To Be or Not to Be Happy?

If you often find yourself displeased in life, you aren’t alone.  Most people are waiting to earn more money, achieve a dream, a fitness goal, hoping a person will come in, or any combination of these before they will allow themselves to be truly happy. I could quote plenty of statistics to prove this point, but I’d rather spend this time relating to anyone who’s felt they can’t find happiness and always seem to want more. I was there, I understand, and there is hope.

There are many people working for big corporations to keep us always in a state of wanting more.  Since childhood, most of us have felt enormous pressure from the world to be “perfect.”  We may feel the need to be with the perfect person as well as become a perfect person, with the perfect job and the perfect house…  When we can’t achieve these impossibly high standards, we usually strive to get as close as we can, or we give up entirely.  Both paths lead many people to feel miserable and bring out deep insecurities.

What is a perfect person anyway?  Wouldn’t that be pretty subjective? The answer of course, is yes. I mean look around at all the people in happy relationships with flawed people. They love their imperfect partners who feel perfect for them. This is the way we need to recalibrate our lives. Sure we can see areas we would like to tailor and change to fit us better, but we need to love all the good that we have in our lives right now. If you ask Christians to define the perfect person, most will say Christ, who I believe was a great representation of perfection, being that he loved all, helped the sick, gave to the poor… This example couldn’t be more at odds with the “perfection” we are sold and often feel the pressure to achieve.

When we turn on the TV, we see millionaires jet-setting all around the world spending massive amounts of money, then a commercial comes on and we see a man say our “perfect partner is waiting for us” and if we spend money to join their website, we can find that perfect person.  Then we see models pout and pose to sell us products, these brands promising us that this “stuff” will make us more perfect and thus happy.

I lived most of my life in a constant state of desire, nearly uninterrupted in its unhappiness. People around me weren’t very happy either, so I thought this was normal.  “Normal” isn’t always good, especially when unhappiness is an epidemic.  I would have minor bursts of happiness when I got what I wanted or did something fun, but then soon after I’d want something else and it never lasted.

Companies work very hard to keep you addicted to their products. They spend millions repackaging things and slightly altering them to make you desire the new version, even when the utility doesn’t warrant the cost.  Having our happiness so tightly intertwined with gaining “things” and achieving dreams, leaves most of us in a state of agony, never feeling we have enough or are enough. This, of course, is a lie.

This brings me to a simple question I wish I had been asked in the past.

Is there anything YOU can do to convince yourself to be happy right now? 

I’ll let you think that over for a moment in the back of your mind while I quickly lay out the reasons, I believe, you shouldn’t waste any more time being unhappy.

We don’t yet have the future and we can’t relive our past.  Through pushing the present aside, you neglect the only moment you ever have. 

When we rely on dreams of a future, we let our minds lead us away from this moment and we actually put ourselves last.  Do you remember old cartoons where there would be a horse chasing a carrot hanging from a fishing pole?  Well, that’s what our mind loves to do.  If we ever get close enough to taste the dream or have the “thing,” the old carrot is quickly replaced with another one that’s just out of reach.  This is what keeps billions of people from being happy.  That is until we learn that we can CHOOSE to be happy and grow our own carrots of gratitude and eat them up.  Let’s analyze the question I presented you with earlier —

Is there anything YOU can do to convince yourself to be happy right now?

If you are unhappy right now, this is because you have thoughts or feelings running through your head telling you that you are unhappy.

Ask yourself “why?”  There are valid reasons sometimes to be sad or a little down, but you can turn it around.  Turn that frown upside down as people say.

Most of the reasons we can list out for being unhappy can be transformed quite easily by changing our perspective on them.

“I’m broke” can turn into “I’m fortunate to posses what I have when so many have so much less than me.”
“I am sick of being single” can turn into “I’m thankful to have so much time to get in touch with myself and I am going to enjoy it.”
“I don’t like my ____(Fill in the Blank)____” can turn into “I’m fortunate to have my ____(Same Blank)____.”

Is there anything YOU can do to convince yourself to be happy right now?

The answer to this question is— YES!  Part of the answer is in the question itself — “convince yourself.”  You think you’re unhappy, so you can change that thought by telling yourself that you are happy. Replacing the thinking pattern and then supporting it with evidence by list out reasons why you are happy might not seem truthful at first, but give it some time.  Dedicate time to creating new reasons to be happy.  We all have some special friends, maybe pets, movies, music or blogs (no plug or anything) that bring us joy.  Surround yourself with these things and decide right now to BE HAPPY! 

I named this post “To Be or Not To Be Happy” as a play on William Shakespeare’s famous question from the play Hamlet.  Following with the theme of transformation from unhappy to happy, I leave you with some joyful music from the movie “LaLa Land” to brighten your day.

Kaden JamesComment