We are living in challenging times. The world economy is in a poor state, and here in Ireland the situation is particularly drastic. And if that wasn’t bad enough, this winter has already seen two of the severest “cold snaps” ever recorded in the country, which has wreaked havoc on commercial enterprise and private households alike. Usually so happy to see the magical white stuff, if there’s even a whiff of it returning there’s panic at the prospect of no water, relying on public transport, cars, washing machines and living room ceilings being damaged by the effect of frozen pipes.
Really, we could do with a break!
Given this non-cheery state of affairs, what, you might well ask, is there to be happy about?
It is certainly a challenging question. You might be asking yourself: how can I be happy when…? (fill in your own blanks)
I can empathise. I can well remember a time when that question was on the tip of my own tongue on a daily basis. But these days, my answer to that question – no matter who asks it or what their circumstance is – you can be! There is more to life than economics and the weather. So much more. And happiness is an inner state of being. What that means, is no external conditions are necessary in order to be happy.
You don’t need financial security, your own home, a dream job, a life partner. It’s great if you have them, but having any or all of these things doesn’t guarantee your happiness either. Plenty of wealthy people are miserable, and plenty of people living in abject poverty are happy. It’s all about what’s going on inside.
You don’t even need full health. Although ill health is probably the most challenging obstacle to overcome in the pursuit of happiness, it is absolutely possible. As Helen Keller said, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
Given the tough times we’re currently going through, it can be difficult to accept that we have full responsibility and control over our own happiness. But if you think about it for a minute, don’t you think it can offer you comfort too? If it’s true, then the reality of having a really rough ride ahead of us the next few years doesn’t mean we have to postpone being happy till we get to the other side.
And the same applies to any other challenges you’re dealing with in your personal life, be it health, relationships or anything else that’s taking up your energy. If it’s true! Well, the only way to find out if it’s true is to put it to the test yourself. And my question to you is this: what have you got to lose?
I was once a pessimist and worrier, and now I’m a learned optimist – eventhough I’m as challenged financially as the next person.
Every day I set the intention to be happy. And I generally am. Now I am sometimes sad too, but I bounce back more quickly than before. And I look inside me for the reasons why I don’t feel good, instead of looking outside. Because feeling bad, just like feeling good, also comes from within. You might like to blame another person for driving you crazy, but the truth is you’re doing it to yourself.
So we each have a personal decision to make. Do you want to be miserable or do you want to be happy? It’s up to you. Not the government, not the economy and not your family and friends. Depending on your natural tendency towards optimism or pessimism, it could take a bit of work. But this is inner work – something you have complete control over. Instead of fretting about what you can’t control, why not try taking conscious control of what’s going on inside you? There are joyous rewards to be reaped.