Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Self Help Philosophy : HOW TO BE HAPPY

Self Help PhilosophyBy

The title of this article may be a bit of a misnomer  but I have used it since it is a commonly used term.

An apt title would have been HOW TO AVOID BEING UNHAPPY

How do you achieve this?

I found the clue, long back, in a small booklet called “Thus Spake Vivekananda” which encapsulated the teachings of Swami Vivekananda in a nutshell.

I first learnt about Swami Vivekananda, sometime in the early 1960’s, when I was a small boy, and my father had taken us to visit Belur Math near Kolkata. 

At Belur Math I acquired a tiny pocket book called “Thus Spake Vivekananda”.

Whenever the chips were down, or I felt dejected, I referred to the inspiring gems of wisdom, distilled from the complete works of Swami Vivekananda, for instant motivation and strength.

Let me tell you about my favourite saying of Swami Vivekananda which inspired me  and which I try to implement in my day to day living.


Here is an inspirational gem of wisdom, a phrase from the sayings of Swami Vivekananda:
Anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually, and spiritually  reject as poison
I feel that the word “weak” is all encompassing.

The term “weak” embraces anything that creates in you a stressful situation.

Thus “weakness” includes all negative emotions and feelings like anger, irritation, fury, worry, anxiety, frustration, despondency, depression, demoralization etc  which  in a nutshell  cause unhappiness.

These negative emotions disturb your inner tranquility and equanimity, drain you emotionally and intellectually  and make you feel “weak” just like physical weakness.


Unhappiness is a negative emotion which drains you.

Hence  Unhappiness is Weakness.

Unhappiness is Poison for the soul.

Conversely  Happiness is Strength.

Happiness is Tonic for the soul.

Now, how do you “reject as poison” the “weakness” of unhappiness?

The first step is to identify your “Unhappiness Creators”.


Now sit down in a quiet tranquil place  close your eyes  introspect  and try to think of all the things that make you feel negative.

Reflect and introspect on all your unhappiness-creators – and unhappy situations.

These unhappiness creators can be anything  tangible and intangible  things, activities, persons etc.

Unhappiness Creators include:

1. Toxic individuals and incompatible persons  who irritate, annoy and hassle you
2. Foods and Beverages (like Alcohol) which do not suit you  and are physically detrimental to your health and well-being
3. Activities  social and personal  which may appear pleasurable, but which actually drain you out
4. Technology and Gadgets  like your mobile cell-phone, TV etc  which disturb your peace of mind

5. Strained Relationships  which are a source of unhappiness and cause stress in you

6. Any activity, person or thing that causes a Guilty Conscience within you

7. Disagreeable persons and unpleasant activities  which are a stimulus for negative emotions like anger, worry, fear, etc – and create negative vibes within you.

Close your eyes  introspect  and think about all aspects of your life  your work life  your home life  your social life – your private life.

Think about all the persons, activities and things that generate negative vibes, create stress and unhappiness in you  things that make you feel “weak”. 

Then  follow Swami Vivekanandas advice: 

Anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually, and spiritually, reject as poison 

Yes  you can do it in actual life.

Just “reject” all these “poisonous” things and people by avoiding them as far as possible.

Make an exhaustive list of all your 
“unhappiness creators”  all the things and people that make you “weak” - and try to reject them as “poison”.  
At first  you may be a bit skeptical about this approach.

But when you start implementing  you will be surprised how much of it is in your own control to prevent unhappiness.


While  on the one hand:

1. You reject the things that make you weak and unhappy

simultaneously  on the other hand:

2. You must reinforce the things that make you feel strong and happy

Say NO to unhappiness creators

Say YES to happiness creators  

Yes  if unhappiness is weakness”  then happiness is strength.
So simultaneously  reflect and contemplate.

Make a list of things, situations and persons that give you strength and joy and make you happy and productive.

Include all the things and people that create positive feelings in you.

Then try to devote as much time and energy to doing these positive things and interacting with these morale boosting people that give you strength and make you feel good and happy.  

To put it in a nutshell  if you want to be happy:

1. Try your best to GENERATE positive HAPPINESS VIBES by doing things which make you “strong” and happy 

2. Try to reduce or even ELIMINATE negative UNHAPPINESS VIBES by rejecting” things which make you weak” and unhappy. 

(In case you want to be unhappy  just do the opposite  keep wallowing in negative vibes by encouraging your unhappiness creators and avoiding your happiness creators).


Whenever I feel unhappy, I realize that it is because I have allowed myself to be overwhelmed by my unhappiness creators.

And the moment I envelop myself with my happiness creators, I start feeling happy.

Remember this saying of Swami Vivekananda:

Anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually, and spiritually, reject as poison 

(Conversely, I say: Anything that makes you feel strong, imbibe as nectar)

Implementing this inspiring gem of wisdom from Swami Vivekananda is breathtaking in its simplicity. 

Try it – experiment – discover your happiness creators and unhappiness creators.

Start making your two lists  and then you know what to do.

This works for me and I am sure it will work for you. 

I do feel stressed out and unhappy at times, but I know why  and I know what to do – so I try my best to make my unhappiness creators disappear and overwhelm myself with happiness creators.

Wish you a stress-free life filled with happiness.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This is based on my personal experience. It may or may not work for you. So please do due diligence before trying out this technique.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Updated, Abridged and Revised version of my article written more than 25 years ago in the early 1990s and 

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