By Marcela Owen
When I first pondered the notion of making myself happy, I thought it was ridiculous. I think that theory derived from those popular words that moms and grandmas often say: “someday you will meet someone that will make you happy”, words like that stay with you for a very long time, and they leak into your subconscious mind too! With this mindset my attitude toward relationships, especially romantic ones, was the continuous belief that achieving happiness was not my responsibility. I always thought that if someone really, truly loved me, they would make an effort to make me happy. In other words, the responsibility of making me happy, all by myself, was completely lifted off my shoulders.
Boy was I wrong! As I grew up, both physically and emotionally, I learned that happiness and joy emerges within. I realized that no one else knows me better than me. I also realized that I can’t lie to myself because I know the truth! And with that said, I could never even try to compromise my morals and values because I could see right through it. Realistically, who would know what make us happy better than ourselves? No one! Absolutely no one would know.
Once I came to this realization, my life completely changed. First of all, I took ownership of my time spent with other people. This exercise led me to truly evaluate all my relationships, platonic and romantic. I discovered that while I am responsible for my own happiness, I’m also responsible for my thoughts and the decisions that I make. For example, if my goal is to achieve constant joy, regardless of my surroundings, I would make an extra effort to exclude people and relationships from my life that deter my well-being. People that bring drama to my joy and people that inflict their morals and values that are completely polar opposite from mine would be excluded, especially if we end up having nothing in common. I also discovered that I had many friendships in my life that appeared stable and healthy. But as I evaluate my trajectory among friends and acquaintances, it is clear now that I had to make significant changes to reach my ultimate goal. Yes, joy is my ultimate goal. Nothing can take your joy away once you are determined to live your life under this rule. Nothing can touch or change your core decision to experience joy all the time, at least in your heart. Joy is present in my life regardless of circumstances, tragedies, or dramas. We are all humans that experience ups and downs. We also experience various feelings and as we experience life we will “feel” all kinds of emotions. Depending on what is going on in our lives, we may cry, become angry, feel resentment and experience other emotions. The key is to control how we react to these situations that, at the end of the day, they are simply lessons to be learned. At first out of habit, I react abruptly to challenging situations, but once I take a deep breath and control my thoughts, I understand that ALL happens for a reason and for an ultimate good. It takes the same energy to see things from a positive light as it does from viewing things from a place of negativity. Make a conscious effort today to control your thoughts, you surroundings and the people you choose to interact with in your life.
Happiness is a very interesting concept. Everyone wants it, everyone tries to have it but for some reason it’s not always attainable, or so easy. Or is it? Could it be easy? My belief is that happiness is a decision that we can all make. Be happy no matter what comes our way. I made a commitment to remain in a joyous state of mind every day of my life. It all started a few years ago when my life was hit with intense tragedy. I had to make a decision about how to handle the situation. Part of me wanted to explode and also act on my emotions that were full of anger and resentment. Part of me fought hard to view things from a positive point of view. I wasn’t too successful this time around so stress and negativity took over me. I didn’t have experience with tragedies of this magnitude, so it was more of a learning experience for me. I learned a few life lessons:
- I cannot control other people. Not their behavior, not their views, not their actions.
- Everyone has a good side and a bad side in them. I choose to see the good and discard the bad.
- Negativity will only bring more negativity. Changing my thoughts, expecting the best and praying/meditating will put me at ease not matter what situation I’m facing.
- It takes the same amount of energy to whine and complain as it does thinking of a solution, staying positive and loving.
My take of it all is that life is too short to live it in misery! I encourage everyone to turn things around if you are facing a tough period in your life.
Many of you are probably thinking that “your” situation is devastating and that I don’t understand the pain and grief that you are going through, or that you went through in the past. Maybe I haven’t experienced exactly what you have gone through or are going through but I’m confident that I’ve experienced what you are feeling. I remember my heart aching so badly from a broken heart that I would rather feel physical pain instead. I have felt intense, emotional pain in my lifetime so I know that feeling of desperation, depression and physical ache quite well. I remember how stress of this level can affect your physical well-being, when things are too hard to handle. I know it very well. When we feel this way, we have to make an effort to see things from a different point of view, from a spiritual point of view. When we position things from spirituality, all is based on love, compassion and understanding. It could never fail, because love never fails. Some of these feelings are based on fear. Don’t let fear get the best of you. Go with the flow, recognize this is simply life and move toward a positive outlook. This is your specific journey of life, why not embrace it and deal with challenges with our head up high. Take an attitude full of compassion, kindness and forgiveness. Just make a decision to do it, don’t over thinking it and flip your thinking from negative to positive ALWAYS – No exceptions. If we train our minds to react positively no matter what, and even if it’s difficult, our outcome will change.