can go out and buy or wrap yourself up in; these things may bring you temporary fulfilment but I guarantee you it will soon fade. Happiness is something that you have to train your brain into choosing straight off, it is something you must strive for as your best result and learn how to find it effortlessly via your mind.
One of the most common aspects of people coming to me with their problems when they claim to ‘have it all’ is that they feel guilty for feeling sad; as if their sadness is less important compared to other people who are worse off than them. Now there is an element of truth to this, you could be out in some field digging ditches for a living so let’s take a moment and be thankful that your not; but one thing that you shouldn’t do is tell yourself that your feelings don’t matter, because no matter what your background or means, happiness is something available for everyone.
What I want people to know is that they shouldn’t feel bad about feeling bad, you’re just making yourself feel worse for no reason. You need to recognise these feelings and understand that having it all comes from you and not your possessions. It’s ok to feel sad or even depressed, what’s not ok is to sit there and do nothing about it. Only you hold the keys that can set you on the path to a happier life.
The message I hope that gets through to the people who pass through my office is that you should try to avoid getting wrapped up in the material aspects of life. Now I don’t mean you should sell everything you own, shave your head and move into the nearest Buddhist temple, but it is healthy to take a step back every now and then. If you’re someone with good friends, a loving family and can find the value in themselves you are a winner and already have so much going for you. It’s ok to feel upset and depressed, just not for too long because you often have a choice. You also need to see the good things you already have in your life and finding strategies that can change your thinking and put you on the path to a happier mental attitude.