(It’s not just about having lots of money or leading a CEO kind-of-life.)
I believe that happiness is a matter of perspective. If you always find the good things in people, situations, and everything that you encounter in life, then, you will feel contented. You will feel happy. That’s the word – contentment. People who are content with what they are and what they have ended up to be the most comfortable of all and sometimes, these people are those who have very little in their bank accounts.
My story is prevalent which I have to share because I want people, like me, to realize that there is more to life than money. You will also feel better and live a happy life if you are a person who has contentment. Let me indulge a little bit about “happy” myself and allow me the pleasure of sharing where I’ve been, what I am now, and how I will become ‘til the end of my days – in my hopes and dreams.
My “happy” story
I married at 19 years old. My life was altered on so many levels and a complete 360 degrees. During my college days, the dream was to become a business or corporate lawyer, and so I studied Bachelors in Accountancy and graduated it. But the universe had a different destiny for me. When others were pursuing further studies to get their law degree, I was taking care of two little girls named Dree and Blanca, my kids. They were already in playschool, and I was wholly tending to their needs.
It wasn’t easy at all
It was hard for me because I thought so highly of myself and believed that a successful life was a moneyed life. If you can build a big house, buy expensive designer bags, and have millions under your name, you’re successful. That’s why I wanted to become a lawyer because lawyers have money. But then again, I had to take care of my kids while my husband provided for all of us.
I was penniless in a dramatic sense, frustrated at myself for not being able to achieve my dream profession, and I felt like an underachiever. I am a stay at home mom who used to be a dean’s lister in school (honor student) and is fully aware in exchanging all of that, a “supposed-to-be glamorous and rich lifestyle” for a middle-income earning husband, two daughters, and a 3-bedroom house. It was not my dream! I don’t like this, but why am I here?
Learning how to be contented and happy with my life
It took me a long time to realize that money is never everything. “Look at negative thoughts like reruns of a TV show you’ve seen a million times. Let them play in the background while you shift your focus to something else,” explains Jo Eckler, PsyD, a therapist in Austin, Texas. If only I had found contentment when I was younger, the “me” right now would have been a better and much-improved person. My grandfather had to put it on my face that I am blessed and should be happy with myself. When I saw nothing good about myself, my grandfather saw the best.
He told all his friends one time in a party (senior citizen group parties at home) that all his grandchildren have surpassed his expectations and are very successful in life. My grandfather gave me a special mention to his friends and another cousin who turned out to be a doctor. He put me on par with a medical doctor – I who have nothing in my bank account, no permanent job, and unstable online income.
Look at what you have and not what you don’t have
When his friends left, I asked him – what made me successful as a person, for him, when I have nothing? He smiled and told me to look at my daughters. Both of them are performers in school, in fact, my eldest was a valedictorian in high school with 100% scholarship to Ivy League universities and my youngest excelled in music and arts (she learned how to play the violin at age 5). My grandfather told me that my sacrifices should make me a happy person now because of my children and my 20-year relationship with my husband.
My sacrifices paid off
He reminded me that not everyone has kids who are destined for greatness, but because of my sacrifices, I partially made that happen. My grandfather also added that these days, people get divorced in a year or two, but because of my will and commitment, I managed to have a beautiful 20 years with my husband. “Now, my dear granddaughter. Why can’t you see how successful you are? You should be happy for your achievements!” Honestly, I realized this – “Happy people make healthier choices,” said Scott Glassman, PsyD. And yes, he’s right.
It’s all a matter of perspective
As I said, it’s all a matter of perspective. “Happy people do things differently. They make their emotional wellbeing a priority and practice daily and weekly habits that help them create joy, happiness and satisfaction in their lives.” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC said. It is for you to change the way you look at yourself, your happiness, your success and your life. If you want to smile more often, you can do that, but you have to find a way. It’s not just about the money; what matters are the little things that you think are unimportant. They will impact you the most, and if you’re too blinded, you will never know what the real meaning of happiness in life is.