If you’re not as happy as you’d like to be, there’s an easy way to fix that. All you have to do, I say kindly, is choose differently. Below are some things you can choose that will, I’d argue, make you feel happier and a lot more peaceful in your own life.
1. Believe that you matter and what you want to have/say/be/do matters too.
It’s by my experience that one of the biggest hinderances to happiness is a lack of self-worth. If you don’t believe you’re worth much, if you don’t believe you matter or what you do matters, then you will never be really motivated to pursue your own happiness. You’ll never quit denying yourself joy until you start believing in your own worth and value.
Know this: You were born with worth and value and no one — no one — can ever take that away from you.
2. Stop living your life for other people.
Your life isn’t about what anyone else (your mama, your lover, your best friend, and the list goes on) wants for you. Your life is about what you want for you. You might think that’s selfish. It’s not. It’s the most freeing thing you can do.
Every time you make your choices based on the wants and needs of others, you shove yourself a little further down the list of priorities in your own life. When you make others your motivation (you’re doing it for them not because you want to but because they want it), you turn your focus/time/energy onto a goal that isn’t really yours to begin with. And when you worry about what others will think of your choices (and so don’t choose what you most want for you), you betray yourself. All of those actions chip away at your belief in your own self-worth (see number 1 above) and at your own self-esteem.
When that happens, you end up trapped in a cycle: you choose others over yourself, you decimate your self-worth, you stop believing that you matter, you look to others for guidance on who you really are instead of trusting and listening to your own self, and the cycle keeps on, never stopping until you choose to end it.
Know this: Being happy is a gift you give yourself, but it’s also a gift you give others. When you’re genuinely happy to be alive and be who you are, you interact with others as your authentic self instead of the facade that you likely put up—Fine, fine, everything’s fine—to hide your unhappiness.
3. Figure out what you really want and what makes you feel the most alive.
There’s something in this world that makes you feel the most alive when you have/be/do/say it. Yes, there is. You may not know what that thing is yet, and that’s okay. Just know that it’s there and trust yourself enough to find it. Sometimes, finding what makes you come alive is trial and error; so if you take the pressure off and let yourself experiment (just see what works and what doesn’t), you’ll have a much easier time of it.
All you have to do to listen to your life and your intuition. When you listen to your life, you pay attention to those activities that you naturally gravitate toward. What do you often find yourself doing/saying? What kinds of people/places/things do you like to surround yourself with? When you listen to your intuition, which is that voice of wisdom inside you, you can find answers that are true to you. Some questions that you need to be asking are:
- Where are you and what are you doing when you feel the most happy and fulfilled?
- What are your passions (things that you love and enjoy)?
- What makes you feel like this is home and/or where you belong when you do it?
Know this: You are 100% responsible for your own happiness, I say kindly. It’s not up to somebody else to make you happy; it’s up to you to find what makes you happy and then pursue it.
4. Give yourself permission to choose happiness.
Sometimes we wait around for permission from others to have/be/do/say what we most want. All that time spent waiting is all that time you can’t ever get back. You know what you want (see number 3 above). You know what you need to do to get it and/or you’ll figure out the how of it as you go along.
You don’t need anyone else to tell you what you can and can’t do, what’s possible and what’s not. That’s for you to decide for your own self. It’s a choice to let the fears and limitations of others become your own. Don’t choose it. Instead, you choose happiness every morning. You decide what you want. You get out of your own way by telling yourself you can have it.
Know this: the only permission you ever need to go after what you want is your own because wanting it for your life is reason enough.
5. Go do what makes you feel the most alive.
Wishing will not help you, only doing will. So you be bold and take the first step (no matter how small). Then the next and the next and the next. It doesn’t matter how slowly you go. What matters is that you take action and move in the direction of what it is that you want. What matters is that you finish for you and you alone. What matters most is that you keep going until you reach what you most want and it is yours.
By taking action, you will prove to yourself (not to anyone else, ever) that you matter, that what you want matters, that what you do matters. By taking action to create a life you love, you will strengthen your belief in your own self-worth and build up your own self-esteem. By taking action, you will become for yourself a rock-solid person that you can always count on.
Know this: the only person that can save your life (and your happiness) is you. No one else is responsible and no one else is coming to save you.
So what will you choose today so you can be happier?