“Forget your troubles, come on get happy!” OK, but where exactly is it and how do I get it? Happiness is viewed as a final state of being. Like it’s a person, place, or thing, and not as a shifting continuum of relative contentedness. Many of my clients ask, “How can I be happy? What’s the secret?” If we shift it from a destination to a fluctuation rooted in the meaning we place on everyday events, we may find some clues.
We all know people who continually tell of all the bad that happens to them. And I don’t necessarily mean huge things. Even little daily annoyances are proof that their life sucks. It figures that their cashier must change the register tape. Of course their server gets their order wrong. See? Their life is miserable. At the same time, they believe everything is always sunny for the rest of us; when stuck in traffic we just start singing and dancing atop our immovable cars like the opening scene of La La Land.
But life is good and bad for all of us. We’ve all stopped at every red light and been in the longest line. Life gives us plenty of examples to prove and perpetuate unhappiness. People who are positive don’t naturally walk through the world with nothing bad happening. They just don’t see negative things as directed at them, and they allow more of a balanced experience of positivity and negativity, viewing each with perspective; each as part of the human experience. Their stories aren’t full of minor annoyances because they experience them as just that.
Imagine driving up the coast along the ocean, but only looking out the other window, the one with the grass and cows and fields. You’d miss all the majesty and beauty of the ocean the entire time, looking at all the fields and all the cows instead. Now, I’ve got nothing against cows. They can be beautiful. Majestic even. But imagine never seeing the ocean because you simply never turned your head!
As you go through your day, try to focus on the positive things that are happening alongside the negative. There is a universal truth about opposition. You can’t know cold if you don’t know hot. But that doesn’t mean life is forever cold or hot. It’s both. Sometimes at the same time.
Choosing to focus on the positive rather than the negative can help you eventually maintain a more balanced experience of contentedness. And you just might forget your troubles and get happy!