Have you ever wondered why some people, despite their wealth, power and material possessions are clearly unhappy with their lives? I know I have. As someone who went back to school full-time as single parent I can tell you that the struggle is real. I always felt that my life would be so much easier if I just had a little more money so I wouldn’t have to worry about my car breaking down, repairs that my house needed or how my bills were going to get paid. Worrying about money caused me lots of stress which caused me to assume that folks with more money slept great at night because they didn’t have to worry about the things that I did. Boy was I wrong.
Now that I’m out of school and am beginning my career (2 very big goals that I had set out to accomplish), I have a different perspective, one that I’ve always known deep down inside:
1. No matter how accomplished you are, happiness is a full time job.
While accomplishments, money and relationships can give us lots of joy, it is often temporary. If you only rely on the good times in your life to give you constant happiness, you will often be disappointed. You should consistently be dedicated to creating and sustaining your happiness. At first, it may seem as if you are putting forth a lot of effort, but before long, it will become second nature.
2. Happiness is an inside job.
While money, material possessions and accomplishments are a great thing, none of that matters if your insides are messed up. You really have to be the boss of your own happiness, because it’s not always going to be automatically there. You have to guard your energy and your thoughts. You have to limit the time you spend around negative people (I like to think this is the “They” that DJ Khaled often refers to). You shouldn’t use your family members, friends or relationships as the only source of your happiness, you’ve got to learn how to cultivate happiness on your own. Speaking positively over your life (both in your mind and out loud) is a great way to stay positive and happy.
3. Do something you love.
It is often said that someone who does what they love for a living never has to work a day in their life. While everyone is not blessed to be able to earn a living doing what they love, there are ways to incorporate that into your life. Find out what is it that you like doing and simply do it. Cultivate a talent, take a class, mentor the youth, plan a trip, read a book, play a sport, organize a room. The list goes on and on. Once you find your niche(s), you’ll be unstoppable.
4. Make sure you have support.
There’s nothing like having an excellent support system. These are the people who are going to help lift you up when you are down and help you celebrate your life’s milestones. Realize that your life has no room for negative, unsupportive people. Sometimes contact with negative people is unavoidable. I would say limit your interaction as much as possible. If you are having problems with co-workers at your job, enlist the help of your supervisor or the Human Resources department. If you are having issues with a family member who lives with you, consider faith-based or professional counseling. As the boss of your own happiness, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to maintain it.
There’s no two ways about it: Happiness definitely comes from within. And it’s not always easy. If this is something you are struggling with, one of quickest ways to stay on track is to shift your focus from others to yourself and your blessings. I guarantee that it’s impossible for you to be upset when you are thinking this way.