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Happiness Takes Work: 5 Choices to Create Happiness

All of us have met people who just seem to be happy most of the time. Perhaps you have assumed that these people are just naturally happy, or that they are the lucky people who have an easy life, or they had really loving parents. Most of the time, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Happy people are making specific choices regarding their thinking and behavior. Happy people consciously choose to think and behave in ways that result in happiness. Unhappy people are unconsciously thinking and behaving in ways that create unhappiness.

Following are five of the specific choices that happy people make:

1. OPTIMISM

Happy people see the glass as half full, while unhappy people choose to be pessimistic – to see the glass as half empty. Optimistic thinking does not just happen – it is a choice regarding how you see life. Optimistic people are optimistic because they CHOOSE to be optimistic. Instead of allowing their ego wounded self to be in charge with all its doom and gloom, happy people put their loving adult self in charge and open to the wonderful possibilities that life has to offer. Happy people realize that their thinking is the beginning of a creative process that leads to manifestation. By thinking in positive ways, they move themselves to act in ways that manifest their dreams.

2. KINDNESS

Happy people choose to be kind and compassionate toward themselves and others. Happy people have learned that how they treat themselves and others determines much of how they feel. Happy people do not wait to be happy before being kind to themselves and others. They realize that their happiness is the RESULT of their caring behavior, not the CAUSE of it. They are kind, caring, and compassionate whether or not they feel like it. They have chosen this way of being, and their happiness is the result.

3. FORGIVENESS

Happy people do not harbor resentment toward others, even others who have been mean and hurtful toward them. They realize that resentment makes them unhappy, so they choose to allow people their humanness and forgive them for their hurtful behavior. Because happy people tend not to take personally others’ uncaring behavior, they don’t get their feelings hurt in the same way that people do who take others’ behavior personally. Happy people recognize that another’s behavior is really about that other person, so they move into compassion toward themselves and others rather than into judgment.

4. ACCEPTANCE

Happy people realize what they can control and what they can’t. They live by the Serenity Prayer, accepting the things they cannot change and changing the things they can. Unhappy people are constantly trying to change people and circumstances and do not accept their lack of control. As a result, they are constantly frustrated. Happy people realize they cannot control others and outcomes, so they focus on what they can control – their own thinking and behavior. Acceptance of what they can and cannot control leads to happiness and inner peace.

5. GRATITUDE

Finally, happy people are consistently grateful for what they have, rather than complaining about what they don’t have. They notice the many gifts and blessings that come their way and they frequently express gratitude for the everyday things in their lives – the beauty of nature, the food they eat, the smile on a friend’s face, their ability to see, hear, walk, talk. Even many disabled people who may not have the blessings of eyesight, hearing, speech, or legs are often happy people because they focus on what they do have and what they can do, rather than focusing on what they are missing out on.

If you want to be happy, then you need to recognize that happiness is the result of your thinking and behavior, not the cause of it. If you choose to focus on becoming conscious of what thoughts and behavior make you feel happy, you can become a happy person – regardless of your present circumstances. Happiness does not just happen – it takes work!

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