Is Your Happiness Dependent on Things Outside of Your Control?
You feel like your happiness depends on others action. Or you can’t be happy unless the situation changes.
We are all more dependent on our environment and relationships than we want to be. So how do we really choose happiness when we are surrounded by many reasons to be unhappy?
You find the power in your ability to choose how and what you think about. To find a way to not let irritation make you miserable. In doing so, you decide your happiness doesn’t have to be so dependent on changing others. When you find this ability inside yourself, it is empowering.
Finding Your Happiness Switch
I know many of your are thinking that you can’t possibly just choose to be happy. You can – you just have to find your happiness switch.
Identify what makes you go negative. And what makes you see the positives too. Most importantly identify what helps you switch from blame to taking responsibility for your happiness.
We all have emotional and thinking parts of our brain. The emotional side is often louder than the thinking side. Your emotions show up first to the scene and try to direct you through their megaphone approach.
When you get your thinking brain to show up on the scene as well, you get to decide who you want to be in charge. This choice is not a debate where you try to persuade the emotions to quiet down. The power is in the choice to feel or act different even when your emotions are loud. The first time you flip your happiness switch you will know exactly what I am talking about.
The most common things we blame our unhappiness on is a misbehaving child or an unloving spouse. In these situations, your emotions tell you that you can’t possibly be happy unless your child or spouse changes. But how powerful it is when you find the switch that tells you that you can be happy, even when your spouse isn’t being affectionate or your child isn’t being compliant.
Letting Go of Your Need to Blame
If we are honest with ourselves, it is the blame that keeps us from feeling more happiness. We must be ready to let go of blame, and put our thoughts in charge of our emotions.
Another classic frustration example is choosing to be happy even if driving in traffic. I can focus on how much I have to do, and how much time I am wasting sitting in traffic. And I will get more and more tense and frustrated.
But when I realize I have a choice, I can find my switch. How do I, in that moment, not let the traffic dictate my happiness?
For me, it helps to focus on what I have instead of what I don’t have. So I begin to settle into listening to good music more than grumbling about the traffic. And before I know it, I am enjoying the extra time and arrive at my destination less tense.
5 Steps to Taking Your Happiness Back:
To find your happiness switch, follow these 5 steps to choose happiness too:
1. Recognize your miserable feelings. (The easiest step to do!)
2. Identify what you are feeling dependent on. (“I can’t feel happy unless…”)
3. Decide you want to be less dependent on environment/others to make you happy.
4. Find and focus on what makes you happy in that moment (instead of dwelling on what you can’t change).
5. Reap the benefits of flipping your happiness switch on.
One of the hardest times is when a person feels helpless to change. When you feel like your happiness is dependent on others, you will feel trapped and helpless. So how do you take your happiness back?
Others can stay the same if they want, but you are going to think differently. And focus on the power of what you choose to think about.
Please share your success and struggles with using your thoughts to boost your happiness.
Marci Payne, MA, LPC offers women’s, men’s and marriage counseling in Independence MO (near Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit MO). If you want to turn your challenges into opportunities for personal growth, Schedule a free 15 minute phone consult to determine if she is the best counselor for you.
Photo Credit: “Happiness” by Ira Gelb