Greetings from the warm heart of Africa. Welcome back to another episode of truth that will leave you grateful or pissed. I really don’t care how you will take it (truthful joke). I believe you are in great health, mentally, spiritually and physically. So today , the last Monday of the month October, we will continue our ride with a new episode from Letters From The School Of Bitter Truth. Remember, this is a series that contains a continuous flow of random thoughts and random topics that most people don’t like to talk about. They are generally written with an intention to boost your relationship experience yourself and with others, self development and mental health. These ideas are presented as articles. I’m just a vessel. As always, you can bring suggestions on the topics you would love me to discuss in the coming Mondays. Just leave it in the comment box and I will get it in my mail box.  Start your week fresh and mentally geared with this therapeutic straight talk piece . Have a blast fam. As always, have a productive week.

You’re Not Depressed, You’re Just Ungrateful

Have you ever felt insignificant just because you’re not where you wished you were in your life? The feeling of self belittlement due to “not being there yet” like most of your peers? If you have felt or still feel this way, this piece is yours. Today I’m going to have a chat with you my brother/sister. You’re constantly putting in so much work but it seems you are not moving forward. Well, it’s probably because you have set a bar so high that you commit suicide to your dreams when things don’t come out exactly as you wish they did. This is a psychological battle that most of us lose because we often ignore the greatest ammunition in this battlefield called life. You deserve more credit than what you get . It’s about time you learn to celebrate every positive spark in your life. That’s the energy that will fire your life for positive growth as you strive in your self development efforts. Don’t expect to get this credit from anyone if you don’t give yourself any or enough. It begins with you my dear.

So, over the past months I have been figuring out a lot of things in my life. I have been learning and researching on different topics concerning well being and self development. One simple truth I have learned about humans is that our whole existence revolves around happiness. We live to be happy. That’s it. That’s all we live for. Happiness is what drives us to do all that we do. I wouldn’t attempt to define happiness at all for that would be a waste of intellectual effort. The concept is contextual dependant and way too subjective. I wouldn’t impose what I believe to be happiness to be your happiness too. What I understand is that at the end of all your hard work and all your sacrifices, the fulfilment and contentment that will follow will give you what you envision as happiness (at least it is that we hope for). 

As much as happiness is what most of us seek, evidence shows that most of us hardly attain it. One truth about happiness is that children are happier than adults (you should definitely know that already). This is generally because children set their own standards and conform to their own rules. This is unlikely for alduts. We follow the rules set by the society in most of our dealings. In so doing we are robbed of our free will despite being free. We are forced to follow what others decided to be right or wrong for us. We even do things against our own conscious. This is the first step towards our unhappiness. We are robbed the freedom to do that which pleases us because the society demands or instructs that this and that are ideal for all of us. Some of you may say doing what would make us happy would only bring a reign of chaos in the world. Well, aren’t the laws and orders  that you so consider ideal not giving us chaos already? I mean, hasn’t the system failed us already? What more chaos do you want to witness inorder to understand that pre installed moral compasses are more enslaving and retrogressive in nature when it comes to self development and individualization? I honestly believe it wouldn’t get any worse. After all the current social moral imposition has already failed us. What harm or chaos haven’t we witnessed already that trying something new would bring upon humanity and the universe as a whole? All I’m saying here is that it is very hard (almost impossible) to attain happiness while still trying to conform to society rules. True happiness comes from distancing yourself from mob mediocrity. It is a brainchild of freedom and self individualization.

One important behavior characteristic that has gotten a lot of us missing out our cup of happiness is insincerity or dishonest. You remember how you used to tell the truth as a child? There was nothing you were afraid of. You were so honest that your order siblings called you a snitch. You were innocent and pure. Honesty made you happy and everytime something happened you would burn with a hunger to spit the truth. You remember how you told the very same person you were bribed not  to tell a thing that you were told not to do so? Yes thats how honest and free you were as a child. However, as you have grown up, telling the truth has been rebelled different negative things (a product of the social norms our elders established, it’s a shame they are claimed to be ideal). If you are honest, you are considered, rude, cruel, insensitive and a “snitch” among other things. This is opposed to “a good child” this made you as a kid. You’re forced to hold the truth or lie just not to hurt someone. You know what they say; truth hurts. We would rather lie than hurt. The sad truth about this is that by lying, we hurt ourselves more. The psychological burden we put on ourselves is such a vacuum that sucks every ounce of happiness we could possibly attain. 

