There are some days that being happy seems like the worst chore. It should be easy—laughter, happy moments, smiles; when not forced seem to just happen automatically when the moment is right. But, when it is forced, when you’re just trying to find a modicum of hope, its more frustrating than sorting quinoa by hand, kernel by kernel.
However, happiness is really just an adjusted perspective. No, really, it is. The way or the view you have of something today can be different tomorrow. You like your job and are happy in it one day, but through a chain of events, your perspective is changed and you’re not a fan tomorrow. Maybe it’s something simple like a co-worker that you thought was an ally is now a questionable foe. Maybe you failed to complete an assignment, and got a slap on the wrist for it. Maybe you realized that you’ve got a higher calling in life and this job feels like its holding you back. Or any number of other things and combinations of factors. The point is, today your perspective of something that made you happy, has now been altered. You’ve shifted. Now that a kernel of doubt is seeding in your head, it starts to grow—for better or for worse. Sometimes you think and analyze the thing that happened, and sometimes you let it go, and it quietly changes within you. It creates unrest—and in my experience, unrest is never a happy feeling. Nothing is “wrong,” per se, but its no longer “right.” You can feel a crossroads coming—but you’re not quite there yet. I think because we start to feel the brink of change, that we feel this unrest. To give you a visual, you’ve been walking along your path for a while, somewhat blindly, because it has just a slight incline—one that makes you think that you’re going in the right direction, because a road that leads uphill must lead to something that will better you. As you feel yourself starting to edge up and over the top, you see—still off in the distance—but a change or a crossroads where you have to change or adapt. Well, I guess you don’t have to… you could turn around and go back down the way you came. But, it is my belief that even if you choose the wrong road, you’ll eventually wind your way back around to where you’re meant to go. But I digress.
If you’re looking for more on change, I wrote about that earlier here. Back to happiness. Change has happened causing unease and possibly anxiety. Anxiety, not sadness, is the opposite of happiness. This seems to be true in my life. I would wager it’s the same in yours. The thing is, whereas happiness seems like the easiest fixes to make, it is one of the hardest things to continually achieve. Partially because its an emotion open to interpretation. Partially because human beings tend to like things like answers, closure, and reasons. Because of this, the question we ask most is: Why? (Second only to asking where the closest bathroom is. Too many years of customer service have led me to live that statistic.)
Happiness, although we would like to believe it is simple, really isn’t as easy to achieve. Its not like it prepackaged at the local drug store—although the big pharmaceutical companies would like to tell you that it is. (By the way, I would like to pause for a moment and say that if you find yourself unchangingly depressed—GO SEEK HELP. There is nothing to be ashamed of, especially during these cold, depressing wintry months. Please seek out someone to talk to you. There are programs for low income therapy, and life coaching out there—just an internet search away.)
Back to the point: Some days you might just find yourselves visiting the doldrums. You know the feeling of unhappiness. Sometimes you find yourself there—nothing is specifically wrong or caused unhappiness, but something is just… off. Whatever this momentary feeling is, it’s been a few hours or a few days and you know that you’re the only one who can solve your unhappiness. This is a general rule. You’re the only one who can truly make yourself happy or unhappy. Again, it’s a perspective. How other people affect this is your view point of their actions. Its not that he didn’t call, its how you feel about him not calling and letting it affect you. Its not about the asshat at work who threw you under the bus, its that you let the asshat get under your skin. Happiness is ALWAYS a perspective.
I wrote this part in a green notebook on the subway on my way to my survival job. The train keeps making long stops at every station causing anxiety, unrest, and yes, unhappiness: I’ll probably be late, even though I left enough time. Today it’s a bigger deal that I’m on time, but there really isn’t much I can do. My happiness doesn’t depend on the train performing as it should, but instead rests in my brain. As an adult and a high functioning human, I have already made all of the connections in my brain which are this: Oh no! this train will make me late; my boss is in today and will be paying attention to my arrival time and will think that I regularly coast in like this every day when normally I’m on time, if not early, and I might get reprimanded, or even fired; and then I’d have no money and no place to live and I can’t take that Cancun vacation I had planned and I’ll have to move back in with my mother who will ask me daily about any number of my life choices from underwear, to detergent, to men and will point out that I’m doing it all wrong!
Woooooooah, Tiger!! Its JUST a train. Just a few minutes. And my mother isn’t that bad—actually my mother just recently turned in her application for sainthood, but that sounds like I’m bragging, and anyway I digress. Again… Lets go step by step backwards. I won’t have to live with my mom. There are other people I can live with, plus my roommate is super understanding, and we can call the landlord if needed. But it won’t be needed, because I won’t lose my job over a few minutes. And even if I did, I will just apply for unemployment and other jobs in the interim. But really, my boss isn’t that bad, and is less stressed about time than I am. Deep breath. And once again the train is moving. (I actually was only two minutes late that day, and my boss wasn’t even there, so the point was moot).
Again, was all of this train nonsense a reality? Nope, it was perspective. Once I stepped back and told myself that all was ok, and took a breath, I was fine. Actually, I was happy to have an extra few minutes to write out my thoughts in my notebook, so I could get this inspiration written.
In those moments of unhappiness, step back. Go from the craziest thought first and debunk it. Breathe. Take it one step at a time, and come back from that negative ledge. All will be right again.
You deserve to be happy. You also control your happiness. Yup. Go ahead, read that again. You DESERVE to be HAPPY and are IN CONTROL of your OWN HAPPINESS. Stop the madness. When you feel your brain spiraling out of control, take it step by step backwards through the muck. Rationalize all of those thoughts. Most won’t happen. And for the ones that have a good chance, make a plan or two or three to give yourself the strength to deal with it. I don’t know each of you individually, but I’m sure you have some sort of resources at your disposal. If you’re reading this you’re already on the internet… just internet search some ideas!
Now, for the things that make you continually unhappy, think about how you can change them. Stop the idea that you can change another person—that DOESN’T work. However you can express to the other person your needs or concerns. Recently, a good friend of mine approached her boyfriend because she needed more communication… she asked if he would text and call her at least once a day, and that she needed some sort of reply to the texts she sent him. She wasn’t trying to change him, she was just expressing a need. Just because you express the need doesn’t mean you’ll get it, however in just saying it out loud to another person, you might also find that you don’t actually have that need, or it isn’t as big of a need as it seems. I am learning to ask for help when needed. To read about it, go here.
You’ll find the moment you start to take control of your own happiness, you’ll actually find happiness. What a freaking mind blowing concept!?! Make your own happiness. Again—you deserve to be happy. So, go out, Live ClareLesley, and make your own happiness. You’ll find that you’ll actually attract more happiness and will double your own return!