Happiness. What’s so great about it?
Growing up in Christianity, I believed happiness was a by-product of my right relationship with Jesus Christ. It wasn’t something of value in and of itself.
Even the letters J-O-Y stood for always thinking of Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last. That was considered True JOY. When I was happy as a kid, it was often tinged with guilt, because I was pretty sure I wasn’t putting Jesus and Others before me as much as I should.
Later in my life, letting some of those tenets go, I still believed that people who desired happiness were delusional. They were living in fantasy and expecting something that was only fleeting, something that would never deliver lasting satisfaction. My sentiments at that time were, “Happiness is an emotional state . . . like California. Bright and sunshiny, but it requires some sort of sacrifice of money and time to actually GO there. And once I get there, it’ll probably be cold and rainy.” (So why bother?)
And then I changed my “Eeyore”point of view. Now my point of view is that every day, every moment can be joyful, otherwise it’s not worth living! I’m talking joy, which also includes a sense of peace and ease. Happiness doesn’t always have to show up as bubbly effervescence.
How did I change such a deeply rooted way of being?
When I first started choosing happiness, it was like saying I choose to fly while wearing cement shoes. It began with considering a possibility that happiness might be different than what I had decided it was. Then I noticed that when I was happy, my body was happy and everything in my life was lighter and easier.
And then I noticed that choosing happiness wasn’t just from my will or my mind. I was choosing it from my very being. And I noticed the more I was simply BEING happy, the more it showed up!
There is a verse in the Bible where one of Jesus’ disciples talks about being happy no matter the circumstances. Yes, but what if someone dies? Or what if you lose your home? Can you be happy if your kid is on drugs? Or how about if you’re getting abused? What if you lost your money or your job? The point of view here is that your circumstances determine your happiness. No one can possibly choose happiness when any of the above is occurring in their world, right?!
Is that actually true?
Have you ever been unreasonably happy . . . even when your whole world was crashing all around you? I have. Or have you been happy even when you were still overweight or had no money to your name? I have. Does happiness depend on your external circumstances? Or something else?
What if the first step to happiness is choosing it from within? Ask yourself . . .
Do I choose to be happy right now? Regardless . . . of anything or anyone? If you choose to be happy, what does that create with your body? With your face?
Take these 5 Steps to Happiness No Matter What! and notice what changes.
- Ask yourself in every moment, no matter the circumstances, “Do I choose to be happy?” Could I be happy?
- Choose to be with happy(er) people or environments that support your happiness. If you enjoy being in nature or being with animals, for example, do that more!
- Choose to do things that make you and your body happy – don’t wait for retirement, don’t wait for anything or anyone – all you have is NOW! When you start choosing to be happy, even your work becomes easier. People around you start being happier, or they leave (which isn’t always bad)!
- Let go of trying to re-create food, relationships, sex, or anything in the past that’s become the gold standard for your happiness. Instead, ask a question, “How does it get any better than this?” When you ask THAT question, you will start noticing that it actually DOES get better!
- Acknowledge that YOU are the source for your happiness – no one else, not your lover, not your mama, not even Jesus, can make you happy! Conversely, no one else can make you miserable either!
Happiness. Will you choose it, no matter what’s going on around you? What have you got to lose?