I personally adhere to a philosophy that considers peace of mind as the greatest form of happiness. You can only have peace of mind if you are honest with yourself and others. Don’t be a slave to lies, it will rob you off of your peace of mind hence your happiness. Learning to be honest is a very important step towards self development. No matter how hurtful the truth might seem, be able to tell it as it is.You are not cold hearted because you have given a truth that someone hasn’t received too well. Figure out the best way to present it and be as gentle and considerate as you can but without compromising. How they take it is non of your business, you did your part (just like how I do with these letters, everyone takes it the way they want). Maturity is not protecting other people’s feelings with lies but the ability to hurt them with the truth_without hurting being your intention and motivation. They might hate you forever if they don’t take it too well but a part of them will always be grateful that you were honest (that’s how stupid we are as humans). There’s nothing like a good lie, no matter the intentions and motives (whatever examples you have, they are equally malicious and, well, they are still lies regardless of your “good willed” motives underneath the selfish justification). As long as it is your truth to tell, tell it as it is and find that peace of mind so that you finally hug your happiness.

In your quest to attain happiness, another important aspect you need to have at the back of your mind is gratitude. This is the key to your happiness fam. It’s undeniable that being happy is a state of mind that is triggered by different forces from your inner and outside worlds (I’m still not defining it). This means that for you to be happy, it would require somethings to be in certain places or positions. These things would be material or non material. Whatever it is, it has the ability to trigger your emotions and in this case it is happiness. A good example could be passing an exam. This would trigger a feeling of accomplishment that you would eventually interpret as happiness at the end. 

I have said this before; we are in a generation that is very competitive and battle minded. Everyone is trying so hard to be better than someone or trying to impress someone. This has left most of us stressed and worked out. We don’t get enough credit for our efforts. This stress grows as we keep seeking validation and the more we fail the more we get depressed. This is just some bitter truth about our generation (go ahead refute it, denial of the obvious facts is also one character of our generation. That was a truthful joke, lol). We are not content with ourselves and what we have. Most of us are suffering from mental health problems because of the higher expectations we have set for ourselves and the comparisons we make of ourselves and the people around us. It’s very sad that we put ourselves in such cages. However we can all break free from such toxic attitudes towards life. It starts with being content and grateful. 

Most of us are suffering from mental health problems because of the higher expectations we have set for ourselves and the comparisons we make of ourselves and the people around us

Joseph Daniel Sukali

Most of us don’t appreciate what we are, what we have and who we have in our lives. It’s very sad that we think and believe that what we have is effortlessly well deserved (do you seriously believe you deserve it?). I won’t say much on this, just look around you and see if what you are winning about is indeed something to be winning about. Go in the streets and see those kids that have no shelter and food. Go to your village and see those poor abandoned teen moms that have no hope for a better future. There are a lot of reasons you should be grateful for fam. From the day you were born, how many people have lost their lives while you woke up health and strong just to complain about your “miserable” life? I’m not trying to preach to you, just get the point. Be thankful of everything in your life. Your talents, your health, your job and your family and friends, celebrate them. You can only attain happiness if you learn to be content and grateful of the many things you have in your life, no matter how small. Someone somewhere wishes to have a life that you’re so ungrateful for. Remember, the sick person battling for his/her life in the ICU is dying to see another day. Be thankful. 

As important as it is to have aspirations, dreams and goals, it is quite significant to be grateful of the little things that matter. After all what we want is happiness at the of it all, let’s celebrate every step we take every day towards achieving this higher purpose. The more content we are with the little we have while searching for that our hearts desires, the more we live a health and happier life. Stop searching for happiness in wrong things and wrong places. It is already around you in the things you take for granted and what you are ungrateful for. No matter how bad you believe your life is, remember there’s someone who has it worse and the only way they could ever smile again in life is only if they had just one little thing you have. 

Your depression is nothing but your lack of gratitude. You are sick and you need help. Help yourself by being thankful of something in your life every day. It’s the best therapy you can give your soul. Everytime you go to sleep, list three things you are thankful for. Do this every day (It’s okay to be thankful of the same things everyday as long as you truly appreciate). Your levels of happiness will tremendously rise and you will be twice as peaceful and happier. It’s a psychological fact. Gratitude is therapeutic. Help yourself walk out of self inflicted anxiety and depression by simply stating with “I’m grateful for the free oxygen”. Let the list grow and your soul will glow with it. Be happy.

#Ntho’sPen✍️

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Joseph Daniel Sukali is a Malawian freelance writer, blogger, award winning spoken word poet and a mental health advocate. Some of his works have been published in the Best “New” African Poet 2020 ANTHOLOGY, Writers Global Movement (WGM) magazine and several other local and international magazines. He is also a contributor to an online library Good Literature Malawi, columnist of Malawi Talents Magazine and editor of Love Feast Magazine. Sukali has authored and published a book "Dealing with a Heartbreak: Therapy for the Broken-A Health Relationship Guide”. He is also a co-author of a poetry anthology "Whispers of Beating Hearts". His 2020 spoken word album “Wonders Of My Perception” is available for free download online. The 26 year old is a holder of a bachelor's degree obtained from Mzuzu University. Apart from being a wordsmith, Joseph Daniel Sukali is currently an employee of Emmanuel International Malawi and he is also an ambassador for Maphunziro265 Malawi.

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