The past three weeks I’ve been writing a series of posts on happiness. The first was about the three lives of happiness. The second post was about money and happiness. Last week’s post was about 18 scientifically proven ways to be happy. Today we’re on the last post in the series. It’s about the fact that happiness is a choice. The last three posts I wrote on the subject were based on a lot of scientific research. So for this post I wanted to write about my own journey to finding happiness in my life, which I hope will inspire you to find happiness in your life as well!
When I was younger I never realized happiness was a choice
I’m a Scorpio and definitely show all the trademark characteristics of one. Scorpios are passionate creatures, who can feel emotions very deeply. When I was younger, this was totally fine when I was in a great mood. The issue was when the pendulum of emotions swung to the other side. I would quickly spiral down the black hole of my thoughts and emotions. I would brood over issues in my life for days and let my negative emotions totally consume me. Bless my parents, because I don’t know how they handled me when I was a teenager!
The thing was, when I was younger, I just didn’t know that I was really in control of my emotions. When I got older into my late teens I blamed everyone else when I was unhappy in my life. It was my teachers’ fault. Or my friends’. Or my boyfriend’s. The media. The world. I blamed everyone, but I never pointed the finger at myself.
In my teens, I also struggled with a lot of feelings of insecurity, a lack of confidence and comparing myself to others. I never felt I was good enough. The combination of my intense moods and my insecurity lead to me feeling really confused in my life. I would cry to myself and wonder why I had to feel the way I did.
Like many teens, I felt really sorry for myself and didn’t really have the tools to realize that I could take control of my life. During this time, it never occurred to me that happiness was a choice – Something that I could actually choose to have in my life if I wanted to. It was easier to blame other people or to not take the time to really think about why I was feeling this way.
My senior year of high school I took an psychology class. Little did I know back then that the knowledge I started to learn then was going to change my life. During the class I was totally intrigued by everything I was learning. Something in my intuition told me that I should major in psychology in college, and that is exactly what I did.
Down the rabbit hole of psychology
My first few semesters of college I enrolled in several psychology classes. I started to learn about all the connections between the neurons in our brain and how that affects our behavior. I started understanding that our mind was a very powerful tool—one that we were in control of. This was the first time I can honestly remember recognizing that I was totally in control of my mind and my emotions.
In addition to my psychology classes during college I was enrolled in yoga classes as well. When people hear the word yoga they think of someone bending into a pretzel shape in the sunshine. But, the asanas (the physical postures of yoga) are only one limb of yoga. Yoga is about finding the balance between body, mind and soul.
This combination—of learning yoga and psychology—made me finally see that I was totally in control of my emotions. I made the decision to choose a life full of happiness, and since then I’ve been working on experiencing more of it in my life.
Only you can make yourself happy
Here’s the thing. Happiness is a state you can spend your entire life chasing if you let yourself do so. Even after I decided I wanted to be happier in my life and work on doing that I still struggled in my early 20s trying to figure out what happiness meant for me. Back then I had issues separating my happiness from other people’s happiness. I thought if I pleased my family, then I’d be happy. Wrong. I thought if I followed societal expectations for me I’d be happy. Wrong again. I realized the only person who can decide what happiness means for you is YOU!
If you try living your life for someone else, then you are never going to feel truly happy. If you try blaming other people for problems in your life, then you are never going to be happy either. The only way you will feel happy is when you grab life by the reigns and declare that you do want to be happy. I do believe the universe is benevolent and wants to help us along our journey in life. But, your thoughts must match up with the reality you want to create for yourself.
When you just try—I mean really try to be happy and look on the bright side of things I promise you will start seeing a chain reaction of happiness through your life. Doors will start opening for you. All your dreams will start manifesting. It is possible. I mean that from the bottom of my heart, and the reason I can tell you is because I’ve experienced it. I want you to feel this too.
You’re right, we can’t be happy all the time
I know you might be thinking, there is no way she can be happy all the time. You’re definitely right. I have terrible days where I feel there is no rhyme or reason to this life. I have days when all I want to do is cry and hide under my covers. I definitely have days where I feel totally miserable and feel as if nothing will change in my life. But, what I don’t do is let those days affect my overall outlook in life.
Last year I was diagnosed with an ear disease and found out I lost half my hearing in my right ear. The doctor told me that there is an extremely high chance that my hearing will get worse in that ear, and eventually it will also spread to my other ear as well. When I found out the news I literally cried for days. I cursed the world and everything in it.
The first couple of weeks after I found out my diagnosis were not easy for me. I wanted to feel happy, but couldn’t get out of the slump I was in. To make matters worse, about a month after my diagnosis I started developing tinnitus in my ear—which sounds like a high pitched ringing—that I experience every single second of the day. I couldn’t think or concentrate because all I could hear was this ringing in my ears. During this time, I made a decision. I knew I could do two things. I could either sit around and mope about my ear and let my positive outlook on life fade. My other option was to look at my disease as a challenge that I would overcome. So, that’s what I did. I decided to make the choice to be happy again. Over this past year, I’ve been developing my happiness muscle again and rebuilding my optimistic outlook in life.
Every day when I wake up I hear the loud ringing in my ears and I know that life isn’t perfect. I know there are a lot of things wrong in this world. I know that life can be totally unfair at times. But, I also know how beautiful life is, and I want to spend my days feeling the warmth of the sun and doing the things I love so much. I will never let anything stop me from experiencing happiness, because what good is life if we experience it with a frown?
So, my friends, I ask you. What will you choose today? Will you choose happiness with me? I sure hope that you do 🙂