We all want to be happy, but something always gets in the way. There is never enough time... or money. Somebody is always failing to do what they are "supposed" to do... or not do. Our boss, our spouse, our kids, our parents, our friends, government, big business, whoever... "They" aren't doing it right. "They" failed us. We are angry, and we have a right to be angry. But is that righteous anger making us happy?
Happiness is not something anyone else can give us... or take away from us. Happiness is what we make of our lives... or don't. Whatever our circumstances, we can create a joyful life... or a miserable life. It is up to us.
Here are my 7 Secrets for a Happy Life:
1. Have Self-Respect: If I don't love and respect myself, who will? It all starts right here with ME. If I think that I'm a pretty good person, it doesn't much matter what anyone else thinks. And the irony is that once I like myself, most everyone else will like me too. People enjoy being around people who speak well of themselves - not in an arrogant boastful way, but with honest self-appreciation.
2. Forgive Everyone for Everything: Angry and happy don't mix. Flush out the angry, and the happy has a place to put down roots. Until we forgive everyone for everything, we hold on to anger and resentment. Once we forgive, we can become happy. Forgiving is not a gift to someone else - Forgiving is our gift to ourselves - a great gift - the gift of happiness.
3. Be Grateful for All of Life: Each of us has been infinitely blessed - beginning with the gift of life. Whatever may appear to be missing or broken on any particular day, our glass is not half full, it is 99.9% full. More practically, when we feel ungrateful, we become unhappy. When we choose to feel and express our gratitude, the act of feeling and speaking our thanks creates a happiness within us. The more we express our gratitude, the more we have for which to be grateful. Today and every day, take time to celebrate life - whether an hour's meditation in a quiet natural space, or a brief moment's conscious pause to breathe deeply and celebrate gratitude for life.
4. Choose Happiness: Everything in life is a choice. There is never anything we ever "need" to do. Every action and thought is a choice and has consequences - pleasant or unpleasant. Whether you go to work today, change jobs, smile at the bank teller, order fried fish, yell at your kids, complain about life, hold a daily celebration of gratitude for life - they are all choices. Happiness is a choice. Stay alert and make conscious choices for happiness.
5. Begin at the End: You can never reach your destination if you don't have a destination. Decide what accomplishments you want recorded on your tombstone. Take a whole quiet day to consider your life. Be very clear that your happiness does NOT depend on reaching your goal. In fact, it's the reverse. Your happiness depends on accepting whatever life throws at you while you walk the path toward your goal. What is important for your happiness is having a goal, and working toward it.
6. Start Today: Whatever you want in life, start today. Not tomorrow - today. Let it be a small beginning - a tiny beginning. Your happiness depends on starting today - every day.
7. Life is NOT "Supposed to be Fair": Know that there is no single way that life is "supposed" to be. Demanding that life meet our expectations is a sure fire recipe for a miserable existence. Life is a game with no rules. Life just happens to us regardless of our best intentions. Our only path to happiness lies in being open to receiving whatever life throws at us - with Gratitude. Have NO Expectations of life.
Jonathan Lockwood Huie has been dubbed "The Philosopher of Happiness" by those closest to him, in recognition of his on-going commitment to seeing Joy in all of life. Jonathan's intention is to share his insights for Joyful Living with the widest possible audience.
Jonathan is an author of self-awareness books and free inspirational email publications. Visit www.DanceLightly.com to sign up for Jonathan's daily happy living email.
** Today is your day to dance lightly with life. It really is. - jonathan lockwood huie **