Happiness is a Consequence of Personal Effort
One of my favorite quotes is from Elizabeth Gilbert from the book Eat Pray Love. In it, she states “Happiness is a consequence of personal effort.” I am known in my social circle for being a very happy and uplifting person. But I have news for you folks. That ain’t natural; I work HARD at it.
When I was a teen and into my 20s, I struggled with depression and anxiety. Like most people, I had a lot to deal with. What I did not know at the time was that I had a CHOICE in the matter.
It is really true that people can choose to be happy. Once I learned that, I took control of my situation, instead of allowing myself to be miserable and let my circumstances control your life.
“How do I choose happiness?” you might ask. Well step one is to decide you would like to be happy by letting go of your problems.
Let. Them. Go.
Your problems do not serve you. Your problems only hurt you. I am not suggesting that you repress your emotions, but I am suggesting that you work through them proactively.
I will give you an example. Let’s say you are really mad at someone. Your anger is completely justifiable. Does this justifiable anger change the outcome? Probably not. Does this justifiable anger bring justice or resolution to the situation? Definitely not. But I guarantee you this: that justifiable anger does hurt you! Just as love begets love, anger begets anger.
Deciding is the First Step to Change
So here is what a yogi would suggest: the next time you are experiencing very intense negative emotions, just stop for a second. Stop dead in your tracks and make a choice. Decide if you want to let the emotion fester, or if you would rather deal with the emotion.
Personally, I try to reason with myself. I tell myself that my anger/hurt/jealousy/rage/fill-in-the-blank-emotion does not serve me.
I explain to my sensitive ego that those negative emotions are only hurting me. I don’t know about you, but when I realize that my decisions are only hurting me, I try to find a solution to the problem instead of letting my negative emotions run the gamut.
It may not help others the way it helps me, but it is a technique I have learned that works from me.
Simple, Not Easy
Happiness does not come free of charge, but neither do most things that are invaluable.
What I am proposing takes a lot of effort and practice. But in time, breathing through a situation, and calming yourself down will pay dividends.