So, what’s it take for you to be happy? Did you know, you really can’t buy happiness, but you can learn to be happy.
It’s Christmas time and many say this is the happiest time of the year. So, are you happy? Did you know that most people say all they want is to “just be happy”? In fact, according to an Australian nurse, Bronnie Ware in her book: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, one of the five regrets is “I wish that I had let myself be happier”. Https://www.huffingtonpost.com/bronnie-ware/top-5-regrets-of-the-dyin_b_1220965.html
Be honest; do you let yourself be happy? Did you know that during the last several decades, we’ve been richer than ever before, yet not any happier?
What makes you happy? Do you have any rules or conditions for your happiness? What about when you were growing up; did your parents have rules to be happy? If so, what were they? Maybe it was having the “right”…job, car, house, appearance, college degree, family, fitness, wealth, approval, love, career, etc. Are your happiness rules serving you? If not, know that you don’t have to live this way. Below are some common examples of life situations that people trade for their happiness:
People often say, I want to be happy no matter what but….
- I didn’t know my partner was going to leave me
- I didn’t know I would lose my house
- I didn’t know my new car would be wrecked
- I didn’t know I would get sick
- I didn’t know I was going to be lonely
Let’s look at why happiness even matters. Being happy matters because it isn’t fluff stuff that just feels good or is a luxury for the rich.
Happiness is important to our overall well-being; it helps us live better lives. Research tells us that happiness leads to a wide range of benefits in our health, relationships, and performance. The scientific evidence is compelling. Happier people have better health, live longer, feel better, and are more productive & creative too. So, let’s take a closer look at what happiness is, what it isn’t, and how we can be happy too. Let’s begin with what happiness isn’t. Happiness isn’t a pleasurable experience or a fleeting emotion…it isn’t a “conditional” state of being, with lots of rules to be happy. Happiness also isn’t a short-term feeling that comes and goes or depends on things outside us. So, exactly what is happiness then? It’s an unconditional, permanent, fulfilled state of being. Yes, it’s lasting and comes from within. It’s not dependent on anything. It’s a deep, lasting inner peace, freedom, and joy that flows out of us in abundance.
With this in mind, if your rules for happiness aren’t serving you, know you have a choice. You can learn to be happy all the time.
Because most people are looking for happiness in all the wrong places…they’ll never find it. You won’t find happiness or inner peace by seeking it from the outside…in people or things. Outer expectations will always disappoint you in the end. As Michael J. Fox said: “my happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.” The solution is really up to you and it’s inside of you too. You can heal the disturbance that’s hijacking your happiness by letting it go, regardless of where you think it’s coming from. Did you know it’s your job to take care of your own well-being….to fill your cup with love and joy in a way that never runs dry? True fulfillment really is deep inside you and is overflowing. If you’re willing to do your inner work, in time, it will start flowing out, in an abundant way. Hence, you won’t need to cling to things on the outside to be ok or happy on the inside because your cup will be full all the time. In other words, the transactional way we often live, love, and relate today will no longer be needed because your love and happiness will come from inside and flow out. This joy turns into a real, authentic, unconditional state of being that never ends. The solution is not in the mind, where all problems are created. The solution is to go beyond the mind because the mind and emotions can & do limit us.
Remember, to be happy, allow all life situations to be just as they are…be non-reactive and non-resistant no matter what.
That is, don’t judge or take sides. Life is naturally uncertain and impermanent because all forms will come & go; therefore, life is a series of experiences that create change. Unfortunately, most people resist change. It’s normal to not like uncertainty or impermanence, yet it is the life we have here on earth. Most don’t want people or things to go away, but they do. We spend most of our lives resisting what is our normal reality and stressing over it…wanting it to be different than it is. Yet, we do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. This is crazy, right? So, how can we be fulfilled, be accepting of what is, and not look for our needs to be filled outside of ourselves? Simply, by allowing what is…having no emotional reaction or resistance to our life situations. You must to be ok with whatever comes your way…as if you planned it that way. You must say “yes” inside, to all of life situations outside and then do what’s needed. In that way, you can be in charge of your emotional well-being, and not be subject to others, things, or the world outside yourself to be happy or whole. It’s actually empowering to accept life’s situations and uncertainty. We can move forward in a productive way and not to be hindered by inner angst. We can even learn to enjoy normal life events and change.
