Don't worry, be happy

Since then, says the Rinpochea, happiness levels in Bhutan have declined severely as the people continually compare their meagre existence with the materialistic lives of people in more developed nations.

It's unrealistic to have high expectations, he says, to impose a lot of standards in your life and compare your situation with other people's.

"That's the biggest problem. It will always make us unhappy because someone, somewhere, will always be better off than us.

"There are people who do not have anything, they have nothing - and they're happy.

"When you visit workers from Nepal and India (the Rinpochea visited some construction workers at his monastery) at night, you find that they're singing, drinking and dancing.

"They are enjoying their life so much. They don't have high expectations, they are living for today and from moment to moment."

Besides, having a lot of things isn't guaranteed to bring you contentment. Says the Rinpochea, wealth, power and fame contributes only a fraction, "5%", towards happiness: "In the United States, salaries have steadily increased since the 1940s but the happiness level hasn't.

"Wealth doesn't bring happiness. Happiness comes from within you," he repeats.

And you can find that joy inside by learning to love yourself: "When you truly love yourself, you don't want to be anybody else. You stop comparing with others. You will be happy at any income level and you will have true confidence without narcissism.

"When you truly love living, you're able to find beauty and happiness in even the smallest moments. You're able to enjoy life on a moment-to-moment basis."

And when you truly love others, the Rinpoche adds, it comes through in your words, your actions and your smile.

"People will naturally like to be around you and forming social connections is easy."

This in turn will further feed your own happiness.

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