The key to happiness is to learn to love your life, every bit of it.
The times in your life that are without any negative influence are rare, and you cannot let your happiness depend on it. You might postpone your happiness until you finish your deadlines, lose weight, feel healthier, are in a relationship, find your dream job, until the weather gets better or whatever excuse you come up with. Or, you can try to be happy today; in the situation you are right now, even if that situation sucks. It is an active choice to be content with where you are in life, without exceptions. This choice doesn’t come natural to most of us.
The mere existence of hardships give you the choice to either embrace them and grow from them to the very best you can, or to complain about them and use them as an excuse to be unhappy. Being in a shitty job might suck, but it does provide you with certain privileges: the ability to pay your rent, the ability to feed your children, the ability to learn how to deal with difficult colleagues. Being heartbroken might suck, but it does mean that you experienced love, that you opened up your heart and experienced a certain level of intimacy that some only dream of. It will hurt for sure, but it is only there because it means good things happened as well. Suffering from sickness can make you learn what it means to be vulnerable and dependent. It might teach you to prioritize the things in your life that truly matter. Whatever you are going to and however hard it might feel, I can assure you that it is bringing you good things as well.
There are many things to be grateful for in your life. Start acknowledging them. Do you have any idea how lucky you are to be alive today? To be of service to others? To be able to see and hear? To have had an education? To have Internet access? Trying to be thankful for what you have will help you gain perspective on your overall situation.
I don’t want to give you the idea that I have it all figured out. That would be a disillusion. The bottom line is that being happy and being grateful for everything in your life is a hard lesson to learn. Sometimes I am not sure if I am even making any progress in this area at all. When you are in too deep, you can fail sometimes to see the overall picture. You often don’t see your own progress and development until way after facing hard times in your life. But in the end, the struggles are just as meaningful as the good times.
Being happy starts with a realization of how you want to see things, before actually seeing them like that 24/7. Accepting that gratitude will set you free, accepting that you need to actively choose to love your life with everything that comes with it is a first step. Only after knowing where you want to go, you can start to actively live it.
In order to be happy, you will have to embrace the difficulties as well. They will always be there, so you better start to learn to deal with them today. One day you might realize that the absence of the ugly doesn’t define your happiness.