Is it because things haven’t worked out for us the way we’d hoped … or is it because we’re not consciously choosing to be happy?
If you decide it’s the former, good luck. Since the way things work out is only partially within our control, the fates will have to smile on you. If they don’t, I guess you’re doomed to be sad. Doesn’t sound so good, does it?
I had a conversation recently with my twenty-something daughter about sadness. She was feeling let down by someone she cares about and was having trouble letting those feelings go. They were affecting her deeply and she felt she just couldn’t get back to a happy place. She asked me if there’s anything in particular she could do to turn it around.
Yes. You don’t have to wallow in despair.
But first, let’s acknowledge that we’re all human. We all get disappointed. We all react to that disappointment with sadness. That’s normal. You really don’t have a choice in the matter. So, never beat yourself up for feeling sad when things don’t work out.
But you don’t have to stay there. You can take the cards you’re dealt and be happy regardless, because you’ve determined being happy is more important to you than anything else and you’re going to do what you have to do to be happy most of the time.
So, we have a choice, but you don’t just flip a switch when you’re sad and instantly become happy. I wish it worked that way, but it doesn’t.
As Abraham-Hicks says, you have to work your way up the emotional scale. When you feel sad and disempowered, angry is a step up. It’s not a good state to be in, but it’s better than sad, so allow yourself to be angry. Then see if you can move to frustrated, a diluted version of angry. Before you know it, you can become hopeful, then pleased, then outright happy.
In other words, it’s a process with a lot of shades of gray, not a binary on/off, black/white kind of thing. The key is to want to get to happy and consistently head toward it.
The other thing that helps once you’ve worked your way out of the worst of it emotionally is to just think about something else. Distract yourself. Play a game. Go to a show. Play with a kitten and see how much better you feel. Do something nice for someone. That’s my favorite. Gets the endorphins flowing.
It’s a vibrational thing. It’s a chemical thing. Find the right vibe … find something that makes you feel good and let your system flood itself with feel good chemicals, which gets you in the frame of mind and body to experience more good-feeling things. String enough of those moments together and we call it a happy life.
Last bit of practical advice: You can change your mental and emotional state by changing your physical state. Act as if you’re happy and you will be. Smile. Dance around. Thrust your arms up in jubilation. Try feeling crappy after that. Sounds like cheating, but it isn’t. It’s just a shortcut to happy.
Look, some people are just happier than others. It isn’t because they were blessed with good fortune. It’s because they’re just happy people.
They defined themselves as such and they behave as such, and when they find themselves sad, they head back toward happy with intention, using all the tools in their emotional toolbox … as if their happiness depends on it.
Because it does.
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