Happiness is a funny thing, we all want it, we all have felt what it’s like to be happy, yet for most of us we continually feel that we are not at a place where we can be happy day in and day out. We almost punish ourselves in a sense because we have not achieved the ultimate for our lives and families or careers, and so because of that we equate that then to being unhappy.
I often wonder what exactly is happy for people, is it a state of being, is it related to a certain status, an item, a memory, a particular person? What exactly is happiness to you and what do you feel you need in order to be in that state of being?
It has become very apparent to me in my life that in order to be happy it is not based on things, not even people but rather a choice you make within yourself. Now granted I do not expect anyone to stay in an abusive relationship, wear clothes that have not been washed in weeks or settle for less than what they are capable of. But what I am saying is that regardless of where you are right now, you can right this second choose to be happy. The only problem is the mind feels gratified when we are not happy, misery loves company in a sense. We often loathe the feeling of feeling bad, feeling sorry for ourselves, and from my experience mainly because it gives us a reason to stay right where we are.
Happiness is an art, a daily choice that we must make and one that in the midst of things not going our way, kids going crazy, the alarm not going off, dinner being burned, someone not doing what you told them to do, and life pretty much just not appearing to go your way, you can among all of that still be happy. But the only thing is within all of that stuff choosing to smile and say life is still good means your ego has lost, that you must stop expecting so much and deal with what is in front of you right now as a necessary step towards ultimate happiness.
Do you think a monk does not struggle day in and day out for multiple days on end until he figures out that happiness is a state of being not an accumulation of things or social status? In his head, like all of us we know that intellectually, but until we fully understand and apply these words of wisdom, it’s just merely a though. That takes time, years and constant reminder that the choices you make good or not so good are in the end just choices and it’s the approach you take towards those things and the attitude that goes along with them that determines your happiness.
Ever met someone with cancer and they seem to be the happiest person you ever met? I have, and boy they get it, happiness is a state of being, a frame of mind, no, a frame of soul, so to speak. And you can read as many books as you want, go to as many healers, counselors, therapists, but the only way I have found effective is to wake up each and every day and remind myself that no one can make me happy, my husband cannot make me happy, my kids cannot make me happy, my studio cannot make me happy. Things do not make you happy, people do not make you happy, they only enhance your state of being, they or it is a tool of enjoyment for you to take advantage of once you chose to go to that place of happiness. Because the reality is you still have most of those things and yet you are still not satisfied with your life.
I thought for years while still knee deep in an eating disorder that I would not be happy until I was 100% in recovery, and that mentality kept me relapsing for years because that thinking was incorrect. It was once I was able to separate my situation from my state of being that even if I would have a relapse or make a poor choice I would stop ask myself what can I learn from this, forgive myself and then go on being happy. And then years later losing my daughter, after morning her loss a few weeks went by and I had to make the choice to go on living, to be happy and choose to see life as good and no longer allow myself to be in that state of mind.
So today I have a challenge for you, if you chose to you can make a list of all the things that you don’t like in your life, what you want to change, how if xyz then you would be happier. And for many it may be a long list; but what I want you to do is look at that list and honesty ask yourself will those things really make you happier, give you that state of being you think you cannot have right now because you don’t have those things or have not yet accomplished those goals? I often think in life that if you cannot be happy where you are right now life/God/the Universe will not give you them, or maybe you will get them and be disappointed that you are not happier than you were before even with them.
So now after that list write down all the reasons why you cannot chose to be happy right now. What is absolutely, undoubtedly keeping you from happiness, like a rope around your neck, who is in your way right this very moment keeping you under his/her thumb saying you cannot be happy?
No one right? Exactly.
My point is at this very moment you can say I’m alive, I have something to learn, it will pass and I choose to be happy. You maybe have to fake it for a while but in time, trust me, happiness will flood your gates and you will because of that see life from an entirely new perspective. That is your choice.