Brrr! It’s cold here in Maryland in the aftermath of Jonas. We are now venturing into the great “dig out” of 2016. I hope wherever you are, you are safe and warm and had a great weekend. Today I’m excited to bring you a guest post by Deb Bucy, an amazing new contributor here on Dana Renee Style (and I’m totally not biased because she’s my mom or anything, heh). She is pretty fantastic and has some words of wisdom to start this week off on a great foot. Enjoy!
I hope that everyone is off to a great start in 2016 and that in the new year you live a life of joy! I am talking about living with the kind of joy that resonates in your soul and makes you a happy person. Hey, I am not a Pollyanna and I know that life sometimes kicks you in the gut and leaves you feeling angry and annoyed, but I want you to consider that life is about choices and you can choose to be happy regardless of your circumstances.
Enjoying life is a choice. That’s right! Maybe you haven’t thought about it that way before, but you are in control of your own happiness! Whoa! Think about that for a minute. You, and only you, are responsible for your own happiness. So, do you greet each day with gratitude and excitement or fear and dread? If you wake up each day with fear and dread, here are some tips to help you turn that frown upside down. Yes, corny, I know. But, hang with me. I have some helpful advice. Here are five steps to help you find happiness.
- Understand that happiness is an emotional state of being. It is not the by-product of an event or a material thing. Set your mind to be happy. Start by thinking happy thoughts. When something negative enters your thoughts, immediately start listing things that create a happy feeling. It is difficult to divide your focus, so by intentionally turning your focus to what creates the happy feeling inside, the negative will disappear.
Surround yourself with people that make you feel good. It is hard to cut ties with people who bring you down, but consider how heavy their influences are to carry. Imagine carrying around a suitcase filled with books you have already read, and we are not talking about a suitcase with wheels. The load is heavy. You have read the books and enjoyed their stories, but it no longer serves you to hold onto them. People can be like those books. You don’t need to carry them around when they are heavy and serve no purpose in your life. Does that sound harsh and selfish? Well, sometimes we lose our joy because we are not selfish enough. Remember, you and only you are in control of your joy.
Stop comparing your life to others. Your journey is unique. You are unique. Comparing yourself to others brings judgment and envy. Judgment brings feelings of inadequacy and failure, followed by consumption of large quantities of Ben and Jerry’s chunky monkey ice cream. I know some of you understand what I’m talking about. Envy just screams that you are not content with who you are. You aren’t finished with your life yet, so become whoever you want to be and let those you are envious of become whatever they have chosen to be. I want you to have the courage to live your life without the fear of others’ approval. At the end of the day, does it really matter what other people think? Please answer NO! It should only matter what you think. Let me add a disclaimer here. I am not encouraging behavior that is illegal. I am encouraging you to be happy (within the legal confines of your local, state and federal regulations) and that joy is a feeling you choose to have within, regardless of your outward circumstances.
Get addicted to the feeling of joy. Sometimes, I think people get used to being the victim. It brings a certain kind of attention, and whining and complaining become a habit that becomes hard to break. Yes, I think people become addicted to being treated badly and being miserable. Pain is inevitable, but misery is a choice. You should get so comfortable with feeling joyful, so addicted to feeling joyful, that you will say no to anything that threatens to remove that high.
Don’t live in the past. Anything bad that has happened is part of your story, but it should be part of your history, not your present or your future. Imagine you are packing a suitcase for a trip to sunny Mexico. Oh no, not another analogy to luggage? I am a flight attendant and it’s what I know, but stay with me and you might get something good out of this. You know that you will need flip flops and a swimsuit for Mexico. But let’s imagine that last year you went on a ski vacation and forgot to unpack. Your suitcase is filled with heavy winter clothes. There are sweaters and boots and scarves. Do you need these in Mexico? Probably not. Are you going to pack your summer clothes together with the winter stuff? Of course not. Why? Because you don’t need the winter clothes where you are going. So you remove the winter clothes and leave them behind. The same is true for all the bad stuff that happens in life. Leave those things behind because you don’t need to carry them around. They are heavy and unnecessary.
It took me a long time to figure out that happiness was a choice I could make. For years, I felt that happiness was the result of a goal, like I will be happy when I fall in love, or I will be happy when I get a new job or buy a house or have children. Sure, all those things have brought me great joy, but they are not the source of my joy. The source of my joy is my choice to be happy regardless of the circumstances of my life and because that joy comes from within, no one can ever steal my joy.
I wish you a year of happiness. May you enjoy every single day of 2016.
Author: Deb Bucy
Deb Bucy is a flight attendant, artist, humorist and lay speaker for the Methodist church. She likes to share her outlook on life and problem solving skills with humor and biblical insights in a way that relates to the secular world.
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