The secret to happiness

Love yourself irrespective of what others think of you

happy woman in nature

What do we all have in common? We all want to be happy, no matter what age, stage, cultural or economic background we come from. The pursuit of happiness in universal terms simply amounts to feeling loved. Is it surprising then that when someone compliments us it makes our day and criticism makes us feel hurt and wounded?

Where are you looking for happiness?

The pursuit of happiness is really the search for love, approval and appreciation from the outside. Deep down, most of us function from the belief that, "Unless people approve of me, I'm worthless". Most of us grew up believing that the admiration and respect of others [society] will get us the happiness and success we want. We also believe that satisfaction will be attained by romance or marriage, wealth or fame. No wonder then that we all live in a fear of failing and thus the fear almost runs our lives.

As long as our safety depends on how others judge us, we're doomed for a life of disappointment. One of my gurus said to me, "No appointments, no disappointments!" Think about it. Expectation and disappointments are two sides of the same coin.

A familiar fear we all experience is the feeling, "There's something wrong with me, and I'm not OK. If I was OK, they would love me and think I'm important." We hardly ever inquire within ourselves if this is really true, and we may spend our life living this lie.

Why does this feeling originate?

It all starts in our thinking process. Whenever our thoughts focus on what's missing in our life, when we feed a feeling of 'lack', we germinate the seeds of discontent. Our mental chatter becomes, "If only I .. had a companion/ was rich/ was living in America and so on. I would be happy."

The irony is that the more we concentrate on what's missing the more we struggle to win love and appreciation from others and the more we move away from actually experiencing them. Like needy little children, we banish happiness every time we want to impress and win approval from them. Whenever we try to please or manipulate others, or try to influence their reactions, we are increasing fear in our life. No wonder then, that the result is pain. Control creates separation and separation is painful.

Want to know the secret?

The eternal paradox is that in order to feel loved and appreciated we first need to love ourselves. Until then, no act of God or mortal can make us feel valuable and appreciated. When we love and accept ourselves we can allow others to love us. Now how simple is that! As simple as you make it to be! Go on, be happy and spread the secret.

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Ritu Malhotra
Ritu Malhotra is the co-founder of AJNA Center for Learning, Pune. She has been trained in psychology and various alternative holistic methods of self-help. Her metaphysical training enables her to approach health on all levels in a truly spiritual manner.

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