Happiness is a Choice – Wise words from Liz Mullinar.
On my 70th birthday I announced to my assembled friends that I intended to devote the next 10 years of my life to being “happy”. With time running out, I said I want to make sure the latter years of my life are full of joy and happiness as much as possible.
It is so easy to put off until tomorrow what I really should and could do today.
After all, as a survivor of child abuse my default mechanism used to be one of anxiety and fear (necessary self-protection as a child). So now optimizing my happiness is of huge importance to me.
So what do I do to try to achieve my goal?
Very simple – each morning as I lie in bed I review my day. Then if there is anything to which I feel a negative gut reaction, I stop and think “why am I dong this if I don’t want to?”
If my reaction is because I have to, then I ask myself “why do I have to??” If the reason I have to is to achieve something that will make me happy then I include it in my day. If I cannot find a good rationale for going through with the action then I don’t do it. That may sound too simplistic, however what it makes me do is ensure I am really aware of how I am spending my time and if I have chosen to do the task then it removes the “because I have to” from my vocabulary.
You may respond with “ I have to clean the house”, “I have to take the children to school”. Let me respond. I don’t have to clean the house. I can leave it dirty. What will be the consequences?? Will I like it if the house is dirty? If the answer is no then I clean the house, not because I have to but because I want to – I want to have a clean house. It changes my perception of the task.
I find it works wonderfully well.
I run a very busy charity and it is easy to become overwhelmed with my work and with the things I am supposed to be doing, especially as we have so little money and so many people in need of help.
However, by letting myself choose what I want to do, I feel in control and I have no excuse for not being happy. I no longer feel overwhelmed, even though I am doing and achieving far more than I was when I was just being busy without the choice.
Try it. Make the decision. Your life is your choice and how much you enjoy life is entirely your choice too.