You’ve heard it before: “Happiness is a choice.” If you’ve ever been unhappy before, which let’s face it, who hasn’t?, then you know you can’t just simply decide to be happy. That’s because happiness is not just one simple choice, but rather a bunch of little choices combined that actually address the reasons you are feeling unhappy. In order to truly be happy you need to:
1) Choose not to compare yourself to others
Whoever said “comparison is the chief of joy” truly got it right. After all, how can you be happy if you’re always thinking of how you fall short compared to someone else. Truth is someone is always going to skinnier than you, smarter than you, more athletic than you, or closer to society’s standards of “pretty.” In a world obsessed with social media where everyone is always trying to be at the best, it’s easy to forget that your “behind the scenes” are not going to be the same as someone’s “highlight reel.” When you forget this, you’ll become even more unhappy with yourself and your life. The more time you spend comparing yourself to others though is more time you wasting being unhappy. Once you stop constantly comparing yourself, you’ll have an easier time accepting yourself which leads me to choice number 2
2) Choose to accept yourself
You’re never going to be happy with your life if you don’t accept the most important part about it: yourself. You are God’s creation and He made you exactly how He wanted you to be. You are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139: 14) and “you are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you” (Song of Solomon 4:7). If there’s something you don’t like about yourself, whether it be the size of your thighs or how you laugh, realize that those things are the things that make you YOU. The sooner you accept this, the happier you will be.
3) Choose to find the good in others
It’s hard to be happy when you’re constantly hating on other people. Most of the time when we judge others, we’re really just trying to make ourselves feel better. However, this never works because no matter how many bad things you say about someone, it doesn’t make you any better or any happier. Not only are you a beautiful and wonderful creation of God, but so is everyone else. Next time you find yourself criticizing someone else, think about one thing that you like or admire about them. Hopefully you’ll form a habit by doing this to only see the good.
4) Choose to be happy for others
Jealousy is an ugly thing and it can lead to a lot of unhappiness. The best way to get rid of the jealous feeling is not to try and “1 up” someone, but rather just to be happy for them. Be happy for your friend when they get the new boyfriend/girlfriend, be happy for your co-worker who gets the promotion, be happy for your friend who finally loses the weight they were trying to lose. Everyone, not just you, deserves happiness and everyone wants to be happy. While it can be extremely hard to not want what someone else has, you’ll be a lot happier in the end if you are.
5) Choose to find the good in everything
If there’s something in your life that you don’t like, there’s a reason you’re still continuing to do it. Focus on that reason and develop a love from that. If you can’t find a good enough reason why you’re still doing it, then change it. Don’t like your job? Think about the good aspects about it: you’re making money; you’re gaining experience; you’re making connections; you’re making someone else’s life a little easier. If these reasons aren’t enough then quit and find a new one.
While it can be easy to become stuck in a rut of unhappiness and feel like nothing ever goes your way, one thing that can go your way is making these choices to become happier. It may not happen instantly, but with more time you will begin to become happy.