Some people live in social or financial poverty, but are able to cultivate happiness with the very little they have. Others are surrounded by a wealth of family, friends, and material blessings, and still find that happiness eludes them.
WHY ARE SOME PEOPLE ABLE TO CONSTRUCT A HAPPY LIFE FROM VERY LITTLE, WHILE OTHERS CAN’T SEEM TO COME CLOSE?
The answer is in the choices we make every day. As Akilnathan Logeswaran wrote, “Happiness is a choice, a repetitive one.” When we choose to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, we grow. When we make these choices consistently, the inclination to do so becomes a natural pattern of thinking. Your brain actually changes.
The difficulty for most of us comes in changing the thought itself. Simply pushing a feeling away does not work. Instead, we need to re-frame it in a way that still feels true to us.
Here are five ways to do that:
1. WHEN YOU FEEL SHORT-CHANGED, CHOOSE GRATITUDE.
As Sheryl Crow famously sang, “It’s not having what you want. It’s wanting what you’ve got.” The next time you are frustrated with the unfairness of life, write a gratitude list. Make it a mental game. Respond to every negative thought with a list of five things you are grateful for. For every thing you notice you do not have, list three that you do. Soon it will become second nature to respond to setbacks with positivity.
2. WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE THE VICTIM, LOOK TO YOUR STRENGTHS.
We all feel victimized sometimes. While living in that place can feel righteous, it does not contribute to our happiness and our productivity. When you feel small and hurt, think of three things you do well. Make a list of your internal qualities that make you the strong and powerful person you are. Build yourself up. Refuse to let victimhood redefine your identity. You are not the things that happen to you – you are the things you choose to be.
3. LEARN TO SEE OBSTACLES AS OPPORTUNITIES.
Most successful people did not become that way because they had an easy road. In fact, they likely had obstacles that were even greater than those of the average person. The difference is, they did not give up and go home when they met them. Instead, they used them to become stronger. Think of your own physical fitness. If you want your muscles to become stronger, you need to challenge them. If doing so is difficult and a little bit painful, you are likely making good progress. The same is true for your mental and emotional strength.
4. WHEN YOU FEEL CRITICAL OF OTHERS, REFLECT AND RE-FRAME.
Jealousy can eat us alive. Most often, it manifests as envy and excessive criticism. If you feel this way towards a person, it is time to take an honest look inward. Most likely, you admire them in some way but are too insecure to embrace that thought. Choose to put your feelings of competition aside. Celebrate your frenemy for their positive attributes. Look to their negative traits with a sense of grace and acceptance. As Abraham Lincoln said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
5. CHOOSE TO FORGIVE AND LET GO.
“You will evolve past certain people,” wrote Mandy Hale. “Let yourself.” Forgiving does not mean forgetting. It does not even mean that you need to continue a relationship with the person who wronged you. In fact, forgiveness is not about the other person at all. It’s about you. Choosing forgiveness means accepting what has happened, learning from it, and processing your pain in a way that allows you to move past it. Forgiveness means refusing to carry the weight of another person’s wrongdoing in your own heart. That kind of baggage can get heavy and weigh you down. You don’t need it.
“Your thoughts carry you wherever you want to go. Weak thoughts don’t have the energy to carry you far,” explained Israelmore Ayivor. You have the power to construct your own reality. Use it with wisdom, consciousness, and intention.
Source: Unified Soul Theory