The first step to achieving true happiness is to stop copying other people's models for life. That means the life that your parents told you to lead, the life you see your friends leading, and even the life that I lead. We are fundamentally all different humans with different desires, affinities, pleasures, and pains in life. Your recipe for life is going to look so different than anybody else's. Copying somebody else's life pattern is a surefire way for you to be miserable.
Truly, in this moment, I can say that this is the happiest that I have ever been. I get to put my time and energy towards my passions. I get to live with one of my best friends. I am surrounded by love and solid relationships based on mutual respect and raising each other up. I eat a clean plant based diet and work out every day. I spend freetime exploring the city or working on activist projects. This is the recipe that is currently working for me to back the perfect life cake. In knowing this, I also know that it may be completely different in a years time as I grow and evolve I have to let my life change with me. I also realize that at some points I may be limited in my ability to achieve the life that I want due to health or financial reasons, and then I would have to adjust my recipe according to that. Like cooking, life is an art, you need to tend to it and live however feels most beautiful and authentic to you.
Instead of looking at my life, or somebody else's, and copy and pasting their recipe and trying to apply it to yours, look at yourself. Really meditate on your true desires in life. Are you happiest when you are out hiking? When you are socializing? When you are alone in your room reading? Find the simplistic happiness in everyday life and delve deeper. WHY do these certain things give you inner peace? When you look internally you will find answers, and when you look outside of yourself you will just be lost in comparison.
Happiness takes so many different forms and means something different to other people, but I could break it down into three basic parts.
STOP COMPARING. This is in regards to someone else's accomplishments, appearance, life path, desires, talents, failures, everything. It is a hard thing to do because we are unconsciously comparing ourselves to others all the time. When you drop that me vs. them mentality you can focus on you and truly let yourself thrive in all forms. Change your thought from "I wish I was someone else," to "I appreciate your light and life path but I realize it is separate from mine."
GRATITUDE IS THE ATTITUDE. I could write about it but this video by Prince Ea explains my thoughts PERFECTLY.
LIVE IN THE MOMENT. Depression is a past oriented mind set and anxiety is a future oriented mindset. All that exists is this present moment. I really recommend reading The Power of Now.
I also want to say that while this is how I achieve personal happiness and how I think a lot of other people can break their mental patterns and live a more fulfilled, happy life, there are some instances where it may take more than just following three steps to be happy again. It is fine to ask for help, it is fine to need therapy, it is fine to need medication. You are deserving and worthy of life and light and it is perfectly ok to need help getting to that place. I also want to note that while you can take medication or therapy to improve your happiness or get out of a bad mental state, nothing is going to change if you don't also work on changing how your mind works. It is a partnership process between mind and body.