Happiness In Being Yourself
Alfred Lua / Written on 17 March 2015
My flat mates last year enjoy partying late into the night while I prefer to be in bed by 10pm and wake up by 5:45am. My house mates this year love spending hours in the kitchen, cooking and baking, while I try to minimise my time spent on cooking as much as possible; sometimes cooking up to 3 meals at once. My friends who exercise, exercise regularly to stay healthy while I exercise a bit too much — about 10 times a week. To some people, I guess I’m quite a weirdo. Many friends asked me why I would wake up so early in the morning when there aren’t classes that early. The answer is simple; because it makes me happy. I like the serenity and quietness in the morning. Despite being different from many of my friends, I am very happy with my life. I believe that there is happiness in being myself and I believe that there’s happiness in being yourself too! ☺
Different Perceptions Of Happiness
It’s Easter break now for my university and many of my friends have flown off for their holiday trip. Many of them asked me where I would be going for Easter. I would reply that I’ve no plans to travel and they would be puzzled. To them, happiness comes from being able to travel away from school to enjoy the fun and carefree time during their trip. To me, being able to sit down and spend the entire day writing this post without thinking about other things makes me happy. Fundamentally, we all feel happy when we can do what we want to do; but what we want to do differs from person to person. In her TED talk on The Power Of Introverts, Susan Cain mentioned that, as someone who is more introverted, she would prefer a nice dinner with her friends than go to a crowded bar. Some people might prefer spending time with friends while others might prefer having alone time. Because we perceive happiness differently, happiness is a very subjective matter. Consequently, this means that what makes other people happy might not be the same as what makes us happy. So it’s perfectly fine in being ourselves, even when that means to be different.
Finding The Right Social Circle
I have a friend who was worried about moving in to her new house next year as her house mates like to drink alcohol but she doesn’t. I can understand her worry as I had the same issue too when I first came to the United Kingdom. There’s a strong drinking culture here while I don’t really like to drink. Would the people in the flat I’m assigned to accept that I don’t drink? (Fortunately, they did. This taught me that some times, we over worry that people would judge us because we are different from them.) Even if they didn’t accept me, I don’t think that it is a big issue; because I would go and find friends who do. For example, my closest friends in school now are my triathlon teammates who, just like me, don’t like to drink. Some have never drank any alcohol before! So instead of worrying that we are different from the people around us, actively seek for friends who think and behave like us.
Changing ourselves to be someone we are not
As much as we want to be accepted by people around us, I feel that we should not force ourselves to change just to be accepted by others. I believe that forcing ourselves to be someone we are not or someone we do not want to be, just so that we would fit in with people around us, would make us less happy. In his post, Happiness Hacks: The 10 Most Unexpected Ways to Be Happy, Backed By Science, Kevan Lee mentioned that:
Research has shown that wedging ourselves into places we don’t fit can lead to undesirable results. As an extreme example, a study from Joanne Wood of the University of Waterloo asked people with low self-esteem to say to themselves “I’m a lovable person,” and at the conclusion of the exercise, participants felt reaffirmed in their low self-esteem rather than empowered to change.
However, if someone wishes to change for the better, as a form of self-improvement, I would greatly encourage that! This is because I feel that he/she would be happier with the change and he/she is not doing it just to fit in with others. So in conclusion, I feel that
- everyone is made to be different
- finding friends that think and act like us is better than forcing ourselves to change just to be socially accepted;
- an exception would be if we are thinking of changing to improve ourselves
Can you imagine how boring the world would be if everyone does the same things and act the same way? So take it as you are helping the world — be yourself! ☺
(This is my 7th blog post of my 30in30 challenge — 30 blog posts in 30 days. Through this challenge, I hope to feel comfortable and more confident with writing and become better at writing.)