Just the other day I was watching the program Divorce Court on television. Yes, I know it’s not particularly uplifting, but I do watch occasionally because of the things it reveals about human nature. The wife on the show that day had a list of complaints against the husband a mile long. The husband responded that his wife’s source of happiness seemed to be finding things wrong with him.
The judge basically agreed with the husband. She said that compared to the men that had come to court previously, this woman’s husband wasn’t bad. The man was faithful to her, worked every day, didn’t drink or do drugs, and was a good father. And he loved her.
However at the end of the program, the wife still wanted the divorce. She also wanted the husband to pay for her to have gastric bypass surgery and a breast lift, convinced that these things would give her a new life and make her happy.
The judge failed to persuade her that they never would. The judge also didn’t make the husband pay for the surgeries.
The sad thing is that even if the woman has the surgeries and finds a new husband, she will still probably find new things to be unhappy about.
What does it take to be happy? Happiness first of all is defined as favored by fortune. It’s dependent on what is happening to you at the time. It is different from joy. Joy is an internal state, a feeling of well-being and contentment. Joy comes from having internal security, knowing that in spite of everything going on around you, all is well.
I’ve learned that the only true source of joy is a relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ. It’s interesting the bible mentions the word ‘happy’ only about 21 times, but the word ‘joy’ about 188 times. Seems to me that joy is easier and better! However, you can have both.
Here are some steps you can take to increase your odds of being happy.
1. Take responsibility for your own happiness.
If you are blaming others for the things you have or don’t have, then stop. You cannot control others, only yourself. If you are constantly living in the past and beating yourself up for the mistakes you made, then stop. You did the best you could with what you knew at the time. You can’t change it. But you can do things differently in the present and influence the future. Ask yourself, “What can I do today that will help me get a little closer to the things I desire?” If your desire is to lose weight, then you will start with small steps you can take to get you there.
Also start focusing on the things you are grateful for in your life rather than the things you lack. Appreciate your loved ones and tell them so. Watch your relationships improve and that will make you happier.
2. Keep your promises to yourself.
If you have a friend who was constantly making promises to you but never kept them, would you be happy with that friend? The answer is no, of course. But how often do we tell ourselves that we are going to do something, but don’t follow through? When you do that, you learn not to trust yourself. And that leads to unhappiness and lowered self- esteem.
So be careful when you make a promise to yourself. Make sure the promise has at least a 50/50 chance that you will follow through on it. Start small and then do everything you can to follow through. You’ll be surprised at how the simple act of making promises to yourself and keeping them will increase your sense of trust and make you happier.
3. Recognize that happiness is Now.
Do not postpone happiness by telling yourself that when a circumstance changes, then you will do the things you really want to do. How can you start doing those things now? I know plenty of women who say that they will only dress well or get a flattering hairstyle when they lose weight. Forget that! Do these nice things for yourself now. Tomorrow isn’t promised to you. But you can take good care of yourself today.
And you know what? By taking care of yourself and doing things that make you feel good about yourself, you will become happier and want to do even more. It starts a positive cycle and increases the odds that you will attract even more favor into your life.
Now how cool is that? So don’t wait. Start taking the steps above and watch yourself enjoy your life more. You only get one. Don’t waste a second of yours wallowing in unhappiness. Get out of the pit and claim the joy and happiness that can be yours.