How to be happy when you’re not feeling happy.

Am I happy‘?

Have you found yourself asking this question over and over, and probably at times where you’ve felt nothing’s going well or right in your life, or when you’re in the middle of a difficult situation? I have, thousands of times over and it me took me years to realize that happiness is a CHOICE just like everything else in life!

Yes, a choice. While it’s true you can feel happy, sad, or angry, you can have feelings, however, feelings follow thoughts. As you think, then you are, the bible says, so true!

What is happiness?

So what is happiness to you? Is it having lots of money in your bank account, a comfortable lifestyle, a harmonious relationship, well behaved children?  Those things can bring happiness, but aren’t they the results or outcomes of our inner thoughts and attitudes – choices – shown by what we live out?

Happiness is a choice.

Happiness is a state or an inner sense of contentment, joy and peace within. Happiness isn’t dependent on the externals, rather it’s been cultivated in your heart and mind, by intentional choice. This then flows out to your speech and behaviour. This is true happiness.

To have happiness, we choose what we believe, what we think. For so long, I was led by how I felt, I had no control over my emotions. I just let my feelings and mouth(!) go whenever and however. How horrible a person I was!

That vicious cycle of negativity…

Every time I vented at people, it turned out disastrous to me and everyone around me, so I just felt bad all the time. People got upset or annoyed back at me and they didn’t want to be near me and couldn’t be nice to me – I had deserved it though.

I felt guilty, and ashamed of my wrong doing and hurtful words. All this made me feel even more worthless. And the silence and distance from others pushed the pain further in.

Have you ever been in these situations? You felt hurt, so down, and disappointed that you lost all joy, motivation and hope? Well, I get you and you know what I’m talking about.

That darn root of pride.

Negativity is toxic to ourselves and everyone around us. What it really was, deep down was hurt and fear, and at the root of it all, my pride.

In fact, because of my pride, I hid and pressed down my true feelings and just waited for it all to explode at the nearest moving target! Oh dear. I was on a blame game rampage.

Because I was afraid. Afraid of what people would think of me, how they’d react, what they’d say back to me. Afraid of rejection. I was deeply insecure, quite self centered (proud) to be honest!

When you’ve had enough of pain …

Once I hit rock bottom (see it took me that long, that’s how hard my heart was) it dawned on me, wait, I can choose to think differently, see differently, I don’t have to see it this way. I don’t have to feel this way. I have a choice!!!

So finally I took responsibility for how I felt by deciding to change MY attitude, starting from MY thought life. See, unless you see that YOU need to change, then decide YOU want to change, nothing’s going to change in your life. Uh uh it’s not about the situation, or the other person!

Persevere, don’t give up.

It was a battle though, because of the years of ‘hard wiring’ of negative and toxic beliefs. My mind at first resisted change, till I persevered in building up positive, life giving thoughts and speech over a long period of time. Now, I’m a totally different person today – positive, happy, peaceful and overcoming of the many hurdles and obstacles life has thrown my way. I thank God for His grace towards me.

You can be happy, if you want to be!

You too can be happy! You can choose what and how you think today. How I started was to self examine, to be more self aware!  This can take a fair bit of ‘work’ because you’re being quite focused in self reflecting on your thought life, which many of us don’t often do, as we’re just too busy trying to get things done.

Here are some steps you can take right now, to change your feelings from sad to happy! You can apply this to your finances, relationships, work – everything in your life: it’s important you find the time, ideally in a quiet spot where you can actually think clearly, without interruptions.

The 7 decisions to make towards happiness:

1. Do I see a need to change?

Unless you see that you’re the one (not others, or the situation) who needs to change, nothing will change.

2. Do I want to change?

It’s going to be hard. It’ll be an uphill battle emotionally at first, but don’t give up. Choose to change now.

3. How am I talking to myself and to others?

Listen to your own speech, that’s what you’re thinking too. What are the feelings coming through your tones? Identify what those feelings are, name them.

4. Let the negative or untrue feelings go.

Speak out those feelings to yourself and to God. Let’s take for example “I let go of resentment right now”, or “I forgive that person right now”. You need to mean it, it has to come from your heart or you won’t change.

5. Replace those resentful thoughts.

Replace with positive, empowering thoughts. For example “I will think well of this person now, I choose to see the good in them. I have chosen to forgive them”. See how you feel? A lot better, right?

6. Repeat to yourself those new thoughts

Repeat, until those toxic thoughts fade away from your mind, replaced by these powerful new life giving thoughts. You’ll then be able to think of that person or situation peacefully.

7. Take action steps

Now you can do what you need to do to remedy, reconcile or resolve the situation, since you’ve now changed your attitude and perspective! You’re happy!

Have a go at this, be honest with yourself. Remember you always have a choice. Make this a habit. You can choose to be happy, the choice is yours. Are you happy? If not, do you want to be happy?

2 comments / Add your comment below

    1. Thank you, yes being intentional with your words and actions is so key, but also quite hard to do when you’re emotionally overwhelmed.

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