Do you really want to be happy? This is not a trick question but one that calls for a serious, thought provoking reflection of your life. I believe the majority of people might respond to this question with qualifiers. “I will be happy when …” They consciously or subconsciously place conditions on their own happiness. They might think that they will be happy when the get a new home, job, a true friend or enough money to pay the bills at the end of the month. The problem with this type of thinking is that as one qualifier is attained another one simply surfaces in their mind to take its place. For instance, once they get the new house they may begin thinking about the furniture they ‘need’ to make it better. It becomes a never ending cycle. Any condition you put on happiness automatically limits your ability to attain it.
People who think of qualifiers before believe they will be happy live in the past or future not in the present. They continually see their cup as half empty and often have a deep seated preference to view life as a burden not a gift. It may be a result of early conditioning. Yet all of us have had challenges growing up – some greater than others – but some have manage to pull up their bootstraps and move past them. How is it that some people see a pile of yuk but are insistent in their minds that there is a pony in there somewhere? True, they are the perpetual optimists and also true, they are a joy to be around. They are living a life of happiness.
If we believe our lack of happiness in life is because of what we don’t have we are sure to get more of the same. The Universe just works that way. We get more of what is foremost in our thinking. Thinking of the ‘lack’ in our life produces more ‘lack’. With this mindset, life becomes heavier each day until we feel we will break from carrying the weight. Then one day we may wake up and say, ‘Enough!’ There is always, always something to be grateful for if we choose to see life through a different lense. Change your lense and let in more light!
When we begin digging into the spiritual side of life it becomes apparent that each of us has unique lessons to learn and challenges to overcome. As different as each script is we all have one big thing in common – learning to find happiness along the way. It’s as if the life script each of us has written has HAPPINESS as the key word. How each of us goes about learning it remains our life challenge.
Being happy and living in the present doesn’t mean not having goals to work toward and ultimately achieve. What it does mean, however, is that we recognize that each moment of each day offers a reason to be grateful and happy that you are alive and making a contribution on planet earth. It is not necessarily the type of the contribution but the fact you are choosing to do it that is important. Even offering a smile to someone to brighten their day is a contribution. We are learning lessons – some more difficult than others, granted, but we have been given the gift of time to learn them.
If you keep it simple and truly ask yourself, ‘Do I want to be happy?’ you will realize it is fully under your control. But you must decide to be happy without conditions. Choosing unconditional happiness means that whatever happens whatever challenges occur in your life you will decide to see them in the context of the bigger picture of life – your end goal – and refuse to let them wear you down.
George Bernard Shaw’s quote is worth remembering in this context:
“Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
He was talking about learning and accomplishing things in life and a big part of accomplishing things is the attitude that we bring to the task regardless of the difficulty. Deciding to be happy allows each of us to be more, achieve more and celebrate more before passing our torch on to future generations.
Over the next few days you might want to really think about making a conscious decision, sort of a vow to yourself, to choose happiness – because you can – it is within your power regardless of the path you have chosen. It makes the bumps in the road much easier to maneuver around and helps to make life fuller, richer and more meaningful. Happiness is yours simply by choosing it!
Have a great few days!