What kind of life do you want?
I say a happy one. Why not!
Many people believe that you're either born happy or you're not. I believe happiness is a choice -- that you have the ability to create real and lasting happiness for yourself.
We're always making choices and doing things to be happy - choosing what to eat, what clothes to wear, who to love, where to work. Some of our choices are good and others not but they're all based on our deep and impelling desire to be happy.
Certainly genetics, your personality and nature, plays an important part in your happiness.
Then life circumstances also affect your happiness such as upbringing, health and finances.
But the most vital element to being happy is choice. You can choose to be happy.
I worked at happiness
Your personal happiness has everything to do with the conscious choices and the sincere amount of work you put into living a good life; to flourish, thrive and to be joyful even while you may be living in painful and seemingly hopeless circumstances.
Growing up was not a happy time for me. My dad was alcoholic and my parents had an unhappy marriage. Most of the time I hated being at home so I found ways to counter my suffering. Studying acting and singing brought me tremendous joy and freedom. I was out rehearsing, working and learning with positive people; expressing myself and giving form to my feelings. My life had meaning and purpose and real rapture.
Looking back I clearly see that I chose to go after happiness and I had
happiness options. Meaning -- there were things I liked to do; was passionate about -- drawing, gardening, teaching, singing, performing - and choosing to do them helped me to like my life and to feel balanced.
My ability to make decisions, my choices to do specific things, made me feel good, glad, grateful, jubilant, optimistic, hopeful, inspired. Even while I felt stuck and sad at times I always liked setting goals and making plans to get away from negativity, to improve my life and to make my own happiness.
Gandhi perfectly describes the solid feeling of happiness I was building:
"Happiness is when what you think, what you say and
what you do are in harmony."
That's exactly what acting made me feel...that there was harmony in my life because what I was thinking, saying and doing all worked together and the hardships at home hardly hurt at all. I wasn't escaping from my family life I was simply doing what I could to be happy for myself. I was building new habits, patterns and routines of happiness. I was taking action to be happy and it seemed natural, organic and rewarding to do.
Sure we might be happy if we win the lottery and have an abundance of money or are very successful at doing something or find someone who understands and loves us but if those elements are not there, we only have ourselves to count on and to create our own happiness.
- If you're in an unhappy relationship you can choose to change it and that could mean getting out.
- If you hate your job you can make a choice to change it.
- If you want to be healthier that's another choice for personal happiness.
Happiness is up to you. Your choice. Your way.
Here's how to regain and build happiness
1. Think about a time in your life when you were really happy.
2. Why were you so happy? State the facts. Write them all down.
3. What were you doing that made for such confidence, personal excitement, peace and pleasure?
Be very specific about this time in your life because once you target that time and the exact reason or reasons why you were happy you can then recreate it... and be in harmony with what you thought... and said... and did.
As a Life and Career Coach I thrive at assisting people to figure out what they want to do with their lives and then to do it so they can be happy! Knowing your purpose, setting goals and intentions enables you to be blazingly free to live your life the way you want to. That will always make you happy.
* A coaching client recently told me, "... getting my masters in sociology made me so happy because I was committed to achieving it and caring for people and that's what I most want to do with my life...care for people."
* Another said, "... connecting people with each other and solving problems. I'm really good at it. That's when I'm happiest and 100 percent myself."
* And one more - "My happiest time was in college. I was dedicated to learning. I met my wife there and built friendships that have lasted for many years."
When you know the facts of what makes you happy you can choose to do the same things you love, choose to use your gifts and talents to be fully expressed and entirely yourself. Isn't that what happiness is about?
Happiness does take work. It takes steady practice. It's not just easy. Happiness is not something you can turn on in the midst of heart ache, profound worry or fear but at least you have the knowledge, the facts and the life experience to know what makes you happy and then you can create it, work at it and have it in your life always. I'm not saying ignore the real problems we all face in life but, think about what works well for you -- know what satisfies you -- do what gives you ultimate pleasure and practice it.
We all want to be happy. Why not make happiness a daily ritual? Choose happiness. Live it!
Remember - "Happiness is when what you think, what you say and
what you do are in harmony."
There are some people who seem to think that happiness is the result of all the right wheels turning at just the right time. You’re walking down the street, find twenty dollars, get a compliment from a stranger, meet the perfect guy or girl (and don’t totally make a fool of yourself), go to your favorite store and get 50% off, etc., etc.
It’s easy to be happy when everything seems to be going your way, but I think that defining happiness that way reduces it to a by-product of luck, or an accident, which it is not. In fact, I might even argue that luck is a byproduct of happiness, if I was in a particularly feisty mood.
Happiness doesn’t just happen.
Some days are good, but there are probably more days that are just mediocre or plain bad, and it’s on those days that the true nature of happiness is revealed. Have you ever met someone who stayed positive, even when they’re having a bad day, and everything that can go wrong seems to be going wrong? If you’re having a bad day, too, just being near someone like that can be uplifting (although for others it is annoying, but that usually just stems from jealousy).
People who are able to smile even through the worst of times have learned a very important lesson, the same lesson I stated above: Happiness doesn’t just happen.
Happiness is choice.
That’s right, a choice. Not an accident, not a charitable gift from the universe. Of course, it’s nice to receive those gifts, and easy to be happy when you do, but happiness is about choosing to see the adventure in every moment, choosing to understand that there will always be a light after the dark, that there is always good in every situation and every person, no matter how grim things may seem.
That’s the key to happiness: choosing it. It’s not an easy choice all the time, and it very well may be the last thing you want to do sometimes. When grief strikes, or when you just can’t seem to catch a break, sometimes you just want to sulk and stay upset, perpetuate the sadness. It’s a natural response, but it isn’t a required behavior, it’s a choice. And choosing to be happy will make you a better, stronger, wiser, more longsuffering person.
We always have the choice to be happy. Learning to change our attitude is frustrating, but worth it in the end. When we choose to be happy, things tend to work in our favor, and luck seems to be on our side; and even if things don’t happen the way you want them to, if you choose to be happy, you can accept situations for what they are and make the most of life, no matter the hand it deals you.
Photo by Jack Batchelor