It’s not selfish to love yourself and to make your happiness a priority, it’s necessary.
One of the things I have learnt over the years is that if we are to be well, we need to make our happiness a priority, and do everything we can to help ourselves feel some peace and joy as often as we can.
So what do I mean by happiness, or perhaps, the most sustainable form of happiness? While we can gain some pleasure from our senses and satisfaction from our achievements, there is a peace and joy that comes from within us and that doesn’t need a ‘reason’, like a new car or a great relationship. It is a feeling of safety and knowing that everything is really going to be alright. It is feeling solid and whole, and therefore is not something that can be easily taken away.
Now of course there is an argument to say that chasing happiness can be elusive, and that having it as a goal can actually be detrimental. My view is that there are many reasons why being as happy as we can be is a worthy goal for all of us. The key, however, is not to chase happiness. Instead, we simply need to do the things that are good for us consistently. Then, over time, happiness can come to us as a nice side-effect of doing those good things.
Given this understanding, the question becomes, why should our happiness be a priority for us? Well there are potentially many reasons. But among them are the following, which I think can motivate and assist us to take the best care of ourselves we possibly can.
1. Happiness is a great motivator
While none of us feel amazing every single day, remembering even one time when we felt a bit of joy can act as a benchmark and be a great motivator, encouraging us to do everything we can to look after ourselves.
So if you have a day when you’re not quite right, it’s great to ask ‘What’s going on here?’ When we ask this sort of question it is then a matter of using one of the many tools available, such as meditation, exercise, gratitude or forgiveness. Ideally then we apply the tool or tools that we think will work best, enabling us to improve the way we feel. One simple approach that I find particularly beneficial is to sit still, close my eyes, and remember a time when I had an enjoyable moment. I then forget the details, and just focus on the feeling associated with that moment, for about ten minutes. I find it gives me a real lift. So if you’re ever in need of a little boost, perhaps you can give this trick a try.
2. We can enjoy every moment
When we make our happiness a priority and start doing the things that are good for us consistently, it allows us to enjoy more of the moments that make up our day. With an inner feeling of peace and joy we can, therefore, enjoy our work more, cope better with life’s inevitable challenges, and smile more often. This is because when we are happy for no reason, our happiness is not as impacted by the events that are external to us. So whether we are at work, at home, on holiday, or doing the dishes, it doesn’t matter too much because the joy is already there, coming from the inside out.
3. Life goes more smoothly
With happiness as a priority and the consistent application of beneficial actions, life can go more smoothly. On the one hand, our brain functions better, we have more energy to attend to life’s challenges, and we are therefore more able to cope with life’s struggles. The other key is that our external circumstances can also change for the better, as our relationships can improve, leading to more opportunities and better problems to solve.
4. We can help others to feel better
The older I get the more I have come to the conclusion that keeping our happiness as a priority is not a selfish thing to do, because we have a responsibility to everyone we interact with to be as peaceful, calm and joyful as we possibly can. This isn’t to say that we will always feel our best all the time, as life does have its ups and downs. But despite this, we should always do our best, and make the best choices we possibly can. This way, when we interact with others, there’s every chance we can make their day better, as well as our own.
Have a great week, and don’t forget to look after yourself.