We are too complex, too smart, and too analytical for our own good. We make life way too difficult, we kill our bliss and joy too often, and we sabotage perfect opportunities too frequently.
No wonder that for most of us, happiness is a phenomena, rather than a daily achievable reality, an easy state of being.
No wonder we feel confused, inadequate, and morose on perfectly sunny days and find “problems” when we hardly have any real problems.
No wonder inner peace is a state of being we associate with monk buddhists or enlightened yogis, rather than ordinary human beings such as you and me.
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But just because this is the norm in our society today does not mean it has to be that way.
Happiness is easy. Happiness is the opposite of complex, the opposite of logic, the opposite of analysis, the opposite of planning and achieving.
Happiness just is. You can refuse and resist happiness all day long, just as you can refuse and resist medication for your illness. Doing so does not make happiness itself any less effective, powerful or accessible than your much needed medication. It is YOU that gets in the way.
Oh my reader reader, and lest you assume I walk around with a big grin on my face every day and night, let me just say that happiness has always been hard for me.
Yet I know that happiness eludes me because I resist and complicate it. So I’ve decide to stop the mood swings between happiness and misery, and really examine the state of happiness and how to bask in it.
Here’s what I found that definitely works every single time if you want to know how to live a happy life. In fact, you might even find it surprising as I did. And a friendly alert: these discoveries will make you feel uncomfortable, icky and embarrassed at first. But it’s totally worth it.
If You Want a Happy Life, It Starts With …
1- If you want a happy life, it starts with your words.
You can’t be happy with yourself when you have just uttered unkind words to either a loved one or a stranger. You can’t be happy if you’ve conjured up awful mean thoughts to someone who cut you off in the grocery queue or at the library.
You can’t force happiness into a guilty conscience.
The only way to win this battle is to slow down and take stock of why exactly you rush to judge, to feel bad, or to declare a sour mood on a perfectly sunny day.
Why do you feel that you should have a say as to how things were supposed to go in the first place?
Is it really true that the way you want something to turn out is always the best way for them to turn out?
Or is there perhaps a bigger mystery at work here that even you and I may not comprehend?
What to do instead: Chew your words and run them through 3 gates in your mind before you say anything. Start right now. The first gate asks if the words are kind. The second gate asks if the words are necessary. And the last gate asks if the words are true. If all your answer are a yes, then say the words. If one answer is a no, then hold your tongue.
2- If you want a happy life, it starts with your character.
You can’t be happy if you are judging the circumstances in your life constantly instead of accepting them. Accepting does not mean that you don’t care, or that you are uninterested in improving it. Don’t confuse the two.
Accepting means that you are clear about what’s real, what’s happening – instead of arguing with reality. When you come to grips with what is, you can then decide if you want to go along with it or if you want to create a new circumstance in your life.
What to do instead: When you catch yourself judging and analyzing everything – why your ride is late, why your boss skipped you for the promotion, why your parents lied to you about Santa, whatever it may be, quickly pause and find one reason why the way things turned out is marvelous, terrific, and just plain perfect. Write that reason down. Remind yourself about it next time you jump to judgements and worst case scenarios about life’s little hiccups.
3- If you want a happy life, it starts with your beliefs.
What you believe, you manifest. What you believe comes to be. If you believe yourself to have power and will, you shall have it. If you believe yourself worthy of achieving your dreams and then go work for them, you will achieve them.
Likewise, if you think yourself unworthy of a home, good health, lots of money or happy relationships, you will then manifest poverty, illness and cancerous relationships in your life.
What to do instead: If your belief system is the foundation for the kind of life you want to build, why not make it a good one? Did you know that you can choose your beliefs and – here’s the really good news – you can discard the beliefs that are not true. Use Byron Katie’s amazing questions in The Work and create a new belief system, then watch it create a new life for you.
4- If you want a happy life, it starts with your humility.
You can’t be happy if you are full of expectations. What your husband or wife must do to live up to your expectation. What your children and pets should do to fulfill your expectations. What your company and boss and management should do to satisfy your expectations.
Ask yourself: Why should anyone live up to you and your big list of expectations? Your expectations are ego-driven and your ego will lead you astray in life. Watch out!
Nobody owes you anything and when you make them feel obligated by listing all your grand expectations – not to mention a list of past disappointments as a result of them not meeting those expectations in the past, you are only creating a web of unhappiness, a perpetuation of disappointment in your life.
You can never have inner peace as long as you are living in your cloud of expectations. So stop expecting and embrace humility.
What to do instead: First, drop all your expectations, past or present, personal or professional and when you do, feel the heavy weight lift off your back. Stand up tall and confident. Then start entering into agreements. Get yourself and the other person to agree to something that works for both of you. Get them to give you their word and you give them theirs.
No more superiority of expectation from you imposed to them. Instead, two intelligent people enter into a mutually beneficial agreement, and that is the most effective way to get what you want in life and thus be happy.
5- If you want a happy life, it starts with your reality.
And you can’t be happy if you are getting mad at every little or not-so-little thing that happens to you or for you.
Getting worked up sucks out the life force and the beautiful energy that you could put to use to a much better, calmer, happier state of being.
And there is no doubt about the regrets that always follow when you lose your temper, but even if you know it not to be good for you, you do it.
You continue to self-sabotage the good life you have because you confuse actual reality with the way you think that they ought to be.
What to do instead: You can argue with reality until you are blue in the face but in the end, you’ll lose. So skip the argument and start winning from the start. Take a deep breath and go for a walk when you feel your temper rising. Remind yourself to stay in your own business and not another person’s when you feel like meddling, and use positive affirmations to shine a light on this beautiful reality that is YOUR LIFE.
The only question I have for you is: Do you want to know how to live a happy life? Do you really want to be happy? Or do you have more important, more urgent, more serious matters to tend to while happiness awaits?