Search the internet for “How To Be Happy” and 157,000,000 results show up. Wow. That’s a lot of advice. However, I believe one of the most important steps to happiness is taking responsibility for it.
What do I mean by that? It means recognizing that our happiness starts with us. This also means realizing that we are sabotaging our own happiness. How are we doing that? We say YES when we want to say NO, we do things that aren’t fulfilling, etc.
So here are 3 ways that we can take responsibility for our own happiness:
- DESIRE TO BE HAPPY – I know this may sound a bit obvious, but how can you expect to be happy unless you want to be happy? It’s essential that you make your own happiness a number one priority in your life.
- MAKE GOOD CHOICES – Whenever I make a bad choice in my life, like lying to my mom or being mean to my sisters, I feel very bad about myself and I don’t really want to feel happy or reward myself. It may seem irrational, but that is how our minds work! Also, it’s important that you make good choices based on how happy it will make you.
- FILL YOUR LIFE WITH PURPOSE – Although you may think that you would be happy if you could watch TV all day and eat ice cream and pizza, after a while all you would be feeling is indifferent. Pleasure and happiness are NOT the same thing. It’s been scientifically proven! True happiness comes from living a purposeful life – doing things that help others.
Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky had students perform five acts of kindness of their choosing per week over the course of six weeks and they reported a significant increase in their levels of happiness, as opposed to another group of students who didn’t.
So, the more value we create for others, the more value we assign ourselves, and the happier we can be! Of course, providing help to others only works in our favor if we actually want to do so. If we feel obligated to serve, whether by shame or pride, it won’t really help anyone.
“If one lights a fire for others,” wrote Nichiren Daishonin, “one will brighten one’s own way.” The moments in which we feel happiest aren’t just moments to be enjoyed, they are moments to be shared with everyone!
Remember that you are in control of your own happiness. You can choose to be happy or sad. Let yourself be happy.
Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse who spent years working with elderly people on their deathbeds, noticed something that came up repeatedly among her patients at the end of their lives was that they regretted not “letting” themselves be happy. Her words to us are worth remembering:
Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again … Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
How will you choose happiness? Let me know in the comments below!