I saw this post on Instagram this week, another in an ever growing list of misty eyed, ‘far away look’ quotes, set in a sepia tone, that are meant to make the person posting look like a social media philosopher.
I don’t know why, but they get right on my goat.
It took me on to search the #happiness hashtag to see what other absolute classics cropped up. In delightful scripts and set over pictures of beaches, I found some real golden nuggets.
‘Do More of What Makes You Smile’
& my all time favourite…
‘Have happy thoughts. They will shine out of your face and you will always look lovely’.
As great as these quotes look tattooed on your wrist or written on your chalk board, they aren’t very applicable to everyday life are they? They are kind of only suitable for those of us lucky enough to be lying in a hammock with a muscly man fanning us with banana leaves, whilst we look down at our naturally toned stomach.
This isn’t to say there’s no hope for us…the commuting, working, gym goers of the world. But there’s a much more sensible and pragmatic way to seek contentment.
And here it is.
.The Practical Guide To Being Happy.
Accept situations for what they are, don’t judge them against how you thought they were going to turn out.
Life aint a fairytale, and as it goes, you are actually more likely to find the love of your life on bloody Tinder than catching the eye of someone across a crowded room at a party ‘you weren’t even going to go to’. Doesn’t make your story any less lovely. Be ok with it.
Make an effort with yourself.
If you go out looking like a bag of shit, you’ll feel like a bag of shit. It’s science. Get to the gym, buy a hairbrush, find your inner peace.
Learn to enjoy your own company.
There is no truer state of happy than that found in a pair of jogging bottoms, on your sofa, eating Dominos straight from the box, in the view of nobody. Apart from, perhaps, the state of happy found at the bottom of a pot of hummus. But to save the cholesterol, just jam on your own one night a week. It’s bliss.
Don’t expect less.
That’s literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Expect more. Why lower your expectations? Live by the analogy that you would never settle for a Happy Meal when you had every intention of going Extra Value with a side of nuggets. Life should be like this. Chase the Big Mac dream.
Delete people that make you feel bad about who you are or what you do.
In short, avoid arseholes. Being judged for drinking on a school night, or getting sideways glances for going back out with the guy you know isn’t really very good for you, isn’t what you need in life. Stay close to the mates that will open the wine for you and give you a high five for getting your kicks. Everyone else can play with traffic.
Be ok with the past being the past.
Things end for a reason. Jobs, relationships, friendships, Breaking Bad. Leave them where they belong and don’t dwell.
Don’t over commit.
You’ve set amount of hours in the day and days in the week. Don’t try and tear yourself in five different directions. Be practical about what you can do. Don’t stress yourself out and don’t piss people off by always being late. Simples.
Realise your worth.
If you’re a bit of a bastard, then fully expect to be kicked around. If you’re the best then demand to be treated as such…or just not like an idiot. Don’t get too ahead of yourself, but don’t be a doormat.
Don’t compromise on the big things.
Yes, back down on the inane crap like bed linen colour choices and washing up. Don’t compromise on the things you’ve always dreamed of. Travel, kids, an x-box in the bathroom etc.
Stop trying to improve your physical self.
Ok, be healthy and abide by the basics of personal hygiene. But on the whole, you got what you got. Deal. True story – confidence is attractive. Constantly folding your arms in front of the bust you view inadequate isn’t. Enjoy the fact that your bras don’t resemble circus tents.
Don’t focus too heavily on work.
True, enjoy what you do, you are there A LOT. But don’t blur the lines. It’s the thing that should pay for us to get on planes, treat ourselves and eat in places that aren’t Wimpy. It shouldn’t be the thing that gets in the way.
My least favourite people are those with ‘five year plans’. Something will f-up in the matrix and you’ll end up disappointed. Have a vague idea of what you’d like. Other than that, go with the bloody flow.
Don’t be uptight.
Not only will it ultimately lead to wrinkles and early onset angina, nothing is really worth it. Save getting wound up for the day you get declared bankrupt, for the day you loose someone close, for the day United get relegated. Don’t waste energy on delayed trains or arsey emails. Chill, Winston.
Have a vice.
Smoke, swear, juggle naked, eat Doritos in the morning, drink gin through your eye if you want. But have that little thing that’s yours, that you probably shouldn’t do, but that makes you feel nicely dirty.