Happiness is a skill you can learn.
Leo Tolstoy was wrong when he wrote that first sentence in Anna Karenina, “All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
As I get older, I realize that all the reproaches, deceptions, and arguments end up looking like commonplaces in the life of any family.
Boredom, laziness, and monotony wear down relationships.
And it is even typical to see one of the partners trying to find the lost illusion in a different bed.
But it doesn’t work
You can change your partner, your home, your neighbors, and maybe even your city, but sooner or later, time will do its work again and cover your life with the mantle of routine. And everything will be the same again.
Your happiness cannot depend on someone else.
You cannot look for happiness outside yourself because you usually confuse it with pleasure. And it’s not the same.
Or worse, you can find it and then lose it; build a perfect world, and then Hurricane Katrina comes along and suddenly wipes it all out.
You don’t recover from that quickly.
I know a guy who found a good job, a beautiful wife, had a couple of kids, retired at the top of his career, and was left with a good pension, three houses, and two cars (the whole package).
One day his daughter’s boyfriend got offended by a silly thing and prevented him from seeing his grandchildren. His wife and his daughter supported this fatal decision. And after three months, he divorced his wife at 73, and no one in his family spoke to him.
You don’t have to believe me, but I guarantee you that the guy was not the cause of the situation. He always worked his ass off for his family, and now his family doesn’t give a damn about him.
The guy is still standing. One day he told me, “Alberto, in the end, you have to take care of yourself because the rest can fail you at any moment.”
His words were not resentful. It was the voice of experience.
Don’t get too attached to others. Try to be happy in solitude a little bit every day. Build your inner world, and don’t let anyone sneak in and destroy it for you. Keep a little for yourself: you will need it. You will need you.
Cut your losses
Joan Didion once wrote, “ In the golden land, the future is always more attractive because no one remembers the past.”
My head decodes this phrase differently. To me, it refers to self-deception. We all self-deception and lies are always a source of unhappiness.
If your business is not working, quit before you ruin your life.
If your marriage can’t be fixed even by a marriage counselor, quit before you turn what little love you have left into hate.
If you feel like a stranger in your own body every time you meet your lifelong friends because you no longer share anything in common, look for other friends.
Stop deluding yourself with a future that won’t come. Remember the past. And you will see that in the end, everything ends up much worse when you put up with a situation until you explode. Save yourself time and unnecessary pain.
Learn to live with the storm.
TD Jakes said the other day, “It’s naive to think that the planting of good exempts us from the presence of bad.”
Doing things correctly does not eliminate adversity from your life.
Tell you something you need to know: bad things will happen to you, my friend. And thinking that you don’t deserve them will only increase your unhappiness.
You can’t live bitter about setbacks. They are part of life.
My grandfather used to say, “Life is a tricky mistress, she makes it hard for you, and when you achieve her favor, she takes away all at once what you worked so hard to achieve.”
And he was right. But you have to learn to live with it. Because if you don’t, life becomes too much of an uphill struggle.
Life is a succession of problems with only one possible ending: death. So make it worthwhile by squeezing the most out of each day, helping others, and being positive. Accept change and adversity, don’t resist, and your level of happiness will increase.
A virtual hug