I remember what it was like to be so greatly affected by my surroundings, circumstances, and other people’s inability to experience happiness. I have been reminded lately that I am in charge of how I feel, I am in charge of my happiness.
Being responsible for oneself seems like an easy concept, but in a world where we, especially as women, are taught that we are not our own – we belong to a man, or a job, or to a relationship, or a higher power – ownership of our well being or happiness can be a difficult concept to grasp.
I have a wonderful young friend who is learning the concept of being in charge of her own happiness, her own self, her own destiny. It is exciting to watch her bloom and to watch her unfold and open up to all the possibilities that are hers to grasp. She has reminded me of some simple truths that desperately needed the refresher course. She also reminds me, every day, to practice what I preach.
Happiness comes up a lot in our conversations. Happiness is defined as the state of well-being and contentment, or a pleasurable or satisfying experience. Happiness is something that we all crave and marketers everywhere want us to believe that we can buy happiness, or create it by spending money we don’t have (which can pop the happiness balloon). So much effort is put into the pursuit of happiness that people get worn out and cranky and once they get “there” they don’t find the “feeling” they were seeking.
Happiness. Where do I get my happiness? I’ve found that happiness is a deeply personal state of being. What makes me “happy” may not make someone else happy. That’s why it’s deeply important to pursue my own happiness.
Eventually, after several misguided attempts and pursuits, I figured out the only person/thing/idea/situation that can make me happy lies within me. I am in charge of me, which puts me in charge of my happiness and how I feel at any given moment. In other words, HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE and no one else, no particular thing, place, or situation can make me happy.
Sometimes I need a reminder that happiness is a choice. The following is a list of activities/things/actions I choose in my pursuit of happiness that I will pull out when I need it. Put your list in the comments.
HAPPINESS CHOICES (in no particular order)
1. When people around me are grumpy or sad, I try to cheer them up, redirect their pity party, whatever it takes to bring a smile. Most of the time it works. Either they start smiling or they take their pity party elsewhere. Most of our sadness or grumpiness is legitimate. Dwelling in it and sucking others into it is not.
2. I sing. That is one of my favorite ways to be happy. I sing silly songs, or make up songs, or just sing my heart out. Singing always (I do mean always) makes me feel better. Usually when I sing my silly songs people laugh or smile, so hopefully they feel better.
3. Obviously, making others feel better fills me with that happy feeling. Singing, encouraging words, being silly, whatever it takes. When I do these things, I feel better. I always hope the feeling is contagious.
4. Writing is always a happy choice for me. I always feel better afterward, regardless of the subject. It’s an unloading of my mind even if no one else reads it.
5. Photography is another way I choose happiness. A friend told me recently that even when I shoot ordinary things, I make them look special or unique and she sees them in a different way. That’s one of the highest compliments I’ve ever gotten in regards to my photography.
6. Making videos. This is a relatively new medium for me but be prepared to see snippets of me being silly, serious, and pouring out my random brain while you can see my face.
7. I am comfortable in my own skin. That’s what makes 1-6 possible. There’s a freedom in being me 24-7-52. I like who I’ve become, and why there’s always room for improvement, I deeply appreciate who I’ve become so far.
I could go on all day with examples of what I choose to create my happiness.
I can hear the naysayers and Negative Nellies saying, “yes, but what about when (insert every day life event) happens?” It’s simple. I stop, I take a deep breath, and I do one of the above things or I say, “I choose to be happy,” or at the very least, “I choose not to dwell in this mess,” or “This is temporary.”
Bad moods, pity parties, and lashing out are just as much of a choice as happiness. I am guilty of falling into bad moods, but I no longer dwell. I can pull myself out of the pit or I go to someone I know will help me lift myself out of the pity party. Again, happiness, or what we consider that state of being we call happiness, is a choice.
As we enter the season of the craziest emotions, remember happiness is something that is chosen, only by you, and no amount of presents or money spent this holiday or whatever else you try to force happiness from, will make you truly happy.