Monday, June 27, 2011

Keys to Happiness: Happiness is a Choice, Part 2

Forget your troubles come on get happy! For this six week series, we'll discover some of the keys to happiness!
Happiness can be an easy choice to make when viewed from a ‘micro,’ a day-by-day basis. But, what about overall, what about when we look at the big picture, the ‘macro’ level. It’s hard to be happy in the midst of a divorce or an illness or financial difficulties. How do you choose happiness in the face of those large obstacles?

First of all, I’m talking about an overall condition of happiness, not a fleeting mood. Being happy overall doesn’t mean feeling happy all of the time. You can have a happy marriage and still have arguments and moments of frustration with your spouse. It doesn’t mean you don’t have a happy marriage. It means you have a real marriage. This is the kind of happiness I’m talking about.

Here’s my definition of happiness. Happiness is having problems you can manage. People have called that definition pessimistic or depressing, but I call it realistic. If you ask the man or woman on the street if they are happy, they’ll have to think about it. If I asked YOU right now, what would be the first thing that popped into your mind? Usually, it’s something negative. It’s the fact that you can’t sell your house and it’s negatively affecting your finances or your job situation or that health concern.

The first thing to pop into your head is normally that thing you feel is preventing your happiness. “If only…,” you stop and think. “If only I could get out of this debt, then I’d be happy.” “If only my relationship would improve, then I could be happy.” “If this health crisis would work out, I could be happy.”

So we keep happiness at bay, while we wait for that perfect storm of perfect circumstances when everything is exactly as it should be. Most of the time, it never comes. In real life, there is always something that could be better or different. There are things that will change that we wish would stay the same and there are things that stay the same that we wish would change.

Happiness happens in spite of all of those things and it’s still a choice. You do your best to handle the bad while you appreciate and take pleasure in the things that are good. You live in the present and enjoy the moment without getting overwhelmed with thoughts of the future or focusing on the regrets of the past. You see the glass as half full instead of half empty or complaining that it isn’t a full glass.

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