As you might know, I’m a single mom to two kids. When their father and I made that choice to go our own ways in terms of the relationship, I had a choice. I could have easily fallen into a bitterness trap, focused on nothing but the negatives, complained and been really unhappy for the path that my life had taken. Or I could view the situation as what it was - an opportunity for growth and an opportunity to really show up for my kids as my best self. I’m not saying the entire situation was sunshine and rainbows; of course it was tough. But I know that happiness is a choice, and I own that in my life. I accept that when shitty things happen, it’s for a reason; because it’s through those experiences that you grow and learn the most. And most importantly, I role modelled for my children the best way to handle a negative situation and that happiness really is your choice.
There’s this misconception that happy people are just happy that’s it; that their lives must be perfect and nothing bad ever happens and they are just so lucky. It could not be farther from the truth. Happiness doesn’t just happen; and I agree in that your circumstances can play a big role, but ultimately it comes down to choice. Because some people have all the money and all the success in the world...and they’re miserable. Head over to the Change by Choice Show to listen to Episode 41: aren’t happy people so annoying?
We get to choose how we want to show up for ourselves, for other people, in conversations, on social media. I’m always going to be real, be vulnerable and be honest with my opinions. But in doing so, what I’m not going to do is sprinkle my garbage for everyone else to deal with and then leave it there.
So, no, happy people aren’t annoying.
But you know what’s is annoying?
The people who fail to take ownership over the energy that they give out to the world. The people who enter situations and interactions and conversations with negative energy, with gossip, with talking badly about other people, with complaining and anger. That’s the energy that they put out into the world?
We are all entitled to feel the way we feel...and to act the way we want to act. But in my opinion, that’s complete bullshit.
The world needs us to start taking accountability for that energy; to be more responsible with how we want to show up for other people.
I’m not saying bad things don’t ever happen.
I’m not saying you can’t feel angry or speak your mind if you need to complain about something.
We all have an accountability and a duty to own our energy and our space and what we are throwing out there for the world. It’s something that I want you to reflect on and think about. What kind of energy are you giving off? When you have a bad day or something bad happens, are you projecting that onto everyone around you? Are you taking it out on your spouse? On your children? Do you find yourself getting angry at someone who really didn’t deserve it, because of something else that you were trying to process and deal with?
This isn’t about making anyone feel guilty or badly. Just because you’ve been a certain way doesn't mean that you can’t change. All it takes is to have that ah-ha moment, that realization of what is really going on. Then add in some action and you can start that change process.
What I’m saying is this: happiness...true, authentic happiness, is not a result of our circumstances. It’s a choice that we make every single damn day.
The other piece to this happiness puzzle is shifting how you view those negative situations that happen in your life. When people aren’t happy, they don’t have gratitude for anything. I can go through the worst situation, and I’m able to take a step back and look for the lessons that I need to learn from it. What do I need to take away from this situation that will help me moving forward? What did I need to experience? What can I move forward with that I didn’t have before? Yes, it hurts at the time. It’s definitely not easy. But shit happens; that’s life. The key is finding those pieces to the puzzle that you didn’t have before.
And to really hone in on that ability, we need to strengthen our coping skills when bad things do happen. We have to develop a different relationship with the things that feel bad. We need to stop pushing those feelings away when we feel vulnerable, uncomfortable or when our feelings are hurt. That’s the time that you need to embrace it a little bit closer; hold on to it and sit with it. Nothing bad is going to happen; and it’s in those moments where you really embrace what you are feeling, that you’re able to find clarity in terms of the lessons that are being given to you. That clarity will help you decide what you want in your life.
The process does not always feel good. Growth and personal development is a roller coaster ride. That’s why so many people are just attracted to staying comfortable and complacent. It’s safe and our mind wants us to be safe. Our mind is always looking to protect us from things that might hurt us and cause us any pain, so it holds us back in fear. But the thing is, it’s not real. We build up all these walls to protect ourselves from what? Never ever growing or becoming better in our lives? It’s crazy.
It takes a shift in perspective; looking in on yourself to realize that what your mind is telling you right now is not the truth. Sometimes it’s just about having that different perspective; what would I have to do to be my highest, best version of myself? What changes to my language, my behavior, my mindset do I have to make so that I am truly living from that place? The place where you’re not saying damaging words to yourself or others, where you’re not being judgemental or mean, you’re not putting other people down, you’re not feeling jealous or entitled or bitter.
When you start to head down that negative path, pause and ask yourself some questions and dig in a little bit deeper. Why am I thinking that way? Why am I going there? What past situations are triggering me to now respond in the way that I am? We all screw up and do things and say things that aren’t our best; we let the past and our situations get the best of us. We play small instead of playing big in life. Playing big in life is being vulnerable, taking responsibility, apologizing, saying what we mean and being authentic and true to ourselves. It’s a journey. It's not something that just comes overnight and the process is usually a bumpy ride...two steps forward, one step back. But that’s okay; because forward is forward.
Embrace the journey, trust the journey. Because what do you have to lose? When you have so much to gain.
So when you see happy people out there, remember that it’s hard work and it’s a choice. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t ever sad or angry or that bad things never happen to them. But they make a choice, when things aren’t going well, how they are going to show up, how they are going to move through it and how long they are going to stay in it. They don’t become prisoners to it. It all comes down your perspective, your mindset and your choices.