That just doesn’t seem to make sense, does it. How can you live life happy if you aren’t always happy?
Webster defines happiness in two ways: a : A state of well-being and contentment : joy
b: A pleasurable or satisfying experience
We all know that b brings us happiness, no? Something fabulous happens. You achieve a desired goal. A loved one comes to visit. Whatever the experience is that brings happiness to you, you’re joyful!
Life is filled with peaks and valleys, and a lot of just trudging in between. It’s a great life. It’s also of course filled with sadness and fear and anger, and all those emotions we’d rather not have or deal with. But all emotions have to be felt, dissected, understood, and responded to in order to put whatever at rest (and sometimes multiple times!). We all have our demons to deal with.
Life is just like that.
And the one you lead came from a framework, a way of seeing that is either all a mess and then you die, or wow, what a gift that we’re even here. It’s your choice. Perception truly is reality.
But how does one stay in a when b is absent?
Simple enough, no? Happiness is a state of mind, a choice we make every day (or again, sometimes multiple times a day!). And it does all start in the mind.
We were given these amazing brains. And the more we learn of them, the more amazing they reveal themselves to be.
And one thing I know for true, having worked with mental theories for a while, is what we tell ourselves, we become. If I look on a terrible event as personal, pervasive, and permanent, my depression will last so much longer. But if I can see that though I had a part in it, I didn’t cause the war, and the event doesn’t color my whole life and this too shall pass, then the negative emotions don’t own me. Or at least for not nearly as long!
We have choices as to how we see the world and our part in it, and how we frame events, and even how we feel about all of the above.
An old college roommate contacted me recently. Decades have passed since we’ve been in touch. She was such a hoot then, and filled with oh-so-many true-life gifts, succeeding in everything she did–when she didn’t self-sabotage. But self-sabotage was her middle name. Her mantra then was, “This is so hard.” No matter what this was at the time.
I’d forgotten that, actually. Until one of the first things out of her mouth when we spoke was about social media, and she said, “This is so hard.”
Wow. All these decades later. Seeing life in terms of how hard a certain thing is to do. With all of her potential, all of the gifts given her, she’s not been able to use them to succeed professionally or personally. She feels like a failure.
Life is so hard.
After saying a prayer for her once we were off the phone, gratitude filled my heart. While I feel empathy for her situation, and truly wish her better (she’ll stay on my prayer list a while), how appreciative I am for the lessons and trials and knowledge that have brought me to where I am today.
Because I don’t see life that way. A while back, I changed my mind. And yes, it took a lot of work, a lot of discipline, and sometimes does to this day (I wasn’t a born optimist! LOL). But I decided to live life happy.
And from everything we—seekers and students of all ilk—know, happiness is a choice.
As the Buddha said, “To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him. ”
And that I know for true.