Are You Pursuing Happiness? STOP. Happiness Is a Choice!
Have you ever had one plan, and life seemed to have another? What do you do when it seems like everything is a journey up a slippery incline, in the dark, with boulders flying at you, and the rain pelting down from roaring thunderclouds overhead?
If you’re human like the me, you might be cursing the circumstances or just give up trying.
I’d like to invite you into my real life for a minute. It’s a little messy, way less than perfect, and I too, have to reset the abundance switch deliberately and often.
We just bought a house and moved in a little over a month ago. We had visions of designing, decorating, updating, organizing, and beautifying our space.
Not one of our plans involved spending mental and financial energy on a full attic insulation replacement to clean up from and prevent a future rodent population, or the ensuing electrical wire replacement to prevent fires from damages by said colony. They also didn’t include sweating it out in a hot and humid house as we welcomed the full-on Virginia summer that has people flocking to the beaches in droves, while we worked through air conditioner repairs and an eventual replacement that would be covered only partially by our home warranty. In the midst of the sticky heat that zapped our energy, the countless contractors telling us “I have bad news,” and the financial drain that threatened to turn our castle into a dungeon, we were visited with a choice.
I had to preach to myself over and over, to conquer the negative voices of doubt, uncertainty, frustration and fear. I had to choose abundance, not once, but many times.
Life is a continual moment-to-moment choosing of how to see the circumstances you are in.
Choosing abundance is like exercising a muscle that gets stronger with repetition and resistance, but that always regresses if you don’t continue the effort.
Viktor Frankl, in Man’s Search for Meaning, sharing his personal experience in Nazi concentration camps, said this about personal choice:
…man is ultimately self-determining. What he becomes – within the limits of endowment and environment – he has made out of himself. In the concentration camps, for example, in this living laboratory and on this testing ground, we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.
We don’t always choose our situations, but we have the liberty to choose our perspective and our response.
Happiness is our choice. It has nothing to do with our circumstances. But it’s so much more than just looking on the bright side.
He went on to say:
…optimism is not anything to be commanded or ordered…happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to “be happy.” Once the reason is found, however, one becomes happy automatically. As we see, a human being is not one in pursuit of happiness but rather in search of a reason to become happy, last but not least, through actualizing the potential meaning inherent and dormant in a given situation.
So ultimately, we choose our happiness when we find purpose in the midst of and in spite of our circumstances.
If we were going to pass this test, we were going to have to learn the lessons in the midst of the trial, demonstrate character and personal leadership to our daughter by example and not by mere words, and do all that we are capable of to serve the people in front of us right now.
We had to interrupt the downward spiral of negativity and futility, and choose to walk in abundance. The kind of living that takes our eyes of us us and rises to the responsibility of fulfilling our highest purpose in the moment.
You can’t serve others when you’re focused on how bad things are for you. Dollars follow value, so start focusing on ways to provide more value to more people. Improve someone’s life, create an opportunity for them, or solve their problem.
Shift your perspective. Ask yourself this: What is the higher purpose? What is life asking of me in this moment? What responsibility do I have that I cannot neglect? Who is watching me, to model my character? What will I choose to focus on?
Life is such a beautiful blessing. It’s a gift ripe with opportunity at every turn, if we rise to the occasion to see it.
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