How to be happy despite your circumstances… What a loaded topic and like all big topic, it has to start with a big eye opening mind blowing statement and for happiness, it is this:
You choose to be happy.
Happiness isn’t found; it’s created, forged and chosen. You don’t attain happiness by having a perfect job, house and life. You choose to wake up and appreciate what you have and you choose to be happy by building a life that makes you happy.
Where Do You Start?
Obviously, we don’t all live our #BestLives. Sometimes circumstances out of our control and bring us down, make us hit rock bottom. Bankruptcy, divorce, discrimination, death, destruction and false accusations, need I go on? The world is a rather unpleasant and harsh place at times.
At that point you ask me, well how do I choose to be happy when the world is so seemingly cruel?
You look at what you have, where you want to go and make the next step forward.
Life is about one thing, perspective. Your perspective shapes your reality, so all you have to do is change your perspective on life.
Your life is a combination of loads of ideas planted in your head and you see the world through it. When we are born, we are a blank slate, just a white piece of paper. As children, our opinions and values are mostly boys are gross, transformers are the best, I love my mom.
But as we grow, others embed us with their views, ideals and values and every week, a new value is planted and sprouts, blocking your view of who you are. That once white piece of paper is full of other peoples drawings. Eventually we are lost, no idea where your home is, blinded by all of these other peoples values and opinions that we have taken on as our own.
So we stumble through life, saying things we don’t really know why we say it or why we even believe it and we wonder why we are so unhappy. All we want to do is be at home, safe and happy, like when we were children, when life was less complicated, confusing and conflicted.
The only way to get home, to happiness, is to erase some of those ideals that no longer serve you so you can see a little clearer. Ideals planted like, we will never be good enough, based on an experience you had as a child. Or you once failed at a basketball game and you were public humiliated by the coach and now you are convinced you will never be good at basketball. These values and experiences, are hindering your happiness because they aren’t truth. They are just stories you think are truth.
Let’s take the basketball example, sure, you once sucked at basketball, that doesn’t mean you will always suck. With enough practice, you could be great if you actually tried and decided you were going to be instead of just saying you will always be bad at it.
So how do we make being happy easy? Life is only as difficult as you make it. So what can we do to start flipping your mindset?
1. Choose It
Happiness like all things, is created and chosen; so the first thing you need to do is commit to choosing happiness.
It isn’t the easiest path, you will have to let things go, not let things to get to you and you will have to fight the impulse to be negative, to be the victim.
Happiness is a life long commitment and like all good marriages, you have to put in continuous effort to uphold the value of your spouse.
Happiness needs to be appreciated while you have it because it can be fleeting, the world isn’t always as kind as you are.
This article can help you to choose happiness easier: How to Always Choose Happiness Even During Tough Times
2. Show Gratitude for Your Life and Everything You’re Blessed with
You are incredibly blessed in your life. We all sit and decide that we suffer, we are victimized and we are failures but look around you:
You have running water, medical care on request, enough money to survive, loving people around you.
You have more than you are choosing to acknowledge because you are so caught up in what you don’t have, you are taking for granted all that you do have.
So take a moment and look around and every day, write down, think, say and show how much you appreciate at least one thing.
Gratitude can be addictive once you realize all you truly have, happiness will follow the sweet sound of gratitude.
Here’re more reasons to feel grateful: 32 Things You Should Be Grateful For
3. Change the Stories You Tell Yourself
We are a collection of our stories, the stories we tell other people (the times we were super cool) and the stories we tell ourselves (every failure or awkward interaction we have ever made).
We are what we say we are. If you tell someone you are an honest person, people will think you are an honest person. If you tell yourself you cannot do something, you will not be able to do it.
You Are Your Stories. What stories have you been telling about your life? The story of a failure? A loser? In recent society, it is popular to be the victim, to be the underdog because in the movies, the underdog wins in the end. But the underdog wins by getting over their complex and doing what is right and brave, and they write their own story.
So throw away the book you keep rereading about your awkward, embarrassing and devastating screw ups, those tales of loss, pain and heart ache, ditch them. I never endorse burning books but in this case, throw them on the pyre.
You aren’t a combination of your bad experience but you are acting like it, it is time to ask who you are underneath those experiences.
Who Are You? And who do you want to be now? Because the beauty of writing your own story is that you can choose it. You can say, hey, I am not a loser, I am a strong person. I don’t have anxiety anymore because I do everything I can to make sure I don’t feel anxious. I am a fit person, I go to the gym.
Find a story that would make you happy, then show up as the main character everyday.
Write your story and make sure its a happy one, which leads us to…
4. Build the Life You Want
A reason you may not be happy is because you aren’t living the life you truly want. You are living in authentically and that is fine but, if you want to be happy, you have to live in alignment with your authentic values.
Decide who you want to be, what life you want to lead and then make a plan to go get it: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want
Make a plan so you do something small every day to build towards that dream life and know that when you get there. You may feel happier by doing this but remember, life is a journey and you have to appreciate the climb, not just the view from the top.
The most important thing you will ever learn is this:
You will never be happy if you think something else will make you happy.
A new job won’t make you happy, neither will a new partner, house, holiday, object, pet. That’s not happiness, that’s a chemical reaction in your brain.
Happiness in long term is a choice to enjoy and appreciate those things, everyday, even when the going gets tough and you aren’t where you want to be, you didn’t get that job, well you still got one. You partners not appreciating you? Well, appreciate them first and encourage them to do the same.
Happiness is in your control. It’s a mental choice to see the positive in the negative. One thing I’ve learned in my life is that everything I was rejected, I was being redirected to where I was meant to be and when I suffered, it was so I could learn something to make me a better person.
Struggle is growth and strength, struggle is where happiness is forged. No matter how difficult, painful or hard your circumstances are, there is always something to be grateful for and you deserve to be happy, if only you choose to be.
More About Happiness
- How to Have Happy Thoughts and Train Your Brain to Be Happy
- 5 Steps to Create Self-Fulfillment in Times of Adversity
- Why Negative Emotions Aren’t That Bad (And How to Handle Them)
Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com