September 12th, 2011
“What do you mean ‘It takes courage to be happy’?” Amelia asked her friend Marty . . . .
You need the courage to say “I am happy” each day. Really? Because only you will declare it and make it manifest in your life. I know this to be a fact. How? I have friends who merely complain about things that didn’t turn out the way they prefer. On the other hand, the most successful people I know appreciate all of the blessings in their life. We’ll use the I. A.M. process:
I – inquire
A – aim for joy
M – make space in your day
When you say, “I am”, you are programming yourself. This is important.
Your power manifests in your own choice of your programming.
Ask yourself, “Why am I happy?”
You might ask, “How does this question help?”
The reason is that without the question, many of us will fail to see what is good and enjoyable in this moment.
Ask these questions:
* Why am I happy in this moment?
* What is happiness for me?
* Why am I content?
If you’re going through a really tough time, it is hard to focus on happiness.
I can relate. When my elderly mother was in the hospital (years ago) for an extended stay, I was quite concerned. And, I was grateful that my sweetheart was there supporting me through the daily extended visits.
So try these helpful questions:
* What am I grateful about in this moment?
* What is still going well in other parts of my life?
My personal coach asked me, “Tom, why are you happy?”
I immediately replied, “Because I know who I am. And what I want. And what direction I am going in.”
You may notice that my happiness did not rest on getting any one thing at any particular time. I remember this quote:
“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I would add: “You’ll find happy moments when you’re going in the direction of your highest good. A lot of happy moments arise in the context of expressing love, creativity and contribution to humankind’s rise.”
2. Aim for joy
If you do not make enjoying your journey of life as one of your priorities, you’ll miss it.
For example, one of my friends insists that life is merely a test and happiness only exists in the afterlife. And guess what? She is the most miserable and sickliest person I know.
Researchers talk about the “self-fulfilling prophesy” and how our thoughts manifest in our moods and physical health. In fact, there are decades of research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology that support this viewpoint.
My point is that I find the people, with more energy and doing kind things and great achievements, are generally happy about what they’re doing in life.
By the way “aim for joy” does not mean you’ll avoid disappointments. In fact, when you have specific goals you may experience “more disappointments.” However, you’ll have the energy to bounce back faster. It’s worth it. Life goes up and down, and with bumpy times — and that’s better than a flat, “blaaaaah” approach to life.
3. Make space in your day
So how busy are you? Whoa! Wrong question.
How about: “What do you regret failing to place into your daily life?”
The truth is: we’re all too busy, and life slams us with demands each day.
Well, you could remain like a puppy on a raft in the middle of the ocean, buffeted around by the currents.
Or you could gain or build a motor and guide your raft forward in the direction you choose. ["Wait a minute. I'm still a puppy?" . . . a bit of humor]
My point is that everyday I make time for laughter and creativity and time with my sweetheart and friends (at least on the phone).
Since I developed these habits I have (for many years) enjoyed wonderful amounts of energy and excellent health.
When I talk about making space in your day, I’m including “writing a second draft” of something you would say to someone else [or yourself].
For example, recently, I was in the restroom [don't worry we won't stay there long.]
And I saw that a family member had left an empty toilet tissue roll.
My first thought was to say to the family member, “Apparently, you don’t remember the episode of the TV Show “Mad About You” when the Helen Hunt-character taught her husband to change the toilet paper roll.”
Now if I actually said that, what do you think I would have received? At minimum, a dirty look. Perhaps, 30 minutes of arguing.
Instead, I avoided saying any type of sarcastic remark, and the evening turned out warm and joyful.
So now, I’m asking you to pause before you say the first thought that pops up in your mind like a knee-jerk reaction. “Write a second draft” and seek to speak positive words to your friends and loved ones. That is, make space in your day for happiness.
I invite you to be courageous and declare “I am happy” and
find your daily answers to: “Why am I happy in this moment?”
You’ll be different. And you may need to keep your answers mostly private. (A number of people I have met are not happy and they do not want to hear about someone doing well. Limit your time with people like this.)
I – inquire
A – aim for joy
M – make space in your day
When you’re happy, you spread happiness.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Johanna Mac Leod is the photographer of the image with this article.)
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