“Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.”

To the above quote, the self-proclaimed realist might answer “But I am not a boat and my problems aren’t water.”
Yeah, sure, that’s true, but it is just another excuse to not take control of you own feelings.
All of us have the base feeling at one point in our lives or another, that our feelings are some uncontrollable things that happen simply because we are human… simply because we are and we just have to let father time take its course with negative feelings, ride the high ‘happy feelings’ give us, and spend life like an analog signal as a series of high and low points.

These feelings have triggers of course, maybe you got something you’ve wanted for a long time; queue happy feelings of joy and excitement, after a day or two these feelings wear off and we are back to drab boring existence.
Maybe you just lost your job and the world seems grey and the future bleak, you give in to these feelings and fall into a vicious cycle of despair – and since nobody likes despair nobody wants to hire you, and since nobody hires you, you fall even deeper into the pit of despair.
Granted these are just examples and not everybody might be able to relate to the second one, but you get the picture.
All too often do we as people decide to relinquish control and drift through whatever storm is battering our shores, to go back to the ocean analogy.

And we don’t just do this with our feelings, we do this in our every-day lives, we hope that choices will be made for us when faced with a difficult decision, we hope that our dreams will come through even though we do nothing to work towards them, we go to parties expecting to be entertained and when that does not happen – we blame all the external factors but never do we blame ourselves; because it was out of our control right….right?
We as a society are so used to being babied and having everything done for us, we lost sight of how to take proper care of ourselves, and this has spread to our mental health as well.

Have you ever wondered why depression is so wide-spread nowadays? Why more and more people are seeing counselors, why we all spend countless hours scrolling through social media escaping for a few seconds into a picture that represents our view of a “perfect life” before clicking ‘like’ and moving on to the next image, each more beautiful than the other – and if so many people like these pictures they really must mean that this is the epitome of the perfect life, the new goal to look forward to.
These images also drive our consumerism, and our constant want for MORE, and believing we want be happy until we get MORE.

I am not saying that we live in a dystopian world, and I am not saying these ailments didn’t exist a hundred years ago – the day mankind figured out how to create machines which make our lives easier is the day mankind began having more time to reflect on itself, and begin trying to run away from itself.
We’ve become numb, and gave up self-reflection to an extent that the second we no longer have access to a screen and are alone with our thoughts – we become afraid.
All this is closely related to our happiness. Happiness is not something the things and people around us are responsible for.

Based on the previous it becomes ever more easy to blame technology and the rapidly developing world for our unhappiness; but nobody forces you to hide from your thoughts and feelings!
These inventions are like a double-edged sword, and many of us end up cutting ourselves on them.
SO, how do I become responsible for my own feelings? How do I not let the things happening around me, the fast development of technology and the other people around me dictate how I feel?
A few steps to follow, and start to regain control:

1. Stop comparing yourself to others – I know, easier said than done. This is what people are really talking about when they say ‘delete Facebook’, you don’t have to go as far as to delete Facebook, but maybe limit your time browsing social media, and don’t turn to it when you’re feeling bored.

2. Stop caring about others opinions – closely connected to the first step. Think about how much time you spend thinking about the person you passed on the street the other day? How much time you think about the people that you believe are thinking about you; chances are you don’t… yeah, neither do they. The only time people think about you is if you are being a mean person, they like you, they hate you – be decent and you can be sure the only time they will think about you is if they like you.

3. Make your own reasons – let’s face it, life, if looked at solely through realist eyes, is pointless; but so is pizza (you can just eat bread right?), so is sex (we like sex though no?), so is anything that feels good. Make your own reason for living! You like your hobbies, do what you can to do them, you like your friends, do what it takes to spend time with them – these are basic examples, but you get the idea, make life worth living on the terms you decide.

4. Do not hide from your feelings – feel through them. Sometimes, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, you need to feel through the sadness in order to get through it; when we hide from our sadness with distractions, we never work through it and it just gets bottled up, until something else falls onto it and the bottle breaks. We are hormonal creatures, and sometimes despite knowing better, we need to feel – do not run, but be aware of your feelings and know how to deal with them.

5. Fake it till you make it – as silly as it sounds, a physical smile actually helps you feel mentally happier, smile and you will not only make others feel happy to see you, you will feel happy yourself; which leads to the next point.

6. Give a little love, and it will come back to you – spread happiness and in turn it will make you happy. You’re not the only person with problems, and don’t you ever forget that. Make those around you happy, listen to their problems, show them a little kindness and it will come back to you when you need it most; but do not pretend to care for ulterior motives, be genuine.
Take control of your feelings, and spread your happiness to those around you; live life on your own terms and forget about negative opinions.

Be happy my friends.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Martin, during my day job I am a marketing manager at a small company; I am a certified fitness instructor by night and have many years of experience in the field – my goal with writing is to spread what I’ve learned and hopefully help those around the world with my words.