This post title is not a statement uttered with relief or a wry tone, nor is it an empty promise borne of frustration and impatience.
It is a declaration. A decision. A commitment: to be happy now, regardless of the symptoms I am struggling with and the uncertainty of the circumstances I find myself in.
For too long I have put my happiness on hold, waiting for others to be happy, wanting situations to hurry up and be sorted, worrying about what I can’t control and wondering when I will feel better, because then I can be happy.
I didn’t realise I’ve been unconsciously handing my happiness over to external sources, relinquishing my power and responsibility for what is mine to determine, and ignoring the innate connection to the true source of happiness that dwells within me – until yesterday.
Yesterday, while trying to figure out why I felt so unhappy the phrase ‘happy for no reason’ popped into my mind. I knew there was a book by that same title so I looked it up. The author Marci Shimoff explains that lasting happiness is not subject to the unfolding of events and acquisition of things. It is a choice we make and a state we can experience through practice and purpose. She points out that happiness is ours to own, to tend to and nourish, and is not reliant on outer situations being fruitful or harmonious (the likes of which are often fleeting anyway).
The more I read, the more I knew I had been handing over my happiness – expecting other people to be responsible for it and applying the “I’ll be happy when…” mantra. I was choosing to disown what was rightfully mine and blame whoever and whatever I could for my misery. No wonder I’ve felt so unhappy and disempowered : (
Maybe you have too. We all do it at times – fall asleep at the wheel of life – acting and choosing unconsciously out of habit. But once we are awake to our unhelpful and unhealthy behaviours, we are again in a position of choice. We regain our power and can choose differently.
Marci Shimoff also says, “Don’t believe everything you think”, sage advice urging us all to know that of the 60,000+ thoughts we think a day, 95% of them are negative! I also picked up Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power Of Now a few days ago which reinforces the notion of the egoistic commentary running constantly in our mind that is hell-bent on rehashing negative memories and keeping toxic emotions alive – neither of which lead to a feeling of happiness or peace.
She also outlines several pillars – practicing gratitude and compassion, looking after the physical body, connecting to one’s spirit, and living with purpose – that support us to be happy, but it is her foundation that has re-awakened me – taking ownership of and actively choosing to be happy now, in spite of uncomfortable situations and circumstances.
This doesn’t mean I will no longer feel sad or disappointed – I am human, and a highly sensitive and emotional one at that! Or that I won’t slip back into my perfectionist control-freak tendencies, but I will no longer hold others accountable for my disposition. It is mine to own and tend to.
And it’s not about moving through life wearing rose-coloured glasses. I will still get a boost from an item on sale, I will still enjoy that cup of English Breakfast tea, but underneath those moments is the recognition that a deeper reality exists that is not influenced by external forces or internal negative voices.
As Pema Chodron so beautifully put it: We are the sky…everything else is just the weather.
Happiness is ours for the feeling and the choosing. Choose responsibly and lovingly and be happy now.