There are several pervasive ideas in our society that prevent many people from finding lasting happiness. First, we are told that life is about hard work and that the ultimate goal is to make money. Second, we are encouraged to be ‘nice’ people; to prioritize taking care of others and to make their happiness more important than our own. Lastly, our idea of what happiness is, is often misguided; many mistake lesser emotions, such as triumph, validation or excitement, for true happiness and contentment.
These three points of view not only confuse society about how to discover happiness – they also distract people from the most fundamental key to a happy and contented life.
Happiness is a choice, and the things you choose to do, be, have and believe will determine whether you are happy, or not.
Knowing now that happiness is just a choice, do you choose it?
Here are five things that can get in the way of your happiness, and the tools to choose to be happy:
When you are in a constant state of judgment, either of yourself or others, you are inducing feelings of disappointment, despair or anger. There is no way to feel happy when you are in this state. Therefore, whenever you catch yourself judging someone, realize that it is just your point of view. Say to yourself, “I have this point of view. What an interesting point of view,” until the judgment disappears. When you start to look things as just an interesting point of view, you lose the level of unhappiness that comes with judgment.
Love means something different to every single one of us; it is impossible to determine or agree on. In other words, you can’t get love right, ever. So stop trying. Gratitude is what really creates the level of caring and acceptance we try to get from love. The magical power of gratitude is that you can’t have gratitude and judge at the same time. So, if you want to kill judgment and get happy instead, get some gratitude going! Start a gratitude journal and every day; write down 3 to 5 things you are grateful for. Include things that you are grateful for about you, your life and about others.
3. Being Right
A lot of distress is caused when people choose being right over being happy. Being right causes you to feel triumphant, but this is not happiness. It’s important to acknowledge that everybody has a different point of view; you can spend your time in conflict, trying to convince them that they are wrong, or you can ask yourself, “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?” When being happy is more important to you than being right, you’re more willing to let the small stuff go and choose happy instead.
4. Saving the World
What if the world didn’t need saving? What would it be like if you didn’t have any problems? Serial “problem-solvers” will always find it difficult to find lasting happiness because in order to solve problems, you have to have problems. You will have trouble being happy if you are constantly focusing on trouble and strife. So, instead of trying to save the world ask, “What’s right about this situation that I’m not getting?” or “What’s right about this person that I’m not getting?” or “What’s right about me I’m not getting?” Asking these questions allows you to gain another perspective on the situation. If you didn’t have any problems to solve or people to save, how much more happiness could you have in your life?
Negative people will influence you, and bring you down. Happy, positive people, rub off on you as well. So what would happen if you made a deliberate choice to hang around the people who lift you up? Make a list of three happy people you enjoy talking to and call them up when you need a boost. Seek out happy friends and don’t hang out with unhappy ones. If you have mostly surrounded yourself with unhappy people right now – get proactive! Try out new things and meet new people.
If you’re ready to be happier, you don’t have to follow the crowd and live in a world of anger, frustration, sadness and anxiety.
Simply, let go of judgment. Let go of having to be right. Let go of the idea that you are here to save everybody else. Choose to be around people who lift you up. Choose gratitude and focus on what’s working in your life. In this way, you will begin to choose – and live – the happiness that is available to you.