This never worked especially well for me. Maybe you know what I mean. Pinning a smile on felt like a lie.
I’ve struggled with the idea of happiness. I tried the intellectual approach to life, living in my head, trying to analyze life until it made sense. That certainly brought no happiness.
I had a misguided belief that if I could identify everything that was wrong I could fix it all. So I spent my time focused on what was wrong. And no time fixing anything.
Let me tell you from sad experience, that’s not the way to happiness. You only get more of the same. More stuff that’s wrong.
I had to rework the idea of happiness to find something that worked for me.
Happiness is really a mindset
For me, happiness isn’t an emotion so much as a mindset.
In other words, it’s something you create in your mind with your thoughts, focus, beliefs and emotions.
The problem with making happiness an emotion is that those are always short-lived. Emotions come and go fairly quickly. It’s tough work maintaining the same emotion for hours, let alone a whole lifetime.
Mindsets last much longer.
You strap them on, and they can stay for long periods of time with a little maintenance. And the beauty is that you can have a wide variety of beautiful emotions and still feel “happy”, like joy, peace, curiosity, love, contentment, and so on.
And a happiness mindset does something else. It gives you the structure for dealing with things that don’t go your way. You may feel pain and disappointment for a short while, but you don’t stay there because you know feeling good is too important. And that’s one of the fundamental beliefs about having a mindset for happiness.
And don’t forget, your life is too precious to waste it feeling badly.
Stuff is going to happen, but you let it come in and out. It’s only an experience to either enjoy or to learn from. And both are great.
Where to find happiness?
Having a happiness-mindset turns the usual search for happiness on its head.
You no longer need that job, enough money, married, or your dream life to feel good.
Those things bring pleasure which hopefully lasts a long time, but they are not necessary for feeling good inside.
It’s a simple decision, and there is no need to make it complicated with requirements.
You can either be happy or not.
It’s fine to be either, but don’t fool yourself that it’s anyone’s or anything’s fault if you aren’t. The house, the money, the partner, the dream life don’t make you happy. You are happy when you decide you are ready to be.
The challenge to be happy no matter what
One of the biggest decisions that you can ever make is to be happy no matter what happens. This is not an easy path. Daily life is going to challenge you at every turn.
It also gives you the chance for tremendous growth. You learn about yourself, about life, about others. You find and explore the limits of your own experience. When you find happiness despite your circumstances you are truly living.
Choosing happiness no matter what gives you freedom. All your rules for happiness can be tossed out.
Free yourself of the burden. Decide to be happy no matter what your situation is. Others in truly terrible circumstances have done this before you.
But I can’t stop negative emotions
You don’t have to stop them! That’s the beauty.
Let them come. Notice them, learn from them, feel them as much as you need to in the moment.
And then let them stay in the moment where they belong. Do not try to hold on to them. Don’t carry them around. Don’t make your bags heavier than they already are. Don’t try to repress them either. And don’t dump them on others.
They can be painful, uncomfortable, even terrible. But they will pass if you let them. Don’t stuff them down for later. Don’t paint a smile on. Feel them, observe yourself feeling them. And then let them pass.
Choose happiness instead.
Decide you will be happy no matter what happens to you. No matter what life or people around you throw in your direction. You aren’t alone in dealing with the garbage.
Keep track of who you are and enjoy life. Have fun in spite of terrible times. Laugh, sing and dance right now. Don’t wait for tomorrow.
Life gives you plenty to be unhappy about, but you don’t need to go live in the muck. Your mind is stronger than that if you use it to embrace the right mindset for happiness.
We put such value on happiness that it is out of reach for many of us. We can’t possibly ever get the success in all areas of life in order to achieve it.
Make happiness simple.
Choose right now to be happy and centered no matter what storms are around you. It’s one of the greatest lessons you can ever take on.
If you choose to live this way, you will give yourself freedom. You make the best of every moment and experience joy and happiness right now.