Epiphany: Happiness is a choice.
#dearself is a series of blog posts written to my past, present, or future self. I hope you can find a lesson or gentle reminder in this personal note that you can apply to your life as well.
Are you happy? You have asked yourself this question so many times throughout your life. Whenever people asked you where you envisioned your life in the future, your answer always included that you wanted “to be happy.” If someone asked you right now where you want to be five, ten, or twenty years from now, “being happy” would definitely make the list. Sure, it’s a common goal. Then again, who would not want to be happy in this life?
I am OK with you leaving happiness on your list of goals as long as you promise me to remember one important thing—happiness is a choice, not a chase.
There were so many times when you didn’t feel happy. It was sad for me to watch you become increasingly frustrated with not “feeling” happy because happiness is just that—a feeling.
The “feeling” came and went and the other feeling called blah came and went too. I cannot even tell you how many hours, days, weeks, and even months you spent trying to figure out what would make you happy. At times you looked like a deflated happy birthday balloon struggling to hold on to helium. You smiled and wished that people could not detect how frustrated or unhappy you were, but I know you and I knew better.
Yet, look at you now. Time taught you what I and life were trying to teach you all along—happiness is a choice, not a chase. You were quite hardheaded at times, but you slowly started to learn that you can bring happiness into your life instead of waiting for it to come knocking on your door.
Please do me a favor…
Do not go back to being a hoarder of stress. I am going to need you to eliminate the joy killers in your life one by one. Do not think for one second that you are going to just coast through life and stumble upon happiness. You are going to need to work on this thing!
By the way, can I just say one thing before I move on? Child, thank goodness you learned to stop equating people and things to your happiness! You were killing me with that emotional rollercoaster. Ugh! I’m sorry, but I had to get that one out. Oh, and another thing, we secretly had a party when you discovered that happiness is not something you need to earn. I’m not sure how you developed that warped thinking, but we have put that thinking through a lie detector test and it determined that whoever told you that is indeed a liar.
Your joy is what is going to endure when you have less than you hoped for. You do understand that life may become somewhat unpredictable, right? Well, it’s up to you to continue stamping your life with the hashtag #goodvibesonly. Yes, good vibes only! Learn to breathe and give your mind a break from ruminating on things that stress, worry, or deplete your joy. Not just once, but whenever your mind needs it. Breathe baby, breathe.
Honestly, I’m proud of your growth. You’ve moved from chasing happiness to making happiness a choice. Now, the goal is to learn to maintain your inner joy among all the different demands of life. Overall, I think you are going to crush this goal. All you need to do is remember some of the things that help you stay in control of your joy.
A few practical tips to help you keep choosing happiness along the way:
- Take control of the things you can and make a plan for your day. This will allow you to make time for things that bring you happiness or at least help you manage your stress levels.
- Check your stress! Minimize it as much as you can. Take deep breaths.
- Be more conscious of the things that go well. Everything cannot be going wrong.
- Take a few moments to be thankful for both the small and big blessings in your life.
- Let it go. Don’t dwell on the negative for too long. Allow yourself time to mope and then move on. Tomorrow is a new day and this too shall pass.
- Be happy for someone else. Happiness is contagious 🙂
- Feed your happiness jar. Listen, read, explore, and surround yourself with things and people that inspire and motivate you.
- Practice self-care.
- Exercise, meditate, and pray.
- Be patient and don’t expect perfection; it’s not realistic.
If you can choose happiness and find that joy inside, I can almost promise you that happiness will keep choosing you.
Remember, happiness is a choice, not a chase.
How do YOU continue to choose happiness every day? Comment below!