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This article might not hold any epiphanies, but how many of us still struggle with being unhappy every day when there’s no need. If a reminder of how to jump off the unhappy wheel might help, read on.

On the radio recently I heard a story about a visit from some Tibetan monks from India. The monks apparently began their ceremony and presentation with a meditation and some chanting. After they were done one of the monks got up to speak. He said simply, “Why is it that we are in unhappiness when not in a relationship?” He went on, “And why then are we…in unhappiness…when in a relationship?” After a moment’s pause, he said, “Why is it that when we have no job, we are unhappy?” And his final words were, “And why is it when we have a job…..we are unhappy?” They were not expecting an answer. In what was said the answer was clear. We choose to be happy or unhappy.  

There are happy people living in cardboard boxes on the street. There are unhappy people living with their partners in three-story homes. Some people have a job they love with perfect hours and wonderful people to work with, but they have become unhappy just the same? Simultaneously there are those who are working three impossibly horrible jobs at the same time and they are very happy. Why is this and how can we all find what the happy people have found? Here is the ultimate secret that you have probably heard a hundred times but forget…. we already have the secret ability to be happy, every single day, within us!

Happiness does not come from anything external. It never has. It does not depend on anyone in our life and it does not depend on the circumstances we find ourselves in on any given day. Happiness or unhappiness is determined not by circumstance but by how much we choose to let those circumstances change our thinking. How much do we need the others in our life to be our scapegoats around happiness? Could it be that no other person can affect our happiness? It’s true. We allow the unhappiness to churn upward from within and we allow it to break the surface and remain, as we add to it day after day, finally becoming a pool we drown in. Maybe if you find yourself living day after day in unhappiness remind yourself you don’t have to! Living in happiness takes no more effort than living in unhappiness, we as humans just forget.    

Does this mean that if you lose your job or a loved one leaves you that you shouldn’t be unhappy? Of course not! You may certainly be unhappy, because of how it makes you feel. But you have choice about how long you are going to be unhappy and whether you are going to build on your unhappiness or your happiness. This happened, I’ll give it twenty minutes. That happened, I’ll give it two. Maybe this needs a few days? Limit the unhappiness. Otherwise it just keeps building until all of life is unhappy and nothing is good any longer. When we wake in the morning a decision can be made to be joyful all day. Is it truly possible to be happy all day? Yes, it is. Is it easy? No. For those who have figured it out, yes! If you have lost your job, know in your heart it is because something better is waiting for you. If your significant other has fallen out of love with you, you are meant to find someone who will truly love you the way you should be loved. You know all the sayings, “If it’s raining, look for rainbows”, “If the world gives you lemons, make lemonade”, “If the world is being unfair, say *#*@ it and head to the fair!” (okay the last one I made up, but it works!)

The whole point is we can choose to look at something as bad or good in life. It is totally determined by us! Try looking at everything differently.  If you wake up and you have a flat tire know that your angels are saving you from an accident, which is much worse than a flat tire! Be happy! If you are headed to a meeting in your best outfit and your child spills something all over it, don’t get angry. Decide it was not the perfect outfit. Go put on the right one and don’t forget to give your child a hug! And finally, if you get the mail and there are only bills, be happy that you are fortunate enough to be in a position that you can get bills. Without an address, you wouldn’t get them. You are fortunate to have an address, not a moving one like a cardboard box. And we get bills because generally we have purchased things that can be afforded because of a job. Do what you can to smile and be happy you get those bills.

There are those who are chronically ill and because of constant pain have an even tougher time seeing the rainbows. That pain might mean they need more reminders than the rest of us need. But even those in pain can find happiness. The good can pile up just as quickly as the bad and, it’s highly possible, enough happiness might bring a moment without pain, or maybe even a miracle of healing…who knows?!?

It might seem childlike to look for rainbows and happiness every single day. If you’ve been to a playground recently and watched the kids playing, laughing and having fun, maybe being childlike is the key to finding that happiness within? If it is, I’m pulling out the finger paints, climbing the monkey bars, and chasing the ice cream truck! I’m going to find my happiness and begin building! Anyone care to join me?! 

 

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