Tag Archives: happiness

RULE NO.15: THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS IS SELF-LOVE

Happy Boys - Modern Gay

The secret to happiness is self-love (and not the sexual kind).

It may have become evident that I often discuss “self-love”. I believe that self-love is the hardest thing for gay men to achieve, the lack of which is at the root of most our dysfunctional behaviour. Many gay men still hold onto the shame of being gay, remnants of their closeted days which makes self-love even more allusive. But it’s not just gay men who suffer, all of humanity experiences feelings of fear, self doubt and self loathing; these are universal characteristics of the human condition.

Gay men, however have found excellent ways of masking these fears. We create fabulous and flamboyant personas, engage in regular sex and devote our time to aesthetic pursuits all in order to mask our true feelings. I’ve always thought that those people who display extreme traits are often masking the exact opposite. The loudest and most confident people are often the most scared, the people having the most sex are the loneliest, the most popular are afraid of not being liked and the most vain are never content with their appearance.

So how do we overcome our self loathing and fear? How do we find happiness within ourselves? I’ve been fascinated with these questions for as long as I can remember because I truly believe that only when you are happy does everything else fall into place. Only once you love yourself, can you be loved by others, romantically or in the broader sense. We try change external factors (jobs, partners, friends, cities etc) to make ourselves happy when all we really need to do is change ourselves.

Last night while trawling Youtube I found a video that offered a very simple answer to the happiness question. It proposed the easiest approach to finding fulfilment that I’ve ever come across (and I’ve done a fair bit of research!). Ask yourself this question:

“What would someone who loved themselves do?”

In whatever situation you may be, ask yourself “what would someone who loved themselves do?”. I can assure you that your whole perspective will change immediately. If you’re feeling upset, confused, enraged or bored ask yourself again  “what would someone who loved themselves do?” – the answer will come to you instinctively and those feelings will be quashed immediately.

Try this with me for the next week and let me know how it works for you. To watch the video Click Here.

Photo Credit: Diana Scheunemann

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RULE NO.1: THERE ARE NO RULES (EXCEPT FOR ONE)

francisco-lachowski

I am a sucker for self help books. I cannot satisfy fast enough my appetite for reading the latest New York Times Best Seller on “How To Live the Life You Imagined” or “Grow Rich by Thinking”. While most of my peers are on the internet shopping for clothes and accessories or looking at porn, I’m trawling Amazon for obscure books on self esteem written by psychologists from Sweden. And looking at porn.

It reached the point when my shelves, side tables and cupboard couldn’t accommodate any more books by Tony Robbins that I asked myself “Why am I so fascinated by this genre of literature?”. The answer was simple, I was looking for a definitive solution. A formula to life. A set of rules that when followed would guarantee money, success, fame, a Brazilian model boyfriend, fabulous friends, a SL55 Mercedes (and Range Rover Sport), limitless funds to travel, an apartment in New York, a house in the Hamptons, four children, a dog, a live-in masseuse and a pool boy who wore cutoff denim shorts while singing “she works hard for the money” a la The Birdcage. Surely if I read enough then eventually I would have sufficient knowledge and life would unfold seamlessly? I realised that I was missing the point.

While many self help books spruik the benefits of simply reciting affirmations to achieve success or visualising your life as you want it to be in an approach that I can only describe as the “fast food” method, there are many books that offer true insight into how to improve your life. The former category is rather shallow and taps into people’s laziness and need for a quick fix in order to sell copies while the latter category takes a more spiritual approach. Summed up rather briefly, the “fast food” method gives you rules to follow in order to find fulfilment in whichever area you are lacking while the “spiritual method” teaches you that there is only one rule. And that rule is the importance of being true to yourself. When you are true to yourself, everything else falls into place. The things that you really want become clear and you often find that they are significantly different to the things you valued before. True happiness can only come from within and in order to access this happiness you first need to honour your truth.

Why do so many gay men suffer? I believe that it’s because for so long we have denied our true selves or hated our true selves. We have created beautiful bodies to hide behind, adorned our exterior in flashy clothes, involved ourselves in bitchiness and drama all in attempt to deny our inner pain, a pain caused by avoiding our inner truth.

This is why rule number one is the most important rule of all. There are no rules in life more important than honouring your true self. Only then can one find true fulfilment and happiness. Some of the richest and most successful people I have come across are also the most miserable. They followed the so-called rules of life which indeed lead them to money, success, fame but once they started living the lives they thought they always wanted, they realised they were still unhappy. To be happy is to be true to yourself. That is all there is to know.

So put down the self help books because I have done the readings for you and it can all be summed up  beautifully in one sentence, written by my favourite author Eckart Tolle:

True Salvation is fulfillment, peace, life in all its fullness. It is to be who you are, to feel within you the good that has no opposite, the joy of Being that depends on nothing outside itself

What do you think is the key to happiness? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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