By Amrin Pisey
I was once really happy when I was young. I spent almost all of my childhood time with mud, nature, old toys and dolls. Back then, life was so peaceful, even though I didn’t have much money, a phone, or freedom. But I didn’t realize that I was experiencing true happiness at all.
I always thought that the true heaven would be when I’m grown up and I can move to the city. I dreamed of having a good job, earning money by myself, buying new modern stuff and having enough freedom to do anything I want. I even wished I could grow up faster and move to the city where I would enjoy my life to the fullest.
However, everything didn’t go as well as what I expected. I felt like there was something missing in my life when I got to the city. I began to be miserable.
I asked myself what caused me to be miserable? At first, I blamed the environment and other people, but I skipped the fact that I was the one who caused my own suffering.
I started to realize that happiness is made! You either create it or you don’t. So I began to create my own happiness by appreciating small things that I always took for granted.
I stopped comparing and started creating a new version of myself.
For almost half of my adulthood, I often compared my weaknesses to other people’s strengths. I liked to compare my school performance to my friends’, what my friends have to what I don’t, and their successes to my failures. Because of that, I always wanted to be like them, or even to be better than them. Then, I ended up being jealous, feeling inferior and unhappy.
The fact is that I failed to realize people’s uniqueness. It isn’t a fair comparison at all. After that, I started to list down things and achievements that life has offered me so far. Then, I came to realize that while my friends are good at some subjects, I am good at other subjects. People have different talents. For example, while my friend is good at writing, I am good at drawing.
So, I don’t try to compare anymore, but I try to invent a new version of myself. Somehow, I feel happier when I see myself becoming more developed and better than I was yesterday. Sometimes, it is better to know that your life is enough because life is a journey, not a competition. And happiness actually doesn’t come from comparison.
I learn to appreciate and to be satisfied with little things in life.
Sometimes, I failed to be grateful for people who are good to me and the little things that make me smile. Because of really wanting to fit in and look cool, I used to dream of having new modern stuff like my friends did. And I took what I had for granted.
I remember that I used to hate having such an old motorbike and laptop. But then I asked myself: What’s the point of having those new things? Will I be happier when I get them? What’s wrong with my motorbike and computer? So far, haven’t they helped me and stayed by my side?
Sometimes, little things in life mean the most. Just like my old motorbike and laptop. Although they’re a bit old, they’re valuable because they always help me to complete tasks that I need to everyday. More than that, they often make me happy and feel safe whenever I am with them.
We may be dissatisfied now with the old things we have, but we may regret it when we lose them. So let’s appreciate them instead.
I try to avoid toxic things and people
As an adult, everyone experiences peer pressure. I used to be in a group of friends who are materialistic and love to gossip.They always convinced me to buy new modern stuff and to talk behind people’s backs… Day by day, I didn’t see any change or growth from them, but only greediness and unhappiness inside their heart. As a result, I chose to distance myself from them. It can sound a bit selfish, but for the sake of my happiness, I needed to do so.
People can have a huge impact on your happiness too. So it is important to choose between getting a good or bad influence from people you surround yourself with. Sometimes, if letting go of toxic things makes you happier, do it.
We all know what it’s like to be unhappy, only the reasons may be different. So are you unhappy at the moment? Let me know what’s bothering you and what the ingredients of your happiness are to fix that. I wish you will share them with me and I would be glad to hear your story. 🙂
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.