Are you familiar with the phrase €I'll be happy when I€¦€¦'
More importantly, does it sound like you?
The Cambridge dictionary defines happy as: feeling, showing or causing pleasure or satisfaction. So many times we wait for something or someone to make us happy. We believe we'll be happy when we get the promotion, meet that special person, buy the house, and maybe win the lottery.
Happiness is a decision. Make that decision everyday. Irrespective of what life throws your way, you can choose your state. You and not your situations should determine whether you stay happy or not. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you won't have bad days, neither am I saying you shouldn't express your pain. Am saying irrespective of the pain and anger, choose to be happy. Acknowledge the situation (don't be in denial), express your pain (and you should) whatever way you want to, but after it's said, don't let it get the better of you. Don't let your disposition and attitude towards life become one of despair or rejection. I'm asking you to be like a thermostat which sets the temperature of a room. Whether it's hot or cold, the thermostat stays at a set temperature. It acknowledges the change in the environment; nonetheless it remains at the set temperature. The thermometer on the other hand is different; it fluctuates with different environmental conditions.
So the question is how? How do you stay happy when everything that could possibly go wrong happens? The following are some steps that have helped me stay happy inspite of:
Remember that regardless of what you are going through, someonelse will gladly switch places with you. I remember listening to a song when I was younger in Nigeria where the singer complained of having sardines and beans for food. I thought to myself, oh my gosh!! I want to live in your country; where it's a sad thing to have sardines and beans for food. For me sardine and baked beans was luxury. My parents could only occasionally afford it and whenever they did it was a big deal! I would have gladly switched places with the singer.
See the opportunity in the situation. If you've been diagnosed with a terminal illness, see the opportunity life still presents by giving you time to make the most of your relationship with your loved ones. See it as a second chance to make the rest of your life great.
Decide that you are the boss of your life. Nobody and nothing (especially not pain) will take you captive without your permission. If you've acknowledged the situation and expressed your pain, then move on. Refuse to be constantly harassed by the pain or upsetting feeling. Refuse to be held captive by the pain or situation. Instead exercise your freedom by choosing a positive state.
Find the lesson. There's always a lesson hidden inside every negative situation. Finding the lesson enhances your life and makes you stronger. Don't forget life is not just about the destination, it's also about the process and who you become as a result. Finding the lesson puts the situation in perspective and makes it more manageable.
Imagine what your life would look like if you are a thermometer. You will be highly unpredictable and unreliable because one minute you are happy, then the next you are grumpy or sad; fluctuating with the different situations life throws your way. Imagine on the other hand what your life will be like if you are a thermostat, where you take control of negative experiences and decide that inspite of them you'll be happy anyway.
In the words of Martha Washington, "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances."
As you start your week, remember that happiness is a decision. And with every negative experience you encounter, determine that you and not the situation will decide your outcome.