Monday, May 4, 2015
How to be profoundly sad (or happy) - A users guide
Growing up, I had a wonderful childhood. Loving family, cool friends and a reasonably good
standard of living. However over the years, different things have happened in my life that naturally left me feeling sad and sometimes down right depressed.
Looking at my life, I can say with a certain level of certainty that I understand what it means to be profoundly sad, which in turn has made me a happier person because I am now more aware of what to and not to do or think about, in order to avoid the viscous cycle of unhappiness that can become a plague.
Placing a higher focus on family and friends over work
The older I grow, the more I realize the harsh reality that people really like us for what we can offer. So, contrary to common belief, family and friends do not come first, our work does. You see, our work sets us apart from every body else and the change that we are able to bring into this world is what we will ultimately be remembered for.
I have noticed that during the low points in my life when I have either lost someone in the family or a friend, work has consistently been the consoling factor for my existence, because after all is said and done, no one can take away what you have achieved and the lives you have touched.
Family and friends are of intangible value but their role is limited to providing context to our existence but the rest of what we get out life essentially depends on our endless dedication in pursuing a higher purpose of existence than merely living life itself.
Holding a grudge
In this TED talk, a Buddhist monk had this to say about inner peace, "very often while looking for happiness, we look outside, we think that if we can gather all the conditions that would constitute happiness (we are good). That very sentence bares the very doom of happiness; to have everything. If we miss something, it all collapses. And when things go wrong (like they often do), we try very hard to fix whats outside so much but our control in the outer world is limited, temporary and often illusive. But looking inside, isn't it the mind that translates the outer conditions into happiness or suffering and isn't that stronger?"
I have realized that we often do not have control over what other people do and in turn what happens to us, but our inner state of mind will determine how we handle it. I have fallen victim of harboring anger, rage, envy and grudges and I can say that nothing good comes of it. When I find myself deeply unhappy, I like to examine my inner feelings to determine if I am harboring any hate towards someone or something and the moment I let it go, I often feel much better like a load has been taken off my back.
Working at a job you hate
If you find yourself having drinks with co-workers after work and you are complaining about your jobs, its a clear sign that you should purse something else. Around this time last year, I was working in advertising at a top agency and I remember this one instance, as I walked home from work at 4:00 am after a fourteen hour brain storm to image the brand identity for a new product, I was struck with the fact that I was no longer enjoying what I was doing. And it had made my life very sad, because I thought of all the things I could have been doing but couldn't and the predicament of living life like that seemed stifle.
A month later, when my documentary film came in second at a film festival in Washington D.C, as I shared the exciting news with my immediate supervisor, she could tell how lit up I was about it. She then bluntly advised me to ditch advertising to purse my passion because she could clearly notice that advertising was sucking the life out of me.
A year later, I realize that she was very right and even though at the beginning of this journey it was difficult, primarily because I did not have a plan, I now see that waking up every morning to work on exactly what I want to work on beats a corporate job, ten fold.
Having a poor self image of yourself
How we treat others is really a reflection of how we feel about ourselves and when you have a poor image of yourself, you will find settling for less in all aspects of life natural. From the jobs you apply for, to the friends you make and even how you treat your children.
This is one of the surest ways to find yourself constantly under a dark cloud.
You might wake up one day and wonder why good things are happening to everybody else but you. and the answer might be that you hold yourself in low regard. You cant attract good things your way until you start holding yourself in higher regard.
Staying in an unhappy relationship
"Divorce isn't such a tragedy. A tragedy is staying in an unhappy marriage(relationship), teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce." -Jennifer Weiner (That pretty much sums it up)