I have come to the clear conclusion that when we feel both happiness or unhappiness it is a matter of choice. Many people have become angry with me when I suggest this. They will tell me that I don’t know what I am talking about, that if I had to deal with their problems or live their life I would realise that it is different for them. They will say that they are not unhappy by choice and that it is due to the bad hand that life has dealt them or, the negative behaviour of other people in their life.
Well, in my work and my life I know this to be untrue…
…no one is ever effected by what happens to them…they are effected by how they respond to what happens to them.
In life we will always face difficult situations and difficult people. It might be that these people maybe colleagues, friends, family or even parents. They might be partners or siblings. Yet the same principle holds true.
No one can make us unhappy without our permission. No one can make us happy without our permission.
We do not have to stay with people, to remain in difficult situations, jobs, or social groups. You can do and be whatever you choose to be, and that is the rub.
Most people are not happy because they do not know what they want
When I ask people what they want, what they really, really want, they will normally say “I just want to be happy”. Sadly, that is not good enough. To create happiness you need to be specific about what happiness means to you. This often takes a great deal of thought and honesty with yourself. For many of us the concept that we can choose happiness is a concept too far.
The English language is full of phrases that are designed to get us to put up with what we have rather than go for what we truly want. Behind each phrase is a concept that tends to dictate behaviour.
“Better the devil you know”
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”
“A Leopard can’t change it’s spots”…and so on.
When we use these types of phrases it often means that we are settling for second best and maybe even unhappiness.
The bottom line is that each of us, moment by moment, make decisions, not just about what we do and what we think but also about how we feel. When we become emotionally literate we are able to decide how we will feel about the events that we experience. When we choose to see problems as challenges, and challenges as learning points, we can choose to change unhappiness into happiness.
Take care and choose to be happy