Happiness… A lot like love, it is great when you have it, and awful when you don’t. Does happiness have to be a constant up and down? Is it a destination or a lifestyle? Is it a gift or a choice? Can you really be in a state of happy always; no matter what?
Happy is a tricky word to define. It falls into the same category as the word “success” or “beauty” in that it is totally up to perspective. And not just anyone’s perspective; yours and only yours.
With that being said, I think that it’s important to note that achieving a permanent state of happy is one hundred percent dependent on you and no one else. Yep- not your spouse, not your friends, not your family. Just you.
Trust me, shifting your perspective on this is way easier said than done. But the truth is, people change and grow and go through things. They have ups and downs. They move away, change their minds, come close and become distant. Humans, by nature, are simply a little unreliable. So depending on others to make you happy is a lot of responsibility to trust to someone else. It is essential that you are first happy and content with yourself before you let others contribute to your happiness (see the difference there?) Human relationships are meant to be symbiotic (both benefiting), not some sort of co-dependency.
So now that we’ve eliminated depending on others for your happiness, we can take a closer look at you. What are your values?
If you had to write down ten things that defined the way that you are going to live your life, could you?
For example, Christians align their lives as closely as possible to the bible and they make decisions based upon that. Minimalists align their lives to the idea of eliminating what doesn’t serve them and they make decisions based upon that. I think that we fall short in achieving a permanent state of happiness when it comes time to making choices and dealing with adversity.
How do you go about making choices and deciding how to handle a certain situation when you don’t have a back bone of beliefs or a firm stance on something? Your core values are your shield… Let’s call them your “happy shield.” When something comes your way to throw off your happy (and there will be things that’ll try), you can rely on the values that you’ve set for yourself to keep you on your axis.
Some of the most successful companies thrive by the idea of core values. If the Ritz Carlton has a problem, they run it through their core values… Does this fit? Does it work for us? Does it go along with what we believe? Nope? Okay, moving on. (If you’re weird like me and you look up core values of successful hotel chains then check out the Ritz’s credo.) That way, there are no questions, nothing up for discussion, no gray areas, no throwing things off.
Okay, so we are depending on ourselves and we have a firm set of values that we are going to align our life to. Now what? Time to celebrate!!
As mentioned earlier, you are the most important factor in the equation of finding your permanent happiness. So why wouldn’t you celebrate you? In fact, celebrating yourself is a huge key to maintaining happiness. There are a crap ton of things in life that are trying to bring you down, so it is essential that you celebrate the everyday, ordinary things about your life.
How To Celebrate You >> Take Notice Of:
Things you love about yourself physically, things you love about yourself spiritually and emotionally. Things you love to do. People who love you and people that you love. Your goals and goals that you’ve already crushed. Things your proud of. Things that are unique to you. Your favorite things; colors, animals, books, foods, Essie nail polish shade (get specific). Ways that you love to spend your time, etc.
When you’re feeling down, make a choice to love yourself for all of those things and make a choice to be happy with where you’re at right now. Own the feelings that you may feel and own the circumstances that you’re in, but know that they don’t determine your happy. They may not even be permanent! This life is full of temporary troubles (2 Corinthians 4:17), but we don’t have to get caught up in or stuck in them.
It’s easy to forget the things that make us happy when we are caught up in what’s not making us happy.
Finally, I believe a grateful heart is a huge piece to the puzzle of maintaining your happiness. I recently started a gratitude journal to write down something daily that I am thankful for. This really primes your subconscious to be in a constant state of gratitude. When you are walking around with a grateful heart, it makes it hard to be unhappy.
You would think that being thankful is an easy task, but it’s not. Why don’t we do it always? Why does it seem like the gym after New Years? You make a choice to start noticing things that you’re thankful for and you give up when it becomes difficult.
Imagine the attitude you would have if you didn’t give up on being thankful.
Happiness, by enlarge, is a choice. A daily choice that is up to you and only you to make. And you are ridiculously in charge of making that choice! Do whatever it takes to empower yourself to be happy (all of the time). You can’t afford not to be.