Only YOU can make YOU HAPPY. For a long time I did not believe this.
My wonderful husband and I used to have a recurring fight.
It went something like this:
Me: You never…. or… You always… or…. If only You would…
Wonderful Husband: I can’t do anything to make you happy…
Do these words sound familiar to you? Maybe they aren’t in a marriage. Maybe they are in a parent-child, sibling, work, school or friend relationship. Maybe it’s an ongoing internal conversation with yourself.
Through a very long process I discovered an amazing truth: I am the only one who can make me Happy.
I was 35.
I didn’t say I was a quick learner.
I am not an expert on how this sad state of affairs came to be, or maybe I am. However, I am becoming an expert on how my happiness truly is up to me.
You see, for the longest time (35 years) I believed that other’s actions or circumstances dictated my happiness. Have you ever been there?
If only…then I could be happy…
When … blah blah blah …then I will be happy…
They should … so I can be happy…
I get it.
I used to live there.
I am here to tell you there is a better way.
Because really? Do you have control over another human’s actions, decisions, thought processes? Do you have control over circumstances outside of You?
Really, what can we control? Really? Truly? Honestly?
For me, I have decided I have enough of a job controlling me. Who I am and who I want to be IS totally up to me.
And just being honest here, I am not an easy job.
I can be: bratty, bitchy, controlling, judgmental, jealous, over emotional, angry, critical, whiney, needy, cranky – all AT THE DROP OF A HAT!
I have a full time job managing me.
Do I really want to give you my power of happiness? Do I want to give a promotion, a salary, a number on a scale, a degree, a position, a relationship THE CONTROL of my happiness?
Unequivocally, my answer is NO!
This was a decision I guess I didn’t even realize I could make, until I did.
What if I could be happy because I chose to? Despite my circumstances?
This was novel thinking for me.
Frankly it seemed counterintuitive.
Until I started practicing it!
I have met, listened to, seen and read of people in horrible circumstances who walk in personal contentment and happiness. They do not let circumstances or people steal their joy.
As difficult and as simple as their solution is – here it is:
They choose happiness.
In spite of circumstances, people, externals – they choose this high road of happiness.
When I first heard of this crazy practice I spoofed it. Sure, those folks with everything going right in their world can be happy. But they should try my life!
Then I looked deeper. Happiness was showing up in the most unlikely humans. These were parents that had lost children. Parents who had been dealt the hand of Downs Syndrome or Autism or childhood Leukemia in their lives. These were spouses that had suffered betrayal, affairs, divorce or the death of a spouse. These were people who had lost everything financially through bankruptcy, natural disaster, embezzlement or economic downturn. These were people who were suffering terminal illness or were losing loved ones from disease and sickness. These were survivors of abuse, addiction, neglect, war, famine and terrorism. Happiness was seeming to bloom in some of the most unlikely places.
Of course, I have seen the opposite also. Those dealt an unbearable hand in life that chose bitterness, martyrdom, victimhood or hatred.
So, as true to myself, I set some parameters.
Here are some questions I ask myself:
- Is this something I have control over?
- Am I the boss of this situation?
- Is there any realistic action I can take to change this circumstance?
- Am I allowing someone else’s actions to dictate how I feel?
- Can I set a better boundary here – between this situation and me?
These are tough and real questions. I visit them often. I do not want to get sucked into someone else’s strife, issue or problem. I would rather be part of the solution. I know and have known tough circumstances. I can get stuck in the quagmire of despair or I can choose some happiness and levity along the way. Guess which one is more healthy and achieves better results?
And I still can choose my own happiness NO MATTER what is going on.
I am not saying that there is not a time for sadness, grief or anger. But I choose not to live there. I have agreed with myself that I can find happiness, even amongst grief and sorrow and mourning.
My, ‘how do you actually do this?’ goes like this:
I have to stay in a Soul Filled place of wellness. I have to take care of myself; my spiritual and physical needs. I need to be okay with me. And, I need to make the willful choice of happiness.
The Serenity Prayer comes to my mind:
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can, and
Wisdom to know the difference.
Seriously, WHY NOT CHOOSE HAPPY NOW?
Photo Credit: Danielle-cohen.com