Of all the strategies for creating a happier life for ourselves, there is none more important than to simply choose happiness – to make the firm decision that: "Today, whatever happens, I choose to be happy."
Happiness doesn't happen by chance. Either consciously or unconsciously, happy people choose to be happy.
The story of the two wolfs provides a good analogy.
One evening a Cherokee elder was telling his grandson the story of the battle that goes on inside people. He said: "The battle, my son, is about the two wolves that live inside us all."
One is unhappiness. It is fear, worry, anger, jealousy, sorrow, self-pity and resentment. The other is happiness. It is joy, love, hope, serenity, kindness, truth and compassion.
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked: "Grandfather, which wolf wins?" The elder replied: "The one you feed."
Author Deepak Chopra describes most people as being a bundle of conditioned responses'. Most unhappy people unconsciously feed the unhappiness wolf through deep-seated habit.
To begin to consciously choose happiness is a powerful way to loosen the grip of the old conditioned responses which cause unhappiness for ourselves and others. Happiness is a choice, or, as Abraham Lincoln once said:
"Most people are about as happy as they decide to be"
The truth is, that in any situation, you can always make choices that lean towards happiness. Choosing happiness is a simple choice that can be made in every moment, in every situation.
If you you wish to start feeding the happy wolf, here are some suggestions to get you started:
1. Whenever you become aware that you are complaining, judging, criticising or moaning about something, see that you can decide to continue or to stop. It is a simple choice.
you wish to choose happiness in any moment, focus on gratitude,
on counting your blessings. Make a mental list of all the things in
your life to be thankful for ...your health, the use of your legs, your
friends, the fact that your eyes work. Keep going until the impulse to
complain has left you.
2. When you are feeling sad or down, be aware that continuing to give it energy through dwelling on it, thinking about it or talking about it, is a choice.
you wish to feel happier, focus on praise or simple appreciation. Look
around you for things to appreciate. We are surrounded by beauty at all
times. All that is required is the willingness to make your happiness
more important than wallowing in your negative feelings.
3. If you are feeling angry, grumpy or frustrated, to choose happiness could take the form of non-resistance or complete acceptance.
Be aware of any resistance you have to experiencing whatever it is you are feeling and make the conscious choice to allow it to be as it is. Try saying YES to the experience. Don't try to change it, understand it or fix it.
Resisting makes it stronger. Allowing it to be exactly as it is without trying to push it away away creates peace. See what you resist persists
4. If you are holding a grudge towards anyone, ask yourself: "What is more important for me right now? To feel justified or to be happy? To withhold my love (and make two people unhappy) or to choose for peace?"
Be bigger than the little voice that says "NEVER!" The harder it seems
to forgive this person, the more joy you will experience if you find the
willingness to do it. We can always find the strength to forgive if we make happiness our highest priority.
5. If you are troubled by incessant mental chatter and are always worrying or thinking about the past or the future, you will find some powerful solutions on the following pages.
WALLOWING IN THE MIRE
would like to share the story of a very significant lesson in my own
journey to happiness. I must say, it makes me chuckle a little when I
years ago, I had just split up with a girlfriend and was feeling really
down. A good friend, who was a coach and meditation teacher, invited me
to a restaurant for dinner - to cheer me up I think.
After listening to me talk for a while about my hurt and sadness, he attempted to change the topic. "The food is great, don't you think?"
I hadn't even noticed the food. I was impatient to get back to relating my sad story and a bit irritated with my friend for interrupting me. So I wallowed in the mire for a while longer, telling him how tough I was finding it. He made another attempt: "Are you going to watch the football on Saturday?"
Again, I brushed off his question. And then he said something that shut me up!
"I have tried to change the topic several times and to be honest, I am getting really tired of listening to your old broken stoty. I'm leaving."
My initial shock quickly turned into immense gratitude as I clearly saw the truth of what he was saying. I had just spent the last hour unconsciously feeding the unhappiness wolf.
It was a big wake up call and I decided there and then to choose for happiness instead from then on.
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Suggested reading: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/choose-happy