14 January 2010

Life Tips 101 - The Secret of Happiness

It's been said that I am a miserable sod.  I moan and complain about everything, I rant and bitch and grumble and groan all the time and therefore by extension I must feel pretty miserable all of the time as well, I mean living under such a massive cloud of constant disappointment and disgust how could I not be miserable?  Well I’m here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.  I would honestly consider myself to generally reside on the sunny side of the street, a contented dweller of happy town and I know it might not be obvious from outside appearances but it's true.  The rant machine himself is happy because he knows The Secret of Happiness…

"Tell us" the blog readers of the world cried "Tell us please oh wonderful blog prophet. Share with us this miracle secret that allows you to feel happy even in the face of all you have shown us.  Tell us how to be happy in a world of shit biscuits and arse cakes, for we too like you oh wonderful sage of the braingunk have the need to be happy"…

… yes well ok then if you put it like that I will tell you.  I will share with you the Secret of Happiness.

You see the first principle that you need to get your head around, is that of all the creatures on the earth, we are the only ones who even think we need to feel happy!  All of the other creatures are just content to "be".  They get on with their lives and what happens to them happens to them.  If that makes them feel good they enjoy it,  if it makes them feel bad they dislike it and deep down under all of our self made neurosis, we too can be just like them if we decide to. 

Secondly you need to realize that the quest for “happiness” is a completely futile one.  Happiness only exists inside your mind and therefore the only place you really need to look to find it, is within yourself.  No external object or force can create happiness, it resides within you already.

Lastly and most importantly you need to realize that happiness is not a permanent state that one can attain.  It is not something that a person can always "be".  Even the happiest bastard in the world will have his off days, his blue periods, his moments of self doubt, of self loathing even,  because happiness comes in small packages. Happiness is an orgasm or a cigarette, it's a chocolate bar, it's a shot of bourbon, it's a home game victory or the words "I do", it's any one of a million little things that you find pleasing.  Happiness is not some kind of "life state", it is a small moment of pleasure that allows you to forget the rest of your woes, it’s a moment in time when everything is good… but it’s just a moment not an eternity. 

Think of happiness as a drug, a drug to which you and I and everyone in the world are all addicted to (and in many ways that's exactly what it is). Happiness is a drug and we're all hooked.  You get a fix and you feel great, but like all drugs eventually that feeling fades away and you are without it again.   I'd estimate that the effects of a moment of happiness can last for no longer than maybe twenty minutes at tops and generally much less than that. 

So when the feeling of elation fades, you experience the come down.  Now this comedown isn't as noticeable or as painful as the comedowns from man made drugs, but it's there,  and it's very subtle.  The obvious thing to do at this point is of course (my little junkie) get some more happiness drug in you… and this is generally what a lot of people do.  I'm guilty of it myself, there are many little pleasures in life that keep me ticking over, and to some my life might seem like one very long string of events that have been engineered towards getting me another few moments of happiness.  You see if you get enough of those little moments, the gaps in between seem less of a downer.  If you get enough little shots of the happiness drug by munching your way through a whole packet of biscuits… or by going drinking with friends every night or flying a kite or whatever (who knows), you'll feel happy more than you feel down. You’ll build up a stock of happy memories to get you through those blue periods. And yes sure if you head down a route where your pleasures relate to some form of physical self abuse you're going to run into problems later on (I'm having to deal with a few of those problems now myself).  But it'll keep the wolf of sadness away from your door for just a little while every time. 

So I hope you can see that the secret of a happy life isn’t  some ill conceived quest for an intangible and unattainable state of being… it doesn’t require a massive upheaval or huge change in your life (a mistake many make)… it’s simply making sure that you do the things that you like and maybe even experiment to find more things that you like or like doing.  Because if you can, and you can then string enough of these little moments of pleasure together… you will eventually realise (as I did)... that you are in fact simply happy.