5 Risky Ways to Happiness (Part 1)

You have to be willing to get happy about nothing

Andy Warhol

Happy is the NEW Normal!
It’s sad but true that, for many, being unhappy is their “normal”.

Too often people rely on outside influences to determine if and when they can be happy. Even the dictionary defines happy as, “a feeling or showing contentment; having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with the quality or standard of something”. This reinforces the notion that happiness depends on circumstances external to us.

We call this, the “I’ll be happy when … syndrome”, where unmet expectations bring about an unhappy demise.

What, then, is “Happy” and how can it become your new normal?

First, to answer those questions we have to define “Happy” in a new way. We say it is, the experiential feelings of pleasure, contentment, confidence and satisfaction. Period.

Happiness is an inside job. It’s an ongoing self-management process of choice. It’s not a final destination where you never have to do anything again to be happy.

Being in that process takes courage, commitment, self-responsibility, self love and risk!

To answer the second question — How can happy become your new normal?—we offer Five RISKY ways to get there.

Risky? Yes. There is no way around it. The price for your happiness is to enter the realm of Danger and change some of the things that you are doing.

1. Just say no!

This is for those times when you’ve found yourself saying Yes in a situation where, on the inside, you were screaming NO? How many times have you fallen into that trap? Ouch!

Happiness begins with the power of your No! It is the flip side of your full-hearted Yes! You need both to be happy.

The underlying reason for holding back your No is your need to be liked. The problem is, even though you said Yes, your entire demeanor and attitude emanate unspoken conflict and confusion.

This is not a winning formula. It begins to erode your self-worth, authenticity, confidence and – of course– your Happiness.

Truth is: When you lie to yourself and say Yes when you really mean No, you end up not liking is yourself!

The next time you are asked to do something you don’t want to do, take a deep breath and say No. You will feel a deep sense of relief followed by empowerment and happiness.

2. Stop complaining. Ask!

Buried inside every complaint is an unmade request.

And a request is a clear statement of asking for what you want.

This Way to Happiness is risky because it means you have to work on knowing what you want. Which also means you have to know what you don’t want (see Risky Way #1, above!).

Another risk when you make a request is the possibility that you will hear “NO!”. It’s probably the number one reason people do not ask for what they want.

The reason complaining leads to un-Happiness is that it is an attempt to manipulate and control without taking responsibility for anything. It mitigates around the wanted outcome with the result of cloudy, fuzzy communication, random action and yucky feelings!

Making a request for something will leave you with a clear Yes, No, or the opportunity to negotiate the difference. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be NO!

When you stop complaining and ask for what you want you’ll know what your options are, you’ll feel more empowered, you’ll be ready to choose, and ultimately you’ll be happier.

3. Appreciate. Appreciate. Appreciate.

So …You did the hard thing and said No instead of yes…

…You asked and you negotiated for what you wanted…

…and things still aren’t going the way you would like them to go!

You are unhappy with things and you feel stuck with the circumstances that surround you.

So what! You haven’t shifted your energy enough! Keep going!

Happiness is an inside job and is always available to you when you know where to look.

Risk believing that no matter what the situation there is always an opportunity to find things to appreciate.

By “appreciate” we mean, to raise the value and full worth of something.

For example: In a strained relationship–focus on simple things that are working. Appreciate what brought you into the relationship; how the situation is serving to have you become clearer and more empowered. At a stressful workplace—find the benefits you are getting and realize the value and worth of those things–the sense of community or the job’s role on your career path.

We want you to know that every situation has value and worth. No matter what you think is making you unhappy, the way through is to look deeply for the value you can gain from it.

Appreciation softens your hard edges. It may feel risky and vulnerable to let go of those hard edges but this is where movement toward happiness exists.

Make appreciation a daily habit right now.
I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.
— Martha Washington

More Risky Ways to Happiness in the next post!

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