Happiness is a Choice You Can Make Daily
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition and Job Search Coach | Life Strategies Coaching
Happiness is neither something you have to chase down nor something you find at the end of a long journey. However, many people think they must "chase" happiness or lose out on it. They believe that they can only be happy when they have achieved specific goals. They are always thinking they someday they will be happy.
But what if that day could be today?
Wouldn't that make things a lot easier? Wouldn't it take a lot of pressure off you?
The truth is that chasing anything outside you is the wrong way to discover true happiness. The kind of happiness I am referring to comes from within, not outside yourself.
Years ago, I went through a rough period emotionally. I thought I had lost out on my one true love. I was heartbroken. The experience caused me to plunge into a depression that lasted for almost 18 months.
I tried to pretend like I was over it. I tried to act like everything was okay. I went to work and went through all the motions. I willed myself not to talk about it.
But when I got home, I was so exhausted from all that acting that I would go straight to bed.
Now, don't get me wrong. My heartache was very real. My disappointment over that lost relationship was profound. I was deeply in love, and when it didn't work out the way I wanted it to, it was a blow to my self-esteem and the dream I had had of happiness.
It caused me to question my previous assumptions about myself and my life.
But after a while, I got tired of feeling sad all the time. So, I started looking for help.
Now, back in those days, therapy wasn't as routinely accepted as it is today, so I didn't seek that kind of help. But I spent a lot of time in bookstores in the self-help section, trying to help myself to the extent that I could.
Three things happened at about the same time.
First, I also found The Erroneous Zones by Wayne Dyer. Reading that book went a long way toward helping me in my healing process.
Then I found a book called Happiness is a Choice. It also aided in my recovery process.
The second thing that happened was I found a public therapy group. Led by a local minister who also happened to be a psychologist, this lecture series was aimed at unhappy people who wanted to make a change in their lives. I forget the name of the series, but I recall that it was a 6-week program sponsored by a local hospital. I want to say its series title was "How to Find Laughter and Be Happy Again."
I went, and there were at least 100 people in the group. The lecturer was kind and funny, and I found comfort in the group. There were people there dealing with all sorts of problems, from divorce to dealing with cancer.
Honestly, my pain began to shrink in comparison.
Finally, I found another group through a local church. The leader was the church's minister, and she was phenomenal. So I started going to the church there for a while. Ultimately, I found the peace and serenity I had been looking for.
I realize that there is much suffering in the world, and many people are hurting. But I also came to understand that we all have more control than we think we do over what we do with our hurt. We can hang on to it. Or we can choose to let it go and let ourselves be happy again.
Many happy people around us have made a conscious choice to be happy, and they make this choice every day. They decide to see the good in every situation.
And it isn't just happenstance that happiness also leads to success.
Many people think success fuels happiness, but the opposite is the truth. Happiness is the key to success. When you're happy, your feel more confident and optimistic. You look for new experiences and adventures. You work a little harder to meet your big goals. Your brain stays more focused, and your motivation improves.
The hidden secret to creative, productive, and successful people is their choice to be happy.
Thankfully, there is no one right way to be happy.
There is no particular recipe to follow if you want to be happy. There is no secret "formula" for you to follow. What might work for you wouldn't work for someone else and vice versa.
To find your happiness, you need to understand what you want from life. You need to stop repeating old patterns of behavior that do not serve you well. You have to remove things from your life that keep you from reaching your goals. This is why set formulas don't work. You are a unique individual.
Your life journey is unique to you. So enjoy it!
But remember that you are responsible for your own happiness. You are in charge of your own life. While others may be part of your happiness, they are not in control of it. Nobody can control how you feel unless you allow them to.
Life is full of challenges and obstacles. No one lives any time on this planet without their share of heartache. There will be times when you aren't in control. But even during the most challenging times, you always have control of your feelings. So you can find joy and light in any situation.
Now, I know that when you're going through something painful, the last thing you want to hear is someone telling you happiness is a choice. Remember. I have been there.
But I also know that before I could feel better and come out of my depression all those years ago, I had to start taking responsibility for my feelings. I had to decide if I wanted to continue to be sad forever or if I wanted to start feeling happy again. I chose happiness. I hope you will, too.
Until next time.