When was the last time you decided to be happy? No, really! Can you think of one? Take just a moment and try to recall an instance where you made that choice.
Now, by the same token when was the last time you made a decision to be mad? Bet it wasn’t hard at all. Maybe five minutes ago, or earlier this morning when you lost an hour of sleep because of the time change. Did you get irritated when the egg yolk broke while frying? Notice how much easier those instances came to mind. Was it as easy to think of the happy ones? Bet it wasn’t.
Of course the question, why is that? It seems that nearly all are habitually programed to know how to be mad. The same can not be said for happy. Do you ever remember hearing, “If you don’t stop that crying I’ll give you something to cry about!” Hearing that command sort of has the implication that you should be happy. In spite of circumstances not to your liking. In other words it’s not a choice. Well, in the famous words of a well known psychologist, Dr. Phil, how’s that workin’ for ya?
The world at large still looks for that elusive happiness. No matter how often you hear, “It’s an inside job!”, that falls pretty much on deaf ears. Why? For one it doesn’t satisfy the drive for instantaneous satisfaction. It clearly puts the weight on you. Not whatever it is you’re attempting to use to make yourself happy. What are you feeling right this minute? Irritation? Frustration? Resistance?
Remember that phrase about truth? Truth will set you free! So if it’s a fact that happiness is an inside job and it’s true, do you resist that? Then answer this question. Have you succeeded finding it in any of the external places you’ve looked? The truth will set you free, and it will hurt in the process. Answering the previous question is about to prove that.
Relationships, sports, extreme adventures, personal challenges, defeating negative habits, are all awesome endeavors. Each and everyone can create that momentary euphoria when accomplished. Euphoria is not happiness. Let’s define what it is.
A simple definition is; the state of being happy. Synonyms: pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, cheerfulness, merriment, gaiety, joy, joyfulness, joviality, jollity, glee, delight, good spirits, lightheartedness, well-being, enjoyment; exuberance, exhilaration, elation, ecstasy, jubilation, rapture, bliss, blissfulness, euphoria, transports of delight.
Now a synonym is: a phrase or word that means exactly or nearly the same as another word. Remember that euphoria is not happiness? In short it is a temporary feeling of intense excitement. Many relate that to happiness. The contention is that there must be an event or action to cause that momentary feeling. In other words it is not sustainable.
So does all this suggest that happiness is impossible? That feelings and emotions don’t necessarily relate to happiness? To the contrary. They are a part of it, but do not define it. Does this suggest that happiness is sustainable? Yup! Now you’re on the right track. Does that come as a shock? That’s not surprising at all.
So let’s go back to happiness being a choice. How in the world does that work. Surprising to most, anger is just as much a choice as happiness. What? You think that’s crazy! Hang in there and it will make more sense. Believe it or not, no one, nothing, can make you mad or happy. Oh now it’s certain you think this is going off the deep end! So just consider this. It’s already been said that happiness is a choice. So is anger. Both are an inside job!
Whoa! You’re not sure you want to keep on reading, because this begins to sound like too much to take in. Wanna be happy? Then keep reading.
Contrary to popular belief, no one can make you mad. It’s only when things aren’t to your liking. Or you have a fearful reaction to anything that manifests itself as anger, that you relate whatever that is to being mad. At the nano-second you decided whatever it is you disagree with, or fear of anything that goes against your ingrained, subconscious beliefs, it is equated with being mad. It is easy to cast your focus onto that “thing” or “event” as being the cause or culprit. It’s not. However the learned reaction is a habit to blame.
You have been well educated by examples all around you. Your entire life this attitude has been acted out hundreds of thousands of times. By you every single day. At this very moment as you examine yourself, you know it’s true. It may be a grudging admission. Being honest about something it was so easy to ignore up until this very moment is not easy. So where’s the benefit of this deep confession in your life?
You know of a few people in you circle who always seem to be “up!” You know the ones, who seem to almost refuse to be mad or negative. Yup. You know they are. There tends to be a genuine smile on their face. Even in their countenance. You’re usually glad to be around them, because you simply feel more positive. They make you feel good about you. In fact it feels good to be you.
It’s because they have learned how to tap into that happiness. No, they didn’t win the Lotto, or marry the Prom Queen. They aren’t the star quarterback or Olympic Gold Medalist. They really are just like you, with that one exception. They found happiness! They know, it is a conscious decision to find it, and it lives inside each and every one of us.
The greatest lie so many buy into, is you can find happiness in all the external things life has to offer. You know that isn’t so, because up to now all that stuff hasn’t worked. So here is the option you have before you. It won’t be easy, as nothing worthwhile ever is. Changing a habit requires determination, discipline, honesty, and a refusal to never quit. What is this habit? Being truthful with yourself about where and how to find happiness.
It is a choice. Plain and simple. In the beginning it is like any change you have ever made in life. Really it’s no different than learning to drive a car.
In the beginning everything is new, and it requires a tremendous focus just to get it right. Both hands at the 10 and 2 position. If you’re lucky it’s an automatic transmission. Otherwise it’s learning how to coordinate shifting gears, the clutch and acceleration. Signaling turns, merging into traffic on the Interstate, knowing to come to a complete stop.
Learning how to parallel park without hitting the curb or cars in front or back. Paying attention to cars in front to avoid shoving your nose into the steering wheel on sudden stops. How to drive in rain and snow. The list goes on.
The same applies to making a choice to be happy. Recognizing the triggers, those preprogramed events, that set you off towards being mad. If you break your favorite coffee mug, there is the choice of shouting obscenities at the top of your lungs in anger, or realizing it’s just a coffee mug. This is also referred to as recognizing the “ego.”
When someone disagrees with you on any topic, say your favorite sports team. The tendency is to defend, ultimately shifting to anger. In reality it is your choice. Do you defend, or simply let the other be entitled to their opinion. Consider that what they think, is really none of your business. Does it change your thoughts? Is that team in any way going to suffer because of what they think? For that matter are they any better off because of what you think?
Anytime there is a competitive action, it can only survive as long as there is an equal and opposite reaction. You’ve heard the expression about putting fuel on the fire. Take it away and what happens? Choice acts the same way. If you choose not to argue, there is no argument. If you choose not to be mad, it can only leave you in the exact opposite arena of happiness.
Now, you can be sure there are those who thrive on debate. It is also a habit. The need to compete mentally, intellectually. It is as addictive as any drug. Verbal bullies in many cases. They don’t even have to use obscene or vulgar vocabulary to be cruel. Are they happy? Can you answer that question after reading to this point?
So what’s your challenge? Is it to be happy, or mad? Here’s a thought as you consider all of this. It’s easy to change. It’s just easier not too. How much do you REALLY want to be happy? Is it too much work? Will it be too hard? Only if you make it so. Just remember. The secret truth to the discovery of happiness, is choice. What’s yours?
I’m gonna be happy eatin’ some homemade peanut butter!