My tips for happiness build on what I’ve said before about Being Selfish. I’ve repeated and expanded them below.
- Treat yourself as a friend. You may not even like yourself very much right now. But you can still act in ways that will help you. To do this, you need to treat yourself as kindly and sympathetically as you would your best friend.
- Be honest with yourself. You know what you really want if you take the time to think about it. Stop trying to deny how you really feel and admit it when you need something.
- Take care of yourself. Eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired, drink when you’re thirsty, change your posture when you’re in pain, get up and walk around every so often.
- Treat yourself. Have a Diet Coke instead of tea. Have a dessert when it’s only time for lunch. Get a softer, fuzzier blanket to wrap up in.
- Pursue activities that make you happy, no matter how silly. Watch kid’s TV. Listen to music. Read comics. Write fan fiction. Look at beautiful scenery. Dance by yourself.
- Dream up better futures for yourself. Be wild, be imaginative, be crazy. Make your dreams whatever you want. They don’t have to be possible, only exciting.
- Plan for the future. Decide how you can get as much as you want of what you want in your life.
There is also another stage, but this should only be gone into once you’re happy and capable of remaining that way on your own.
- Find out what you’re good at. This could be writing, cooking, talking to people, singing, puppet shows, or anything at all.
- Find out what you love doing that gives you a sense of purpose. This differs from what you’re good at, as we’re not looking at a talent, but rather what activity pleases you most and makes you feel fulfilled when you do it. I enjoy explaining things, especially in terms of metaphors or comparisons.
- Find out what you care about. This could be your vision of the future, or God, or religion in general. Mine is improving other people’s understanding, particularly of what’s important in life.
- Put them all together. When you combine them, you find out what makes you special. You discover your gift which you can then use to help others.
- Continually use, practice and improve your gift. Once you find out what it is that you can do, do it. Using your gift can be a great source of joy.
The reason why I believe it should be done in this order is covered in what I said about Sharing is Not Caring, although from a different angle. I think we pick up the concept of unselfishness young. Too young often to have first picked up the ability to be happy on our own.
One way to look at the right order of selfishness and unselfishness is religion. Jesus said it best in the Greatest Commandment, when he said “Love God and love one another”. That is the commandment of unselfishness and love right there.
However, for improved understanding by people like me who have a self-worth disorder, I think this would be better read as “God loves you, so therefore, love God, love yourself and love others, all as he has loved you.”
I won’t go into the Bible here as I know it’s a polarizing topic. However, I can relate those words to the Bible if anyone wants more clarification on why I think they’re true. Those words make up my prescription for a happy life: Show love to what made us, show love to ourselves and then we’ll be able to show love to others.