Monday, 23 May 2016

Positive way of thinking and happiness

 ''Your happiness depends on the quality of your thoughts''
-Marcus Aurelius

Reality is subjective. The way the world is, for us at least, is the way we perceive it. The world around us does not really matter as much, as how we understand and see it. There are people that have less goods than us, for example money or even people with less love in their lives. There are also people that have more wealth and more love in their lives than us. But, there are happier and unhappier people, in both categories! That is due to the fact that they perceive reality in a different way, even though reality is the same. As a result the only thing that defines our happiness is us and it is not our environment that has to change in order for us to be happy, but ourselves!
 Every action we take, every decision we make, small or big, is based on our character, for our character is what defines our choices. A different person in our place, might not had succeeded as much as we have or he may had given up long ago. But he may also had achieved more than us, or he might had reached happiness. That is because of the different choices he would make, due to his different character. And so by bettering ourselves we may improve our decision process, and therefore change our environment in a positive way! Therefore, one should not wait for a significant change in his environment in order to reach happiness, e.g. get a promotion in his work, but instead he should focus on bettering himself and therefore change the way he perceives the world, so that he may be happy with what he already has. Plus, people wish from their nature to have increasingly more goods that they already have and that is why they never feel fulfilled. If someone's mentality compels him to acquire more and more goods in order to be happy, he will never achieved happiness because for example his promotion at work will not be enough for him. In my article at ( ) i make my case that the only way to be happy is to improve yourself. 
 Of course, one might argue that if someone has all the goods he could possibly wish for, for example wealth or a beautiful family, how could he be unhappy? Also, if one has nothing, how could he be happy? Plotinus, a great ancient Greek philosopher stated that ''A soul can not see beauty, if she is not beautiful by herself ''. Socrates said, that if something has good inside it, then it must be by its nature, beautiful in some degree. Meaning a good deed, a kiss, a forgiveness or a benign idea hides beauty inside it, for those who can see it. This results from the fact that the real beauty in this life does not hide inside a big house, a burger, a car or between the legs of a hot woman but it lies inside a large family, a poem or a song, and inside the hug of the woman you love. Because happiness, joy and bliss are emotions and not physical objects, and so they are produced by other emotions. And the feelings that are resulting in happiness, are not the joy you feel when you eat a pizza or you lie with a new partner but rather the love you feel for your significant other or the peacefulness that art can fill you with. But, in order to be able to appreciate these emotions, one must also have a good soul. That is because similar things attract similar. If one has only light in his soul then it is light that he seeks. But if one has only negative emotions, like hate, then he does not seek kindness but he seeks to hurt others. The ''more light'' one has in his soul, the more he is attracted to kindness and good and so the more he can reach happiness, because he is searching for it into the right ''places''! For example, if one has love inside him, then he is looking to find love, and so he seeks his soulmate and not a different partner for sex every night, and that results in him finding happiness. On the other hand, if one's psychological world is being ravaged by resentment, then he does not seek to see other people smiling, but instead he wishes to hurt them and so he can never reach happiness, for he is searching for it in the wrong things! Of course, humans have both good and bad inside them and so the better characters they are, the more they can reach happiness because the more they are attracted to the things that lead to happiness, live kindness and spiritual goods! As a result, if someone is not a good soul, then not only does he not look for it in the ''right'' things, but even if he finds it then he is unable to recognize it! Socrates was a firm believer that people who are not just and kind can not find happiness and he unfurls this idea into a number of his book, e.g. Gorgias or the Republic.
 Then from logic stems the following question of how can someone improve himself. There are of course a lot of ways one can do that, for example by deciding to forgive the ones who hurt him, instead of taking retribution or by having as a role model a person like Socrates, that will lead him into a just and fair life. Also he may achieve that by acquiring wisdom via reading philosophy or by constantly helping the people around him. Most of all, he has to take control of his negative emotions (hate, anger, jealousy etc.) and eradicate them, while focusing at his positive ones. But in this article i will focus only on the benefits one may acquire from the positive way of thinking. The way one thinks affects the way he feels because the only thing that affects our emotions are ultimately our thoughts. One initially might say that it is also our environment, but after some thought he would understand that our environment affect the way we think and our thoughts are what affects our feelings. For example if one tries to smile and to talk with words that have a positive meaning, even though he does not feel like doing it, that will result in a positive effect on his emotions. This is a way that one may ''trick'' his mind into thinking that it is happy. Even though he initially might not want to do that, in time he will get used to it and then he will do spontaneously without trying and that will help him ''persuade'' his body that he is happy and ultimately his emotions too. Also, one by doing positive thoughts he can ''trick'' his soul into happiness. For example, a few days ago my mother had a job interview. In the beginning she had a way of thinking, like ''if i don't like that job i can always find another one'' or ''if they don't pay well i can always leave, no pressure''. Even though she thought that this was a positive way of thinking, it caused her anxiety. That is due to the fact that her mentality was actually negative. What she should have been thinking from the start should be more like, ''this job is going to be great and so there is no reason for me to get stressed'' and ''of course they are going to pay me well, why am i even worrying?''. When she changed her way of thinking, then the anxiety faded away and also the job proved to be as good as she thought it would be. The power of the mind is incredible. Negative way of thinking can cause anxiety and even health issues, while it is proven that patients that have a good mentality heal faster (placebo effect). Great incite gives Louise L Hay's book ''Heart Thoughts'', that recently came to my hands when my mother decided to read it, and even though i disagree with some parts of her philosophy it is really good and helpful. Additionally, one should try to accept and love himself as he is now, and so, then he may picture and focus hard on what he wishes to become and embrace it, so that he may be it. Also, he should speak positive to himself and ''tell'' him what he wants to become. He should say ''I am taking responsibility. I am aware that there is something i can do to change. I deserve to change and I believe I am worth it.'' because if he does not believe that he is worth to improve and become better, then he will not change. It is our divine purpose to improve ourselves, to take control over our negative emotions and desires and so walk the path to God. Furthermore, he should get in touch with his emotions, so that he may control them. For example, if he feels angry he should release his anger, by physical exercise e.g. running or playing tennis. Finally he has to understand that God loves all humans, including him and since God is good He wishes to help him. So let Him help you and show you the right path in life. Never forsaken the fact that your thoughts is what defines your character and your character defines your soul and there is nothing more important than taking care of your soul.
 Summarizing, our happiness depends only on ourselves. We can change our emotions and thoughts and so improve ourselves and ultimately achieve happiness. For example, if one has no good inside him, in the sense that he is filled with negative feelings, then he is unable to appreciate true beauty and therefore he may never know joy, serenity and bliss. Finally, it is really easy to manipulate yourself into believing that he feels good, by acting positive (e.g. smile even if you don't wish to do it) and primary by thinking positive and that will eventually result into actually making you feel good and happy!

                                                                                         Andreas Sarchosis

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