Looking for the road to happiness can seem like a non-stop trek through the jungle.
As I learned on my journey through life, seeking happiness can take time and the short time before problems or unexpected events occur can seem as fleeting as a wave on the beach. The emotion that is often associated with happiness can wash up and then slide away into negative judgments, harsh beliefs and a jaded point of view.
Facing the Past
Learning to avoid judgment was a problem I faced from the time I was very young. Although I did have moments of contentment during my teen years, my early childhood was a time of constant stress, fear and worry. As a result of a traumatic childhood, I am still unable to recall anything that happened before my teen years.
Although the memories were lost, I often felt anxious when I was talking to adults and I was very aware of differences between people. I found myself judging people based on the most insignificant details, often wondering if that time spent laughing with my friend meant that I would lose that connection. I worried constantly and I was always nervous around those I didn’t know.
As I grew older and realized that I couldn’t remember much, I began withdrawing into myself and judging people more freely. I assumed that others had negative intentions and treated them with a frigid courtesy that barely passed for polite.
It was only after I met a friend at work who was openly friendly and constantly smiling that I learned what I was missing. That feeling of happiness I longed for was within reach and I ultimately asked her for advice on how I could obtain the same cheer and joy.
Her advice helped me reach real happiness, though it took me time to learn how to stop judging others.
Let Go of the Past and Future
Learning to love everyone and give a whole heart is challenging when holding onto a future goal or a past hurt. In my experience, holding onto past prejudice and the hurts caused by others is a fruitless endeavor that ultimately leads to a path of sorrow and anger. The best advice I was given to reach for happiness is to forgive the past and move into the present.
It’s the same for those living for a future goal. While it’s important to set goals, it’s also important to focus on the current situation. The future isn’t here yet, so it’s not possible to enjoy that moment. It’s called the present because it’s a gift, so it’s time to focus on that gift and live in the now.
Release Judgmental Thoughts
Letting go of judgmental thoughts is a hard lesson to learn, but it’s ultimately a key part of happiness. I learned to stop judging others when I began volunteering at the Chickasaw Nation Boys and Girls Club Teamwork Camp. It was there that I learned how similar every individual actually is because we are all imperfect creatures. The Chickasaw teamwork and spirit of togetherness inspired me to move past my own insecurities enough to love everyone around me. Trying to apply the spiritual lessons might seem hard, but it is ultimately about learning to love even the mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes and judging others for their missteps, accidents or misunderstandings will only make the situation worse. Take a deep breath and let go of the negative thoughts that come from the actions of others. Forgive them for their mistakes and happiness will ultimately follow.
Life is too short to keep judging others.
By letting go of the judgment, focusing on the present and offering forgiveness for hurts, it’s possible to live a happy life.