When you think of being happy with your life, you probably imagine specific circumstances that will make you feel content and satisfied. You might see yourself with a better job, more money, a committed relationship, or any number of other possibilities.
But do these things guarantee happiness?
You can probably think of people who already have the very things you want, yet they don’t seem happy at all. They may have plenty of money, but experience serious relationship problems. They may have a thriving career but struggle with health issues.
Logically you know that money, prestige and outer “stuff” cannot make you happy, but you may still hold a mental image of what happiness looks like – which probably doesn’t match the way your life is today.
You may be surprised to learn that being happy is not a result of anything that happens around you or to you, but rather making a simple choice to be happy.
That may sound like a catch-22 because it seems impossible to feel happy when you’re dissatisfied with your life as it is right now. However, you don’t have to be completely satisfied with every aspect of your life in order to feel happy.
Happiness is a state of mind. It’s a willingness to focus more on the positive aspects of your life and minimize the negative.
When you feel unhappy, you are focusing most of your attention on lack. You’re thinking about the parts of your life that aren’t working as you’d prefer such as stress from your job, financial difficulties, car trouble, relationship conflicts, and so on.
When you decide to be happy right now, regardless of anything you still want to change in your life, you immediately shift into a mind-set of abundance and joy. You’re better able to make the most of your job, juggle financial commitments, communicate better with others, and generally see the brighter side of most situations. You begin choosing to feel good rather than obsessing about the things that have the potential to make you feel bad.
Perhaps you’ve tried to feel happy despite difficult circumstances but weren’t able to maintain the positive feelings? Understand that happiness is a choice you have to make in every moment.
Choosing it once will last only as long as outer circumstances don’t contradict your intention. When something negative or challenging happens, you’ll find yourself at a crossroads again! Do you shift your focus away from the negatives and back to the positives again, or do you allow yourself to be swept down the road of dissatisfaction?
Remember that there will always be negative things you can focus on, no matter how wonderful your life becomes. There will always be challenges and obstacles that can potentially threaten your outlook on life. But there will also always be great things you can focus on.
When you finally understand that you have the power to choose what you give most of your attention to, the positives will quickly outweigh the negatives and you’ll find yourself experiencing a greater sense of happiness much of the time.