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So delicious, so amazing, yet so often out of reach.
Happiness thieves come in too many everyday disguises: disappointing news, a colleague’s harsh words, a friend’s forgotten promise, a parking ticket at the wrong end of the month, two pounds put on after a week of willpower.
Or so I used to believe.
Why, oh why didn’t anyone tell me happiness is as vital to my life as the air I breathe?
And how can I have been led to believe that it relies on forces beyond my control?
That’s madness, when you think about it.
How can you ever be truly happy if your happiness is so flimsy as to be entirely dependent on others, on external events or circumstances?
But you can reclaim your happiness, by realizing it’s an internal process, not an external one. You can start to build a fortress that no invading thief can ever breach.
The truth is, you make your own happiness and it IS within your control.
Of course, sometimes sadness enters our lives, but even in the mist of sadness, you can find small rays of joy if you look, if you’ve built the habit.
And you can start the process by asking yourself these three, powerful questions:
1. What’s my version of Happiness?
Just as many people believe they aren’t masters of their fate, they also believe that they can’t be happy without certain external markers: a ‘good’ job, their peer’s recognition, supportive friends, a paid-off mortgage, ‘successful’ children, a secure retirement fund, whatever.
There is no disputing that outside events are factors in your happiness. But don’t base contentment only on these outer experiences that often fall outside of your control. That’s not a great way to go.
It’s little more than handing over the keys of your fortress to someone else.
It’s a happiness destroyer.
2. What am I willing to exchange to be happy?
True happiness isn’t a fleeting feeling. Happiness is a habit. It’s an approach to life. And it’s definitely a philosophy.
Once you’ve defined what being happy means to you and pledge to give it your all, it can become as much a part of your every moment as breathing.
But you’ve got to give it a clear path. You need to declutter your mind. Remove unhappy habits of thought as much as you need to empty that overflowing drawer before you can put those shiny new purchases in there.
Think about your personal dislikes, preconceptions, and fast-held opinions. What’s lurking amongst these that has an anti-happiness message? Do you have any beliefs you can’t align with your new version of happiness?
Real happiness, the internal kind, will not flourish against head-on opposition from your own thoughts. Not going to happen. Ever.
By stripping out your barriers to happiness and redefining yourself by only positive aspects, you will create an uncluttered mind-space where your joy can flourish.
3. How much unhappiness am I willing to go through?
What! Am I contradicting myself?
Absolutely not. To be happy, you may need to work through some temporary mental (and physical) discomfort. Probably not the news you wanted to hear, I know.
It’s a matter of putting the road to happiness in context. It’s reining in any notions you may hold that it’s a straight, toll-free highway.
For example, if you decide that your personal version of happiness includes taking care of your health (Napoleon Hill lists “sound physical health” as no.2 in his Twelve Great Riches of Life), you may need to transform some activities you previously found unpleasant, such as regular exercise, into activities you enjoy.
Or say you’ve got some troubling difficult decisions to make. You might reach a point where you have to choose to keep your current life or abandon significant elements – careers, places, even people who are holding back your happiness.
This isn’t selfish, it’s self-survival.
To transform how happy you feel every day, accept that you may just have to work through some change and unhappiness to get there. It’s worth it.
Lasting happiness is within your reach.
Making happiness more than a will o-the-wisp feeling can seem daunting, especially if you’re going through some challenges. But it can be done.
Start with these three questions and constantly look for opportunities to find happiness and joy in the everyday.
Happiness, like all good habits needs time to build. But learn the habit and your happiness will be a fortress, which even the craftiest thief or strongest ill wind may rattle, but never breach.
Now that’s true happiness.
What’s your version of happiness 101? How have you built your happiness habit? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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As always thank you for reading and supporting our Live Purposefully Now community. Never forget…You rock!
Encourage one another.
P.S If you enjoyed this post and have a friend, family member or colleague who could do with some support in having happier moments, please share this with them. You never know, you might just change their life.