Maintaining a general sense of happiness is not an easy thing to do because lets face it…life can be hard, painful, boring, and downright mundane.
In my younger years I many times felt that true contentment was something that occurred passively and without effort. I gave tirelessly to those who barely deserved it with hopes of gaining their acceptance and I found myself envious of others who appeared to “have it all”. I usually found myself waiting with baited breath for my turn to be gleefully happy not knowing that the power to be so was something that already resided inside of me.
It wasn’t until I graduated college and settled into my career as a registered nurse that I realized just how much control I had over my daily outlook and my ability to derive joy from even the dreariest of circumstances. After years of failing attain true peace from outside sources I learned that my emotional wellbeing solely depended on me purposefully and consciously choosing to be happy.
Making the decision to be happy is one of the most important choices you’ll ever make as it is an indicator of your readiness to fully accept yourself thus giving you permission to move freely without doubt and fear. Choosing to live in delight even for those who are serially optimistic takes practice and can be achieved when you make the decision to commit yourself to the following steps:
Affirm yourself daily. Before you reap the benefits of true joy, you must first speak it into existence. Change your inner dialog little by little through reciting daily affirmations and by not allowing negative self-talk to take residence in your mind.
Have an attitude of gratitude. Take inventory of your present and make gratitude for the blessings that have been bestowed upon you a daily focus. Continue to work on achieving your life goals with determination yet don’t forget to appreciate what you already have.
Use “No.” as a complete sentence. Stop explaining your inability or lack of desire to meet the insatiable expectations of others by realizing that “No.” is a full and complete sentence. Learn to put you first by only acting within your physical, emotional and financial boundaries and don’t allow anyone to make you feel guilty for doing so.
Forgive yourself. Rejoice in the fact that no one is perfect. While you should not use your imperfections as a reason to treat others with anything other then fairness and kindness, you should take comfort in the fact that you WILL make mistakes, some bigger then others, and you WILL survive. Sincerely apologize to others when you should, forgive yourself, and refuse to let your past bad choices be the blueprint for your future.
[Try to] worry less. Worrying about the things you can’t control does little to nothing in preventing those fears from becoming reality. Learning to roll with some of the punches of life allows you to be a little more flexible, carefree and resilient.
Get a life. The paralyzing habit of living vicariously through others causes a vicious cycle of self-sabatodge. Yearning to walk in another’s shoes subconsciously sends the message that your life isn’t worth living thus lowering your confidence and belief that you too can be a success. Create positive habits, develop hobbies and embark on a personal or professional journey that will awaken the motivation for you to create your own dream life.
Give yourself an off day. Sometimes life will beat you up to the point where you just can not manage to visualize the silver lining and that’s ok. Job loss, loss of a close loved one, or failing health are just a few painful life occurrences that can knock even the strongest into a downward spiral of grief and depression. Falling into a funk does not indicate failure nor does it mean that you’ve relenquished your right to choose happiness. It is simply an unavoidable part of human nature that should be recognized early, allowed to be expressed and resolved, and treated through therapy if needed.
How has choosing happiness been of benefit to you? Leave a comment and lets discuss.