by Wendy Keller
OK, so if you’re some kind of always-perky social butterfly, you probably don’t read my posts anyway. But if you’re someone who has been dealing with some really tough stuff in life: loss, pain, depression, divorce, a bad breakup, severe money problems, on and on, well, heck. You already know that happiness doesn’t grow on trees, right?
It’s a lot of work to be happy. Your ol’ brain has probably created “unhappiness ruts” in it and you just trundle along, back and forth, morning to night. Maybe you even noticed that it’s become a habit to focus on the negative, to recite over and over to others and yourself the tragic thing that’s happened. It’s possible, I’m guessing, that you’ve gotten so used to being unhappy that you’ve forgotten what real happiness feels like.
That’s where the problem begins – when you’ve forgotten what it feels like. Where unhappiness feels familiar and happiness feels like a change. I’m not talking about the occasional relief of hanging out with friends for a few hours, or reading a good book or having a good workout at the gym. Those things bring pleasure. I’m referring to a baseline level.
Quickly answer this question: On a 1-5 scale, 5 being Pure Joy and 1 being contemplating the razor blades, where do YOU rate YOUR happiness? There’s no right or wrong answer. It just Is.
So here’s WHY you need to figure out to add more happiness to your life, no matter what you scored. I’ve talked before in other posts about HOW. (Click here to read one of those.) This is about WHY, because until you have a big enough WHY, you won’t take action. Not really, not for more than a few hours or days. So here are some WHYs to reflect on.
Because this isn’t how you really want to live. You see other people living happier lives, and you want what they’ve got. Nice things just seem to happen to them. Gosh darn it, if you had nice things happen to you, you could be happy, too! But the surprise: you’ve got to start LOOKING for the nice things and focusing on them, however small, to start the flow, to grease the wheel, to turn on the spigot. Even if you kinda gotta lie to yourself a little bit, just to get over the hump.
Because for some reason, you’re alive. I have no real clue why you’re here, or why I’m here, or why any of us are. It could be Divine or it could be a chemical thing or it could all be a hologram. It doesn’t much matter. If you’re alive, you may as well make the best of it. What have you got to lose? You’ve already proven you’re not going to commit suicide, because you’re still alive to read this. Therefore, you may was well get your groove on and make the best of it. You got nothing to lose!
Because you’re a pain in the neck to be around when you’re always a sad sack. Nobody really likes the person who is always grumbling about the raw deal they’re getting from life. Sure, friends can be supportive when you’re in crisis, but if you’re still in crisis mode and it’s been years, chances are your presence is wearing a little thin. Seeing as you need other people’s support to get through it, figure out ways to be happy – and talk and focus on that happiness when you’re around others. It will bolster up your support team in case you really DO get hit hard again.
I get it that bad things happen to good people. I observe that a lot of people have a rough life. But having a rough life has NOTHING to do with whether or not you can decide to be happy. Happiness is a decision. It’s a lot of work to drag yourself out of depression and trauma and into happiness. I’m not telling you to do this because I’ve got it mastered. I’m telling you because I know it’s right. You may not be able to achieve happiness 24/7. That’s not the point. It’s a journey, not a destination. Take a deep breath, determine to find things in your life this very SECOND that make you happy, or that could make you happy, and put as much of your focus on those people, things, scenes, behaviors, gifts, whatever for as long as you can stand it. Then do it again! Inch by inch, you’ll be expanding your capacity for happiness and swerving out of the grooves of sadness now and then. Pretty soon, gosh! You could find yourself smiling for no reason at all!
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