Appreciation is the new happiness

It seems like a new, overwhelmingly obsessive trend; all we hear or read about is "How to be happy", "10 ways to be happy", "How to avoid people that are not happy", etc. But what is actually implied is "Try to be happy, because everyone else is happy, except you, and, actually: What's wrong with you?".

As an expat, you might struggle with things like loneliness and happiness. After all, you’re far away from your home country and family. Here are a few tips to help regain your inner peace!

Happiness is circumstantial

Happiness derives from moments. Happiness is something circumstantial, and it’s attached to external situations. Something happens. Something that you have expected for a long time or something that you have never expected, and it surprises you in a positive way, and bang, you feel happy.

But you can’t make your inner peace dependent on something "unpredictable" like that. You can’t define yourself by being happy or not happy, and be labelled by such an unfair stereotype. You can’t fully control if you feel happy or not. But what you can control is whether you are appreciative or not.

Appreciation is the key to your inner peace

You appreciate what is given to you, what you have gained so far, your achievements, your people, your job, the weather, and a million other things that you experience every single day. But sometimes you let these moments slip through your fingers without noticing and appreciating them.

And by appreciating these moments, an overwhelming feeling of joy will fill you up. As Brene Brown states in her book The Gift of Imperfection, "Joy is tethered to our hearts by spirit and gratitude." Being appreciative comes with wisdom and virtue, it's a philosophy of life that gives you hope and wings to fly.

The opposite of appreciation is lack of self-confidence and fear

You’re afraid that you’re not worth what you have, that you’re not enough, that other people deserve more, that you can’t succeed at your goals, that you’re weak, etc. While happiness is something you can experience sometimes, appreciation is a conscious way of life that fills you with hope, faith and love for yourself.

You won't be afraid of losing anything, because you already have enough and you’re thankful for that.

Don’t compare. Appreciate!

Daily comparisons will rob you of your joy, your self-respect and appreciation. When you appreciate what you have and who you are, you don’t need to compare yourself to others.

Instead of looking at what others have and comparing yourself, making yourself feel small and petty, you will know that what you already have is valuable and that you love and deeply deserve it.

Practice appreciation every day

When you practice appreciation, joy will follow and happiness will multiply. To practice appreciation, try to:
Appreciate your friends, but also your enemies. They make you feel important and valuable.
Appreciate your strengths, but also your weaknesses. They give you something to work on every day.
Appreciate your victories, but also your struggles. They made you who you are today.

Also, don’t forget to appreciate all the small things that happen to you every day; the things that might have gone unnoticed. Notice them as they happen. Don't take them for granted. Life would be so miserable without them.

And at the end of the day, you will be filled with joy, and you will realise that above all the things that you appreciate, you appreciate yourself.

Are you struggling with happiness? How do you cope with it?

Vassia  Sarantopoulou


Vassia Sarantopoulou

Vassia Sarantopoulou is a Counselor-Psychotherapist with more than 15 years of experience, the Head Psychologist and founder of AntiLoneliness. AntiLoneliness offers individual and couples counseling, workshops and support groups, in...

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