What are your rules or conditions for happiness or joy? Let’s answer these questions:
- When do you choose not to be happy?
- What can, will or does go wrong in your life that’s not ok with you?
- Name one thing that triggers inner resistance, emotional reaction, or turmoil inside you?
- What seems to be worthy of you giving up or trading your happiness for upset?
- What or who are you giving your authority to regarding your emotional state or inner peace?
- What or who are you trading or depending on to fill you, complete you, or meet your unmet needs?
- Have you measured the cost of living this way? Is it worth it? There is another way to live.
Here’s a great litmus test for you try. Spend time observing how you experience life situations.
You’ll know you’re experiencing true happiness when you no longer react or resist what happens. This will be your greatest spiritual journey ever. When you can stop judging life situations as good or bad and just allow all life’s events to unfold naturally, you’ll experience real freedom. This is the breaking free process. You can break free from negative thoughts, emotions & reactive behaviors that hold you back by allowing them to be what they are, without experiencing the world as a threat. Knowing that the problem isn’t outside you, so you can take authority over it, can be very empowering. You can live a life that’s overflowing, abundant…and one that never runs dry. In this state, you don’t need to fill yourself with stuff from the outside, such as people, problems, things, or protect yourself from life situations. Happiness isn’t about life situations; it’s about life itself. Did you know that all problems are created in the mind? Yes, we create our own problems or disturbances. Unhappiness is self-created suffering; it’s dis-ease. So, just decide now that you don’t want unhappiness anymore; yes…decide you don’t want to suffer anymore. If you can be ok with whatever happens, then what do you think will happen to your unhappiness? Why don’t you try to be happy tomorrow, no matter what & find out?
The way out of this prison…the way to break free…is through it.
- You must take the authority over your inner peace
- You must commit to being happy no matter what
- You must keep your heart open and never close
- You must feel the pain when you have disturbances inside, allow it to be & then let it go
That’s the cost of your freedom…that’s the cost to being happy all the time. Happiness can be learned. We all have habits that hold us back. What’s yours? What rules are holding you back?
So, do you want to be happy or not? Do you really want to look back on your life and think “wow, I wish I had allowed myself to feel real happiness?”
It’s not too late, you know. You can learn to take authority over your life, to overcome these negative thoughts, emotions, and reactive behavior so you can live in inner peace, purpose, & fulfillment. Happiness is a choice. You can decide to be happy and stick to it. Why not commit to being happy no matter what? Try this next time you feel unhappiness coming on…don’t close your heart in fear or protection. Don’t cage yourself up. Don’t listen to the voice in your head judging and telling you that things aren’t ok the way they are. Remember, the way out is through it. Don’t run from it, avoid it, resist it, numb it, or hide from it. That will just prolong your suffering. You must be willing to stay happy no matter what. Instead, take 3 conscious breaths and experience the feeling, feel the perceived threat of not being ok. Remember, these life situations are only experiences; they’re not you. You can separate yourself from them and observe them outside of yourself. In that way, you can start taking your rightful authority over what threatens your happiness, and not react. Relax, let it come up, experience it, and release it. Keep your attention in your body, and out of your head as you allow it to pass. Remember, the price to break free is the cost of the pain the threat brings. As you practice releasing the threat, the unhappiness will show up less often until it dissolves.
Why not give yourself the gift of happiness this year? Be good to yourself, so all the love and happiness will flow out into the world for all to receive.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog. Please share it with someone else. It may be exactly what they need to hear to be free too. Come back for next month’s blog and…
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About the Author – Trina Carroll-Houk is a spiritual teacher, counselor, and founder of Breaking Free Boundaries, LLC who specializes in self-awareness, mindfulness, and the spiritual dimension of being. Her goal is to help people improve their quality of life so they can experience inner peace, meaningful purpose, and fulfillment. Trina represents a movement focused on helping people release what limits them from transforming into awakened beings with a higher sense of spiritual consciousness.
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