I often watch other people and marvel at how easy they find it to say the right thing. Some people just have that knack don’t they? They know what to say – be it a compliment, witty one liner, or a cutting remark to take someone down. They know which tone of voice to use. They know who to flatter and who to put-down. The world belongs to these people. I have an intense dislike for these people. However, on the same note – I admire them.
If I think that I’ve said something that may have hurt someone, even though my intention was not to do so – I will dwell on it and feel bad about it for a long time. Those other people are coated with Teflon – even if they can tell that their message may have hurt someone, or made their life that bit more difficult – they shrug it off immediately and continue with their day. Yes, I have an intense dislike for these people. However, these are the people who seem to ‘get ahead’ in life more easily than others.
Not so long ago – and who am I kidding? Even right now – the measure of success in many people’s eyes is, the amount of money or monetary assets that you have acquired. The more money you have, the more successful you are. The more respect you have earned. The more powerful you are.
I have to thank the incredible people, who over the years, who have fought to drive the importance of good mental wellbeing to the forefront of people’s minds. It’s been a long time coming. There’s still much to work on in this massive area. We know to keep our bodies healthy – whether we make those choices or not, that’s up to us – but we know the basic principles – eat healthy and exercise, you’ll be ok. It’s not so easy with mental well-being though. Who teaches you how to have a healthy outlook on life? Who teaches you how to regulate your emotions? Who teaches you how to manage when life seems unbearable? This huge responsibility is placed on the shoulders of parents and teachers. But who teaches them? Is life experience supposed to make you an expert somehow? But what if you don’t have the tools to deal with these things yourself? What happens then?
The holy grail – the absolute measure of success is something that no one can see and no one else can know. Because the absolute measure of success is whether you are happy. Not a temporary, fleeting happy – yayy I bought myself a new TV; yayy we’re going away at the weekend; yayy I’m going on a date tonight. Not that. Those are external influences creating a temporary illusion of happiness – because from those highs – there are lows… What can I buy next? Ohhh we’re going back home! Well, that date was rubbish, or I’m unsure; will he call or will he not?
Happiness is your day to day state of mind. When you close your eyes, is there a feeling of contentment or emptiness? When no one is around – how do you feel? Only YOU can know that. On the surface, on the outside, you may have created a glossy, sparkly image of your life that others see and admire, or envy. Secretly, you like that. But really, when you are on your own. No one is around. Are you happy? Because if you are – you’ve hit the jackpot. You’ve achieved the holy grail.
I’m a people watcher. I like to observe. I enjoy it so much. It’s not often that I get to do it though – you can’t people watch when you’re out and about with your children; you can’t people watch when you’re working. But as it’s a habit, every so often, I’ll see something that fascinates me.
I believe that over the years, I have seen a handful of truly successful people. Ironically, they aren’t the ones with the most wealth or power. They aren’t even the people with the grandest houses, or the best clothes, or the prettiest faces with the slimmest bodies. The people who seem truly blessed by happiness, are the ones who have a hugely developed sense of gratitude for what they have. They know what their priorities are in life – and it’s people – normally their family; and financially, they make do. They earn enough to eat, pay the bills, have a roof over their heads and are satisfied with what they have. They don’t compare how much they have with others, nor do they judge others. They practise being happy. Making the most of the time that they spend with others. And in the process, when you come in contact with these people, they make you feel warm inside, because their contentment is infectious. Conversations with these people will realign you and they remind about what is really important in life – and what things won’t matter, a month or two months, or perhaps a year down the line.
I’m no expert. I don’t pretend to be one. I just watch. Reflect. And try to live my life so that I, and most importantly, my family, are the happiest that they can be. And when I come home every night, close the door, and get the loveliest hugs and cuddles from the most gorgeous people that I know – I know that I have done something right in life….