How many times did we think that our world is hopeless, unfair, and bad? Maybe, today you already think life is bad. Moreover, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the bad things seem endless. I won’t elaborate on this because you might know it already. Now, all we need is to feel better or to feel good in every situation.
Luckily, we can be happy instantly without any tools. We only need our minds! And we already have it.
Our thought shapes our feeling
Our thought is powerful. It can shape our mood, feeling, and even our life. On Feeling Good, Burns describes this perfectly. We feel about what we think. When you think that everything is bad, no matter how good, you will feel bad. Your thought is not always based on reality. As simple as that!
You might think, but wait, what I think is true! How come it’s not true?
Well, sorry dear friend, I must stop the thought right here. Why? Because that is actually just our thoughts. We think that what we thought is real.
For example, assume it’s 7 pm, and you just finish your task. If you think ‘my free time decreased an hour, ugh’, you may feel grumpy. But when you think ‘I finish work earlier than yesterday, great!’, you may feel better and be happy.
You might think, ‘But wait, everything I think is true. It’s based on the condition anyway! How come what I think is not true?’
Our thought is not (always) real
How come our thoughts are not real? So many experts and philosophers already know this. The wise man from the Romanian empire realized this many times ago. Epictetus, the famous Stoic philosopher, said:
“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
He also said that:
“Men are disturbed not by things, but by view which they take of them”.
What shapes our reality is our perception of things, which comes from our thought. And our thought is not necessarily real. How can we know if it’s not real? The simple-but-not-so-simple is to check the actual fact.
The earth is round. Chicken has two legs–these are real. But, if we think like this: “Oh dear, poor Tony, he become an office boy now; he will just moping the floor all day.” Is this a fact?
The statement of ‘the poor office boy Tony’ is not a fact, but that’s our thought. What do we know, really? Yes, he is an office boy, but probably he’s not moping the floor all day. Even, maybe he is grateful because he has a job right now. You see–same thing, different perspective–that’s what the thoughts can produce!
We can change our way of thinking
Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world. The disarray. I choose to see the beauty. – Dolores Abernathy, Westworld
Fortunately, we can see things from a different view. I watched Westworld and really like Dolores’ quotes. The quotes above obviously said, “I choose to see the beauty”. It tells us that, actually, we can choose to see the beauty. Yes, that’s so simple!
By seeing the beauty, or the goods in life, we can start to see the hope that things can get better. We can become less stressed when facing difficulties in life. We will feel more optimistic and be happy. Even better, we can have a spark of happiness even when things get rough.
Well, you might think that it’s so naive to only see the goods in life. On this note, I’m not suggesting this. After all, everything will always change. To live a happier life, we need to embrace any changes, even good or bad.
I suggest that we balance our thoughts as humans have a negative bias. But if we want to be happy, let’s also look at the positive side.
There’s always a silver lining
I know it sounds so cliché, but every cloud has a silver lining. Let’s look at the positive things that happened during this pandemic. We see the technological improvement in the healthcare system. Tech startups improve, too! Now I get used to using online delivery for groceries. It’s really convenient!
Furthermore, on the environmental side, air pollution gets lower. Highway traffic decreased. We start to exercise more and eat healthier. That’s a huge improvement for humankind!
We can change our thoughts, and we can see the beauty of life. Seeing the good doesn’t mean that we will always ignore the bad things in life. We can consciously or unconsciously choose to see the bad or the good. After all, our thoughts can change from time to time.
For example, let’s assume you were so mad at your coworker. He always asks for your help. We think, ugh, how lazy is he. But when you know that he takes care of his sick wife, your step back. Your negative thought diminished where you think positively about him.
I’m sure you have plenty of thought changes throughout your life. Hopefully, we can see that life is not bad at all. There is always a silver lining to everything. Let’s cherish the moment and be happy!