A few months back, my therapist pointed out this nasty habit that I've had for way too long.
Putting off my own happiness.
I think you know what I mean - the stories that I'd tell myself I'd be happy when... When I got another promotion. When I made $50k a year. When I hit a certain number of Instagram followers. When I reached my goal weight.
Dialing it back a few years, I told myself I'd be happy when I got into a prestigious college. When I had a successful relationship (without much idea beyond romantic comedies of what that meant for me). When I could successfully hold a handstand or some impressively bendy yoga pose. When I meditated regularly or meal prepped every week without fail.
So many stories running through my head, and it was insane. When I stop to look at it, all I was doing was obsessively putting my happiness - and really my life - off to a later date.
Which is totally nuts. But I'm curious - can you relate? Would love to hear about the crazy stories you tell yourself - my inbox is open to you.
This all brings me back to an idea - a truth really - that I love. Our happiness is a choice. We get to create the world we live in - and for way too many years, I chose a life where happiness was always one success or achievement out of reach.
I'm done living like that - and I think you should be, too.
And now we get to the good stuff - the how of it all. See, happiness is a skill. And choosing happiness is a skill that is definitely worth practicing.
First, you've got to accept the idea that happiness is a choice. That's very challenging for a lot of us, because it forces us to own up to the ways in which we've been creating our own unhappiness in life. Which feels shitty. Yuck. But the good news is, it also lets us start to step into our power, and make shifts from a place of realizing that we get to create the reality you want.
When you decide to stop living as if life is a thing that happens to you, you stop living as a passenger. You start to show up in the world as a creator, a force to be reckoned with. You start showing up as someone who knows what they want and who is ready to make it happen. More important even than that - you should up as someone who knows without a doubt that they can and will make it happen.
You step out of a victim mindset and into your own badassness. Which feels pretty awesome.
Once you recognize you're in control of your happiness, you get to the real work, which sounds so simple, yet so challenging. In every moment when you notice you've slipped into stress, anxiety, dread, fear or any other negative emotion, you get to choose again. Choose happiness.
And like any new exercise, you've got to work this happiness muscle like it's your full time job. It might make you (mentally, energetically) sore. You might not feel like doing it. It might feel easier to stay stuck in stress and worry. Because honestly, we've all spent a lot of time in those places. They've become comfortable. Cozy in their chaos, even.
But really ask yourself - am I willing to get uncomfortable in the name of becoming happier? Am I willing to do some hard work to peel away the layers of maladaptive coping methods and addictions? Is the end result - more joy, fulfillment, radiance, energy, love - worth it to me?
That's a no brainer to me - 100%, absolutely positively yes. Sign me up for all of the soul growth and personal development, please!
When you say yes to your own power and recognize that you are in control of the way you see the world, you get to choose to be happy now. You can challenge yourself when thoughts like "I'll be satisfied when..." or "I'll feel good enough as soon as..." pop up. Resist the urge to tie your happiness to something that's just out of reach, and you'll realize that you have the power to decide to be happy now. In this moment, and in every single moment of your life.
What do you think - are you ready to choose happiness?