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September 5, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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Ngāi Tauira – Note to self: Be Happy

How does one achieve the goal of self-improvement or happiness without being told by others to chill and be happy?

First of all, self-improvement can come in many forms. Some people attend a gym and work out to achieve that six-pack others would like to have, whereas others surround themselves with positive people that speak into their life—and then there are those who do the complete opposite. They sit down and do nothing, moan about their lives being where they are now, and just complain on how unfair everything is.

News flash! Life never hands anything on a silver platter without a payment being made. Forget about what the “world” is trying to offer you—you need to be like this person to be happy; you need to marry people like this to be satisfied; have a job like this to earn so much money; the car, the house, the woman. Enough! Self-improvement is not trying to go after what other people have but rather it’s about something you already have. Let us break it down. First we have “self”, so what does self mean? Easily put, you—no-one else but you. If you haven’t figured this much out, then, wow!

Now let’s look at the word “improvement”—the advancement of something that is physically or mentally around us. If you are continuously searching for happiness via self-improvement but are constantly looking at others, then what happens when no one is around? Where, then, will the inspiration for improvement come from? What about study? If you want to improve then look for help if you’re struggling, read your readings and stop procrastinating. This can make improvements throughout your studies, but the question is: with this improvement are you looking for short-term happiness or long-term?

Is happiness something we pick up along the way or something we forget? Here is a thought—shouldn’t we be happy everyday regardless of the circumstances? Well probably not, but we should remain happy with the fact that when we wake we are still breathing, and if there is no chalk mark around our body then that’s even better. So many people look for happiness in others, but people will always let you down no matter how close they are to you, that is human nature. We are all flawed—no-one is perfect, even if the media tells you they are. What about health, you say? Eat healthy and stop eating for two. Without sugar-coating this: stop being a dog. Now happiness can also be found in faith—likewise:

“Oh, happy day
(oh, happy day)
Oh, happy day
(oh, happy day)
When Jesus washed
(when Jesus washed)
oh, when he washed
(when Jesus washed)
when Jesus washed
(when Jesus washed)
he washed my sins away!”
– Edwin Hawkins, 1967

Some people may criticise this without actually understanding the meaning behind it all. They will say: Yeah, I know, I’ve heard it all before. But I tell you this—knowing and believing are two different things. If you know, what actions have you taken to show others your understanding, have you put it into practice? Or do you feed off other people’s happiness by putting them down? And so I leave you with this. Where to start? First, start with changing your way of thinking, you can’t change anything if you don’t change that thought inside your head. Positive thinking starts now, not tomorrow.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Your Name says:

    While positive thinking is well and good, I feel that it’s important to note that some people will need more, specifically drugs and the advice of a medical professional. The “act happy and you’ll be happy” philosophy prevented me from going on antidepressants for a long time because I felt it would be weak of me and demonstrate my failure to cure myself through positive thought alone.

    Three months after going on antidepressants, I am happier than I’ve been in three years, and am once more able to take an interest in my life. Positive thought certainly has its place, and I hope this doesn’t read as an attack on you, but it concerns me that vulnerable people may read this column and take away from it that they just need to try harder to be happy, and they’ll be cured. It isn’t always possible.

  2. tuhoe boy says:

    No its not always possible. But if a whole bunch of unhappy people take that first step by at least attempting to think more positively about themselves, is that a bad thing?

    It is my belief that, if some form of resolution to depression or unhappiness could be achieved without the use of drugs, even for one in fifty of the people who suffer and have read this article, then that is a postive outcome. Like you said, this is not an attack aimed at anyone on anti depressants or anything/anyone else – I have been there myself. But if a bit of positive thinking is going to be even a small step towards happiness, then that’s ok by me.

  3. AsianforJesus says:

    Amazing, nothing to be corrected here. Everything written very precisely. Moving. Inspiring. Great! =)

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