I have discovered the key to living a happy life. The answer is simple and straight forward. You and I have most likely been told this on numerous occasions and in various ways, but it never clicked for me until a recent trip to Bali.
On one of my last nights in Bali, a friendly Balinese local told me the answer using familiar sayings we have all heard before, but he said it in a different way. Maybe this time I was more open to the answer or maybe I was listening genuinely, but for some reason this moment changed my perspective on life and happiness.
He said something along the lines of, “You can’t truly appreciate happiness without feeling sadness, see light without seeing darkness, feel good if you don’t know what it’s like to feel bad, and appreciate beauty without ugly…there needs to be balance.”
For me it was a light-bulb moment and also a reminder of previous fears I had.
My deepest fear of all was that something bad would happen if I was too happy.
I never wanted to feel bad or sad, nor make others feel that way. So, I avoided uncomfortable conversations and probably missed out more than I would have if I accepted that good sometimes comes with bad and happiness may be more deeply appreciated after experiencing sadness.
For me, this man affirmed that to live a truly happy, fulfilled life we need to acknowledge all that comes our way—whether that be a happy or sad moment in our lives. There will definitely be unavoidable bumps along the road but maybe those will help you to appreciate the good times, see the brightness at the end of the tunnel, and ultimately might just lead you to living happier than you could have ever imagined possible.
Before my trip to Bali, I read that the happiest people in the world live in Indonesia. I asked many locals, “How is everyone here so much happier than everywhere else?”
Many locals can not afford to own a car of their own, they wear simple clothes, might share a home with all their extended family and due to financial restraints a lot of people are unable to travel in their lifetime. They often live on a day to day basis struggling to make a living, but no matter what they will only greet you with a smile—they say they are taught to smile with their eyes and it truly is the most heartfelt smile you will ever see.
So, how are they the happiest people in the world?
They all answered in their own ways that they do their best to live a balanced life.
They balance work, play, prayer, spending time with their friends and family, always wear a smile from ear to ear, and most importantly appreciate any obstacle that comes their way—because that obstacle reminds them what the key to happiness is truly about.
We all have different things that are important to us. Find what is truly important to you, appreciate those things and find your own balance.
The Balinese and Indonesians promise we will live much happier lives. 🙂