We live in a time when society is wanting to be constantly entertained. Humanity is driven by the next fix to bring them peace, joy, and happiness. When in reality it is up us to find our own joy in each day. It is a choice one makes. Your happiness is your own responsibility. Don't rely on anyone else to achieve it. This is perhaps the most important realization that you need to make in order to achieve happiness in life and in yourself.
As I coach my clients in this topic, there has been one question that seems to always be asked. "What does it mean/how does one to be responsible for your own joy?” My answer is the same every time. Taking personal responsibility means not blaming others for your unhappiness. It means figuring out ways in which you can be happy despite others' (negative) behaviors and despite the external circumstances. This doesn't mean that very happy people blindly accepting whatever is happening to them. A person who has taken personal responsibility recognizes an all-important truth about happiness: your happiness depends much more on your attitude than it does on objective, external circumstances.
Can one be happy despite intense physical or psychological pain? This is the question many of my clients ask when I talk of taking personal responsibility for happiness. it is possible to be happy no matter what the external circumstance. How? Because one's emotional state is a function of how one interprets events, rather than what actually happened. For example, Say you lost your job of many years out of the blue on a minor technicality. This is your one income to support your family. How do you react in this situation? Do you tell yourself all is lost and throw in the towel? Do you tell yourself this is just life’s way of throwing you an obstacle in order to beat you down? Or do you tell yourself that perhaps this is a new opportunity? This is a chance to find a job that you are passionate about. Maybe this is your time to write that book or start that business that you have always wanted to do but never had time for. They key here is your response to the cards you have been dealt. Do you automatically see an obstacle or an opportunity?
Please do not misunderstand me. I am in no way saying there will not be some hurt feelings, fear, and anxiety. These are all natural, human emotions we all will go through when life throws us a curve ball. What I am trying to say is not to stay there. Feel the feelings and then make the choice to see it an obstacle or an opportunity. Our happiness in fact, any emotional state, including a negative one, is generated by interpretations of events.
Because I do realize that owning your joy is not a common way of thinking I tell my clients to start small. When confronted with the idea that happiness is ultimately in the mind, many of us immediately entertain extreme examples that falsify the theory: could we be happy even if we break a bone or lose our job? To me, this is the wrong line of questioning. It is about baby steps and like with any muscle one has to start with small amounts of weight before you get to the heaviest dumbbells. The right question to ask is whether we can be happy given the types of negative events that routinely occur in our lives. In other words, rather than ask yourself if you can be happy even in extremely negative circumstances, ask yourself whether you can be happy in the more moderate circumstances in which you find yourself on a day-to-day basis. Can you, for example, entertain the possibility of being happy despite the fact that it's raining outside? Can you be happy if a meeting with your client did not go as well as you would have liked?
Your ability to control your emotional response to events gains strength only when you take on challenges that are commensurate with your current ability. If you are currently someone who lets relatively minor events, like an encounter with a rude waitress, spoil your mood, how can you expect to maintain your happiness when a more extreme event like a weeklong visit from an unpleasant relative unfold? So start with the small situation to allow yourself the space and grace to grow stronger in time.
Taking personal responsibility for your happiness involves, ultimately, adopting a "surrender mindset" which refers to the willingness to fully and unquestioningly accept the outcomes you are dealt in life. But how does one develop the surrender mindset? Daily meditation and implementing gratitude are now widely accepted as tools to fortify your happiness. I practice both of these on a daily basis and they help to build a firm foundation. However, I wanted to present other, less obvious action steps that we can use right now to go from short-term to long-term happiness.
1. Don’t be easily discouraged by unfavorable circumstances.
Instead of being guided solely by external circumstances, strongly consider what you’re feeling in your heart, and practice making your final decisions based on the still small voice within.
2. Let go of control.
One of my favorite internet memes is “Don’t worry, nothing is in control.” There is very little that any of us are in control of. Practice letting the chips fall where they may, and accepting people as they are. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have expectations. We all do. But when they are not met (this happens more often than not) try to adjust your expectations to accommodate the reality of the situation.
3. Increase your adaptation energy.
Change is inevitable. We must learn it is a part of life. Without being able to adapt, we stay reliant on external factors going in our favor, which is the set up for the majority of the suffering we may be experiencing in our lives. We must strive to be opening adaptable to gain that authentic joy we all crave
4.Stop looking at people or situations as the source of your happiness.
This factor I cannot stress enough. Instead of looking to get happy from a person or a job, we must view relationships and/or jobs as outlets for the happiness we have inside, and instead focus on how we can give more happiness. Besides giving a person or situation that much power over us will never end well.
5. Accept yourself and others
Learn to detect more of the beauty within your perceived flaws and you will dramatically increase your ability to see the best in others, which will result in increased happiness.
6. Be Mindful of Excuses
A common trait of irresponsible people is that they make or find an array of excuses. We can find many reasons not to make life changes. However, to allow these reasons to influence you not to make any change is when that reason becomes an excuse. And, at that moment, you’ve just given your power away. We all have the same 24 hours each day. How we choose to spend it is what we are all responsible for. And, this will show in the quality of life we have. So, stop making excuses for yourself.
7. Stop Negative Self-Talk
These negative, self-limiting beliefs we have of ourselves usually originate from the projections and judgments other people throw at us. We come into this world with a very clean slate. As we grow, we begin to take on our personality. Much of this has to do with the environment we are socialized in. However, you do not have to be a product of your environment. You can take responsibility for your life and reclaim your full potential by utilizing the approaches mentioned above.
When you finally take on the mindset that your joy is your job the sky will become more clear. Doors will open. Your eyes will shine. Free yourself today and be responsible for your happiness. You will be emotionally independent. It is a great thing for anyone because you will take back the power you gave out, and you will never regret it.