The Courage to Be Happy
We are surrounded by countless counterfeits for happiness.
Every day I watch miserable people attempt to deceive themselves into believing they’re happy, and that their current, empty, passionless lives are exactly what they really wanted all along.
They try to convince themselves that they are just lucky to have a job instead of admitting to themselves that they’re too scared to quit and pursue their dreams.
Students try to talk themselves into believing that a college degree will get them farther in life. They pray that further down the road they’ll love their major, or that after they graduate, when they can put stuff into practice in the “real world” it will all have been worth it.
People lie themselves into a fake belief that their ‘meh’ relationship is good enough. Fairy tale relationships just aren’t for everyone. Plus, they’ve found someone who can tolerate them… what’s to say they’re good enough to find someone new if the mediocre situation in which they’re being held captive came to an end?
And there they sit. Miserable.
Living in misery is so easy… but so is living happily.
The trick to the latter is having the guts to make happiness a priority.
As a culture, we have a tendency to view goals, achievements, and milestones in our lives as magical keys that will allow us to unlock the secret portal to happiness.
We have been conditioned to believe that:
- A full time job with benefits will make you happy.
- Getting a college degree will make you happy.
- A new girlfriend or boyfriend (or a husband/wife) will make you happy.
This is a load of crap. These checklist items do not guarantee happiness.
Happiness starts with desire. You must listen to your heart and take note of what resonates with you… That resonance – the burning, passionate feeling you get when you do something you love – that’s happiness.
Don’t, however, confuse happiness with temporary pleasure.
Often times feeling good now at the expense of feeling better later is misinterpreted as happiness. Happiness is not self-indulgence. Happiness is where self-awareness meets self-actualization.
If you need help deciding whether something will provide momentary happiness vs. lasting happiness, follow this simple test:
It doesn’t take much courage to experience pleasure. Temporary pleasure often leads to addiction, depression, and shame. When you look back on moments of temporary pleasure, you will often feel regret and remorse. If you have experienced moments like this… don’t repeat them.
Happiness, on the other hand, will provide a positive sentiment no matter how many times you look back on them. Happiness requires trust (in yourself and often in others), and work, and chance, and the risk of failing. Happiness requires courage.
Don’t fall prey to the constant bombardment of shortcuts, cheat codes, and secret recipes. Have the courage to say no to mediocrity, complacence, and the bland. Have the courage to take ownership of your life and your decisions.
Have the courage to be happy.
More to come on courage… if you like what you read, please subscribe, and leave your thoughts in the comments below!