Thoughts on this post? Share them with me on Facebook, join the SPANily or Tweet me at @angieatkinson. ~Angie

“It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.” ~Lucille Ball

Happiness is elusive for many people. Whether it’s due to dealing with every day stresses or something more significant, most of us could find something to frown about if we wanted to.

Certain groups even promote unhappiness among their members in the form of “self sacrifice.” The idea, they say, is that sacrificing one’s own happiness in life will make for a better afterlife.

Pat Nixon (pictured on TIME Magazine, right), wife of former president Richard Nixon once said, “I have sacrificed everything in my life that I consider precious in order to advance the political career of my husband.”

I respectfully disagree with this idea. In fact, I think it sucks. Think about it. Do you think Mrs. Nixon could have been truly happy?

In support of her husband’s ultimate goal, she chose to sacrifice herself and her own happiness.

This is something that many of us do without even realizing it. We set goals for ourselves (or choose to help others achieve theirs.) This is good…but then, we unconsciously put off our own happiness during our pursuit of the goal.

We think that we’ll be happy when we meet our goals–and in truth, while there is usually a brief period of euphoria after we meet goals, ultimately, many people find themselves seeking the next big thing before they’ve had a moment to enjoy their success. Then, of course, the cycle starts again.

So how do we break it?

Take some advice from Romanian author and composer J. Donald Walters.

“Happiness is not a brilliant climax to years of grim struggle and anxiety,” he said. “It is a long succession of little decisions simply to be happy in the moment.”

Guess what? If you’re unhappy, you’ve chosen to be so. And, by feeling miserable, you’re drawing more of that to yourself. But that’s great news!

Why? Because, you can change it. It’s simple. All you have to do is make the choice to be happy, right now, this moment. You have to choose it. Regardless of your current circumstances, find that place within yourself called happy and spend a little time there. Smile, even if you don’t feel like it. It works wonders, I promise.

My challenge for you today is to choose to be simply happy for two full minutes. Just decide you’re happy, and feel it. Don’t let yourself stress or think any negative thoughts during those two minutes. Laugh, smile or jump up and down. Whatever works for you–just keep those thoughts happy. Carry that feeling with you throughout the rest of the day.

Next time, we’ll discuss the secrets of truly happy people.

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5 Responses to If It Makes You Happy…Do It Right NOW!

  1. I do something that makes me happy everyday:-)

  2. Hi Angela! I'm happy right this moment and plan to choose to keep it going – you are so right – it is a choice. Why don't we simply do it? Duh!

    I so agree about that Pat Nixon thing – self-sacrifice (unless you are trying to rescue someone from death itself) pretty much sucks. It's like rejecting what talents,gifts or opportunity the Universe/God has given you and throwing it back saying "oh no, it's way more important for me to live according to someone's life than my own".
    Pshaw! Sure there are times (esp. in parenting) that you put other's needs first, but not to live a whole entire life that way! Yikes! Like what was she thinking? And I agree with you, she couldn't have been happy!

  3. I've been practicing being happy– even when I don't feel like it– for the past couple of weeks. It really works. It's a choice to shift my mindset in the moment… and it makes all the difference.

  4. Another great post as always. I think it is important to be able to balance both. You must be able to follow your dreams and goals without pushing the goals of loved ones out of the way. I think it is a very fine line and you must tread it carefully to not loose yourself in the process.

  5. Hey, I have been reading your posts after the post and seem to agree on every word. Your writing is are too too good. Yes, happiness certainly is a choice made every moment and not after we achieve something big, that may really be illusive as you very rightly said. Great work. Congratulations!! You seem to be changing the world for better with your words, we need more people like you in this world.

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