Someone once asked me, “how have you become so happy?“, I couldn’t immediately offer up an answer, but I did sit and think about it. Obviously, most people aren’t happy ALL of the time (including myself) but, personally, I believe that happiness is a choice.
You might think “oh come on, how can you be happy if something awful has happened!” but every situation you face in life is a choice…not a choice whether it occurs or not but a choice whether to define yourself on the basis of that situation or whether to see it for what it is, acknowledge how it made you feel and then unravel any mistaken beliefs about yourself, life or other people you brought out of that situation and, once free from those mistaken beliefs, choose to be happy.
It took me numerous years of psychotherapy, alternative therapies and healing sessions before I fully came to understand this, because (like most people) I’d been through some shitty situations, not least, childhood sexual abuse which is a sucker punch to your being by anyone’s standards and can set you on a path of self-destruction.
I’ve never really talked about it publicly before, but for very many years that experience secretly felt like the defining experience of my life. Children tend to make sense of the world in a very black and white way…” bad things happen because I’m bad or I’ve done something to deserve it“.
Of course, as adults, we have the ability to see the world in all its shades of grey and, in doing so, correct this stunted way of interpreting situations, but the residue of that childhood interpretation can lie in one’s subconscious. That subconscious negative self-thought can then (unintentionally as far as your conscious mind is concerned) act like a beacon to the universe which will, of course, mirror that negative thought frequency straight back at you and thus your experience of life can feel like a snowball effect of negative experiences. And all the while, you’re thinking “why do bad things keep happening to me…haven’t I been through enough?”
So, if I examine what really changed in my life, of course I couldn’t go back in time and un-experience the situation itself, but I chose not to define myself by that situation. What did I do? Personally, I found it helpful to get professional assistance to look at how the situation affected me, acknowledge the feelings that arose out of it and examine the things I took on as beliefs about myself based on those feelings in order to correct or diffuse those beliefs because they were pretty much ALL wrong!
I’ve offered up my own experience here, but I feel this goes for all manner of situations…the same principle applies…look at what you’re taking away from the experience as truth about yourself, life, others. If you’re ping-ponging from one bad relationship to another look at what you’ve told yourself about yourself because, as much as you know you deserve better, perhaps subconsciously you don’t feel worthy and that sense of unworthiness will be broadcasting to the universe.
I often watch my little nephew playing or going about his business and I find myself in awe at how natural and free of limiting self beliefs he is, this accompanied by the sheer pleasure and joy he sees in the mundane (mondial, of the world) results in a pretty happy little chap…joyous in fact.
I think that’s the key really, it doesn’t matter what happens to you as long as you don’t allow that experience to make you believe that you are anything less than what you really are, which is PERFECTION (we all are)!! That coupled with taking joy in small, everyday things (for me seeing little birds in my garden, a cup of tea, checking on my veggies) and re-framing situations in positive ways all set you up well.
I’ll leave you with some tips from someone far wiser than I!
What Kinds of Choices and Values Lead to Real Happiness?
Meditation, which opens up deeper levels of the mind.
Actions that benefit others.
Social relationships that support intimacy and bonding.
Inspiration through reading the world’s scriptures and poetry.
Taking enjoyment in natural beauty.
Having a vision of personal fulfillment that you follow every day.
Aiming for inner fulfillment rather than external fulfillment.
Taking time for peaceful reflection.
Learning to love your own company, cultivating the self as a state of being.
Eschewing violence and anger in all its forms, gross and subtle.
Resolving conflicts, both inner and outer, rather than letting them build up.
Paying one’s debt to the past, which means healing old hurts and grievances.
Stepping away from group thinking and second-hand opinions.
Giving up a belief in enemies and us-versus-them thinking.
Cultivating kindness and compassion.
Being generous of spirit, learning to give.
Seeing yourself as part of a larger humanity, and humanity itself as an expression of the divine, despite our flaws.
Wishing you happiness!