Of all the problems that you can have in your life, unhappiness is one of the best. That might seem strange. After all, who wants to be unhappy? We’ve all been through hard times in our life, whether it’s losing a job, finding out a loved one is sick, or even something as small as your favorite TV show being canceled. Whatever your cause for being unhappy, it is an actual feeling. But what you have to realize is that your feelings are in your control.
Being happy is a choice.
When something good or bad happens to you, you choose how you react to the situation. Nothing is forcing you to respond a certain way. Your feelings and attitude are yours, not anyone else’s. You decide how to move forward and do what you can to be happy again.
It was few years ago that I learned this lesson for myself. I was working for a company in another country. I was with good people and I loved my work. It was the type of environment where I should have been happy. I was doing good, I was making a difference and I was learning about a new culture and meeting with people I came to love and respect. All in all it was a great situation. And yet, I found myself unhappy. I felt stuck in rut. My partner was a local and there was a huge language barrier between us, not to mention the cultural differences. We struggled to get things done and it seemed that everything was repetitive. I wasn’t being challenged, I wasn’t growing.
One day I was meeting with the company president. He is an amazing man that has accomplished equally amazing things in his life. He asked me how things were going and I talked about the work and the people. Then I told him that even though things were going well, I wasn’t happy. I thought he would tell me that unhappiness is a hard problem to deal with but over time you can change. I thought he would talk to me about a process to go through or tell me that I had no right to be unhappy and that this was a unique opportunity and not many people would get to experience it.
The answer I was expecting never came. He looked at me and said, “Congratulations, that’s the best problem to have!” Shocked, I asked why. He told me that happiness is a decision you make. He challenged me to walk out the door a happier person. To my surprise, I did. Once I made up my mind to be happy, nothing could stop me.
My happiness is my choice. I can’t control what happens around me or what people do or say, but I can control my emotions and my response to those things. I have decided that my happiness is more important to me than letting someone else take it away.
Making that choice.
Throwing off that cloud of unhappiness starts with your thoughts, your mindset. That will change before the situation does. You have to train your thoughts to focus on the positive. This can be a challenge, but the end result is worth it.
Making the decision to be happy doesn’t mean that you ignore the reality of the situation or downplay the challenge you are going through. Life can be hard and there are some challenges that people have to face that may not seem fair or right. When we are going through the hardest times in our lives we still have to remember happiness is a choice. Whatever your lot or situation in life, you can choose to find happiness.
There are people all over the world who are able to see past sickness, deformities, loss of family, friends or possessions and still find happiness in their lives. There have been several wildfires spreading in states across the U.S. this year. It’s amazing to hear people who have lost their homes and everything they own talk about it later. Many of them say they are just grateful they are alive. They understand that even in the most trying times, you can still find something for which you can be grateful, something that gives you joy.
Just remember that your happiness is in your control. You can make up your mind today to get rid of that unhappiness you’ve been carrying around. It’s not a burden you have to bear. Find something that gives you joy and focus on that. This your decision. Make it happen!