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If I have learned one thing in my five decades of life, it’s this simple, fundamental truth...happiness is a choice. Every. Single. Day. We can allow negative circumstances to dampen our general well-being...or we can choose to be joyful regardless of what’s going on in our lives. The option to operate from a place of happiness always exists.
I guess I’ve always had an inkling of this basic truth, but I fought it.
Often, I fought it hard.
Sometimes it’s easier, and oddly more satisfying, to get stuck in a crappy head-space and stay there. It seems to be a common human tendency to wallow in our bad moods. I’m not sure why this feels like a good idea...maybe because it doesn't require us to make any effort in working towards a solution.
And, misery certainly loves company. So if we’re in a bad spot chances are someone we know is also suffering and we take comfort in the shared experience of complaining and commiserating...keeping the wind in the sails of our wallowing.
There are not many things that I know to be 100% true...but I am completely certain that happiness is indeed a choice.
How else can we explain the pure joy present in the souls of some who suffer so greatly?
Nelson Mandela endured 27 years of imprisonment and yet he is known to have been one of the most profoundly happy men in history? He clearly made a very conscious choice to find joy, even in the darkest of circumstances.
A few years ago, I watched a video series by author and motivational speaker, T. Harv Eker. At the time, our family was under an incredible amount of stress. Life seemed rather bleak and the road ahead, very rocky.
As I watched T. Harv Eker share his thoughts on ways to live a better life, it was impossible to miss the large graphic message on the wall behind him…
As I listened to Mr. Eker's words, it was the large printed words behind him that really spoke to me.
(note: the video linked above is not the video that I actually watched, but it's the only one I can find today that shows the phrase)
The message was incredibly simple and direct. I found those three words to be a strong and compelling battle cry.
The choice was clearly mine.
Why was it so hard to switch off the wallowing and despair and tap into the practice of finding joy in the present moment? The simplicity of it intrigued me then and still does today. This clear, concise phrase has stuck with me since I first saw it on Mr. Eker’s wall.
Back then, I wasn’t ready to really embrace the words and the actions they seemed to require...forgiveness, acceptance, hope. As a result, I’ve wasted a few additional years by continuing to choose irritation, misery and frustration at times when I could have been choosing happiness.
I’m not sure what's changed exactly (fifty is a magical, transformative age:-)...but I’ve decided to actually live these words.
I love the message behind each simple word.
Like any skill we want to fully develop, happiness requires practice. By choosing to practice being happy on a regular basis, I believe we create a new default setting.
A positive, joyful outlook becomes the norm.
Oh, the delightful feeling of being happy. Who doesn't want more of this? If happiness seems like too tall an order, strive for contentment. Work towards being at peace with the present moment. Add in a little happy over time.
This is really the kicker. I think we're all skilled at planning to be happy in the future. We put off feeling joy because of the troubles we are facing today. We will be happy when something changes. That mindset follows us into tomorrow and the happiness we expect never occurs.
With enough practice, in the present moment, our fall-back mode can become a state of happy instead of a state of unhappy. But it is a practice. One we can do literally anytime and anywhere. No fee or special equipment required. So what are we waiting for?
Happiness is a choice.
It’s my choice.
It’s your choice.
How do you practice happiness?
Do you need reminding?
Is it easier to be happy or sad?
Don’t miss a single day!
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Thank you so much for reading.