I have always been known for finding the positive in every situation; one who looks at the glass as overflowing rather than half full. Growing up in sunny South Florida, I lived day-to-day life in a happy state; feeling blissful in the present moment and optimistic about life. I thrived in the sunshine and was eager to explore the world around me. I had not known anything different until I made a huge life change.
I decided to move to a different country.
Moving to UK in my mid-twenties was one of the most exciting adventures in my life. I was thrilled to travel, learn about new cultures and explore another way of life. However, within only a few short weeks upon arrival, I realized something had changed within me. I had not seen the sunshine for quite some time and I found myself becoming subdued in my personal life, pessimistic at times, and somewhat anxious. Unless I flew somewhere sunny, I felt as if I could not escape from the gloomy cloud that hung above me.
I began searching for the secret to living a happy life, one that is consistently fulfilling, while we move to different places, and confront sporadic life changes and stressors at various stages in our lives. I read countless articles about happiness and found the definitions begin to intertwine. They continued to inspire me, but for some reason there was never one that fully resonated with me until a recent trip to Bali.
On my last night in Ubud, while I was secretly hoping for good weather back in London, a friendly Balinese local shared his view on how to live happy wherever you are, no matter what is going on in your life. He used some of the sayings I had heard about or read previously, but on this occasion it felt like he was speaking the true language of happiness. His desire to articulate this concept, combined with the way he gracefully expressed himself helped me to discover a new meaning of happiness.
“You can’t truly appreciate happiness without feeling sadness, see light without seeing darkness, feel good if you do not know what it’s like to feel bad, and appreciate the beauty of life without experiencing the ugly. There needs to be a balance. The Balinese people balance work, prayer, spending time with friends and family, and appreciate any obstacle that comes their way; whether that has to do with finances or living without means to travel abroad. A life obstacle reminds us of what happiness is truly about.”
My perception of happiness began to shift.
I began to accept that unavoidable bumps may occur along the journey of life, but our perception might be the key to our state of happiness. Perhaps those experiences can be looked at as reminders that help us to appreciate the good we have in our lives, reminding us of what to be thankful for. I felt silly for letting a cloudy sky previously consume me. From that moment on, when I walk outside and it’s a gloomy day, I smile at the sky and I am reminded of the things that I am grateful for in my life.
Before you continue your day, take a moment to think about what is truly important to you. What makes your heart happy? Take another moment to appreciate those things and let go of anything you cannot change. Find your own balance to happiness. Find what makes your heart happy.
The next time you are faced with an obstacle or something that normally would cause you to question your happiness, let it remind you of something good you have in your life. Whatever it is, I hope it brings a smile to your face and happiness to your heart.
Appeared on Huffington Post UK