You're fine, you don't believe it, but you are. Here's the truth guys, to be happy you have to want...

You're fine, you don't believe it, but you are. Here's the truth guys, to be happy you have to want it, only wanting it is not enough. If you want it then you have to go get it. Happiness is not going to come to you; sitting in your room wishing to be happy won't necessarily make it happen. That being said, thoughts are also very powerful. Positive thinking combined with action can equal happiness. We live in a city where everyone is trying to go and get, trying to make a name for themselves, however, we do not always have the resources that we need to make it happen. This is a city where the government doesn’t allocate much to the arts and culture scene and it can often seen like our efforts are futile. Staying motivated, optimistic, happy, is hard but in Ottawa it is even harder.

Here is a mini guide to happiness; the universal first, middle, and last step to this guide is ignorance. Ignorance is truly bliss and that's the ugly truth.

Step 1: Ignore It

That is what I mean by ignorance. Sometimes, ignoring certain things that will bring you unnecessary anxiety or stress is best. These things that will ultimately make you unhappy should not be willingly walked into. If you know you are uncomfortable in tight spaces, don't go there. If you do not enjoy crowds, don't do it. If you see your friend's man cheating, ignore it. UNLESS, you anticipate and understand the reactions they will create. If you are uncomfortable with the outcomes and know that it will lead to YOUR unhappiness, please, ignore it.

Step 2: Love Yourself Selfishly

There is one cliché I'm going to throw at you: love yourself. The REAL key to being happy (whether people want to admit it or not) is to be selfish. Constantly, there are obstacles threatening to bring you down and incapacitate you. Before you can make anyone else respect you or love you, you have to respect and love yourself. When you truly love someone you want to see them happy, you want to do everything you can to see them happy. Why not do everything you can to see yourself happy? Most everything you do, whether it be for yourself or for others, will contribute to your happiness.

This is going to sound slightly controversial but, do good deeds, do them with the intention of helping but also do them for your benefit. Doing something good for others not only gives to the receiver, it gives to the giver. Sometimes the giver might even receive more than the receiver. That is because doing something that brightens someone's day or improves someone's life brings you satisfaction. It gives a sense of accomplishment and the feeling of being useful. This feeling is what many strive for everyday, to feel accomplished and to feel needed.

Step 3: Your Wants vs. Their Wants

Do what you want and not what society wants you to do. Trying to live up to expectations and fit into molds that are not universal or one size fits all are some of the main causes of unhappiness. We can look at it from the standpoint of Ottawa and Toronto. It seems to me that often times Ottawa is striving to be more like Canada's most infamous city, but truly, they should simply be themselves. Let us stop trying to be what others expect us to be and do what makes us happy. Do what you want to do. Just because everybody has a black or grey car does not mean you also need to get one, if you like yellow cars, go ahead and get a yellow car!



Step 4: Avoiding Relapse

Alright, so you've done it, you have reached that sweet happiness and life is going well. You are happy with your friends, you are happy with your grades, you are happy with your love life, you are really happy in every aspect in your life. But you wake up one morning and you are in a blue cloud. You are feeling very sad and your heart is heavy. This is usually nothing major, everyone has a bad day or two, it doesn't mean that you are unhappy or that you are doing anything wrong.

Many of us just use this time to reflect and see if all that we have in our life is what we want and need. If it is not then we change it. We are forever growing and changing therefore our wants are continuously changing with us. It is probable that you will never reach absolute, complete, happiness, but you can get pretty close if you listen to what your heart is telling you. It is important that you remember that perfect happiness is rare and that something will always bother you. If you let those things trouble you too much you will always feel unfulfilled.

Those small one or two days of gloom; if harped upon can lead to longer bouts of sadness. To avoid a relapse into your previous state of unhappiness you have to quickly deviate your mind. Do something you know will bring a smile to your face, talk to a friend, eat your favorite food, watch a FUNNY movie (no depressing dramas), call your grandmother. Do anything you can think of that will take your mind off your blues. DON'T isolate yourself.

Life can be a deeply satisfying experience or it can be an excessively disappointing one. Life is also the greatest gift known to man, make the most of it. If you are not happy in your current position, your current state of mind, etc., change it. People are not always dealt the best cards in life but the opportunities are out there and everyone has the power to be great, make history and choose to be happy.