No matter what’s happened or is happening, even YOU can find joy again. Promise.
OK, so here’s the deal, best as I can figure it. Bad stuff happens. To all of us. In the worst possible ways and at the worst possible times. We hurt. Life hurts. It’s painful. It can be awful, sad, terrible, frustrating and more.
And you can still choose to be happy.
“Like hell!” you say. “This psycho woman has no idea what I’m dealing with here.”
“It’s true. You can do it,” I insist, standing firmly in my own journey through anguish and pain. I know whereof I speak!
[From the editor: The writer lost her two young children in a traffic accident in 1991 . She had to re-build her life again without the two most precious people in her life. She knows depression, grief, anger etc. she has dealt with them — to this day.]
OK, Genius. Tell me HOW I’m supposed to be happy again after what’s happened to me.
Fine! I will! There are five steps, five secrets. I call them “secrets” because like most secrets, they’re not obvious. Not obvious, but incredibly simple. I learned these the hard way – I researched them when I was so far below rock bottom that just breathing felt like too much work.
I applied these and plenty of others to my own formerly-miserable life, trashed the ones that were stupid, kept the ones that made a difference for me. Now I’m sharing them with you. Ready?
1. It’s a friggin’ choice.
I hate this one most of all! I have every right to be miserable and feel sorry for myself and the junk life has thrown at me. And so do you. But if even one little ol’ part of you wants to be happy again, ever, you have to say, “I choose to be happy.” Cuz that’s what will lead you to do your homework, test these and other things you’ll learn about how to get happy again, and start to push yourself through this. No one else can make you happy but you.
2. There is no Rescuer coming.
I don’t have anything against religion, men riding white stallions or guys in capes. Really I don’t. But frankly, I figured out long, long ago that even God only helps those who help themselves. Sitting around waiting for your next welfare check isn’t the same thing as figuring out what you can do to get your life put back together. It’s your life. Every day you screw around waiting for Ed McMahon to knock on your door and hand you a big cardboard check is one more day wasted. (‘Specially since he’s dead now!)
Take inventory of what you’ve got left – skills, options, health, vision, the ability to hear, a good mind, friends, a place to live, knowing how to type or cook or knit, fresh air, online access or whatever. Figure out ways to use it to your own best advantage. Starting now, not in the morning. I know several people in chronic pain and with severe disabilities who run multi-million dollar companies by using their minds and their sense of drive. (Check out my friend: http://www.WMitchell.com)
3. Get over yourself.
I know. That’s mean. It’s like I’m a bully. But what I’m trying to say is this: if you want to be happy, you have to stop being so darn ‘narcissistic’, focusing so much energy on your life and your problems. Start looking for solutions. Start looking for what ELSE is going on around you.
Start practicing empathy – looking at other people’s problems and letting your heart reach out to them. Or heck, go serve the poor or the sick or walk through the cancer ward or park yourself in the worst part of some inner city and see how those people live.
You’re not the only one suffering. That’s both comforting AND a wake-up call.
4. Find six things every day that you’re grateful for.
Doesn’t matter if anyone else thinks those things matter. Clouds. A jar of pennies. The cute baby you saw in a stroller today. Your TV works and you’re paying the electric bill. Your whole body hurts…except for your eyelids. WHAT isn’t important. THAT you are grateful is. It starts to melt the ice in your heart and pretty soon, if you keep it up every day, you’ll tip your own scales toward happiness. Odd how that works, but try it. It’s free!
5. Stop comparing.
A friend asked me today what it would take for me to feel successful in 20 years, looking back at my life. I instantly quipped, “I’d need to have become Oprah, Tony Robbins and Mother Teresa all rolled into one!” We laughed, but truth is, that’s what it would take for me to think I’d hit the ball out of the park. Who do you compare yourself with? We’ve gotta stop. The more we compare ourselves to others we think are “better” than we are, the more less-than we feel. Do as I say, not as I do.
It’s an inside job, this happiness stuff.
It’s a game we play with ourselves. When I was a little girl, sometimes I played checkers with myself. Amazingly, I sometimes won and sometimes lost to my stuffed rabbit “Bunny Boy”. It all depended on my mood. Life is like Bunny Boy’s skill at checkers – you get to choose when you win and when you lose. We all get dealt a bad hand at times. What are you going to do about it? Play to win or walk away a sore loser?
About The Author:
Wendy Keller is an award-winning former journalist, a respected literary agent, an author (Ultimate Guide to Platform Building), speaker, acclaimed book marketing consultant, and branding expert. Read more of her works HERE. You can also follower her on Twitter and Facebook.