Being happy is not as simple as shutting up and smiling.
Being happy requires you to fix, remove or resolve the areas of negativity in your life. Being happy requires you to deal with the shit in your day-to-day. Being happy means being honest with yourself about what is serving you and what is clearly not serving you.
It means finally admitting you need help with your finances and to quit avoiding making an appointment with a financial advisor. It is understanding that it is never too late to start bettering yourself, so you no longer keep avoiding your growing debt. It is about admitting to yourself that your ego is not serving you and booking time with a financial specialist.
Being happy requires you to be merciless about what makes you happy and to protect it at any cost. Being happy requires you to be ‘mean’ to others, or what you might perceive as being mean to others. Being happy requires you to say ‘no’ to others, a lot.
It means telling your mother-in-law, who is constantly interfering with your relationship to back off. It requires you being uncomfortable and calling out your mother-in-law’s toxic behaviour and letting her know what will and will not be accepted from here on out.
It means not doing your colleagues work for them and complaining about it later. It means having the self-respect to tell your colleague to carry their own weight and that you will not continue to carry their load for them.
Being happy means facing your unhappiness head-on and telling it f right off.
Being happy requires you to be ruthless with your time. Being happy requires you to be harsh with who you spend your time with.
You will have to scrutinize who and what you spend your time doing and ask yourself the harsh question of whether or not it is bettering your life or limiting it. Is seeing your girlfriends every Friday night after work for drinks and to bitch about work healthy or harmful? Perhaps it is healthy, but you might want to ask yourself if the frequency is too high. Maybe a work-related vent session once a month, versus once a week is a healthier amount of time to spend gossiping and judging those you work with.
Being happy requires you to be ruthless with yourself and severely harsh. Being happy requires you to be honest with where you are being lazy in life and demands that you do something positive about it today.
It forces you to assess the habits, traits and practices which are serving you and the ones which are stagnating you. It forces you to admit that eating takeout every time you have a bad day is not helpful. It makes you admit that you have gained more than the freshman fifteen and are not living a healthy lifestyle. It means looking at your life and seeing how you are letting yourself down and making a plan to get out of your own way.
Being happy is not this effortless stroll into a relaxing environment. Being happy is an extreme sport and you have to train and build up your resilience in order to thrive in this new environment.
It means not going out for drinks on a Thursday night when you know it will make you snooze through morning yoga on Friday. It means drinking the smoothie you premade for breakfast instead of buying a breakfast sandwich for the third day in a row. It means cleaning up your house over the weekend instead of watching television all day and vowing to clean later in the week. It means parenting yourself when you know you are acting childish.
Being happy does not mean that you are not faced with problems, stress, setbacks and challenges each and every day, but rather how you perceive, react, handle, and are influenced by them is what changes. Externally, everything could look exactly the same and you could still be infinitely happier than you were a day, week or month ago because all of the changes required are internal.
It is about not making each and every day a drama-filled, hot mess of a situation. It is about not reacting to every bad thing that happens to you and allowing it to derail your entire day. It means that shitty stuff still happens, but you no longer allow it to dictate your day. It means that no matter what is thrown your way, you are composed and confident enough to carry on through the chaos.
Think of your happiness like a garden. A good garden is a thing of beauty, but anyone who knows a thing about gardening knows that gardening is hard work. Gardening requires a lot of tough, back-breaking labour, protecting your plants, showering them with love and pulling out vile weeds and scaring rodents who are trying to overtake your efforts. Gardening requires hours and hours of work for the rewards to be reaped. Gardening requires daily effort; you cannot ignore your garden for a week and then wonder why it has become a desolate, weed-infested, dry mess. A garden is a daily commitment, forget to water it for a day and you may lose weeks or months of effort in one stroke.
Happiness is very much like gardening. Being happy is a commitment you must make each and every day with yourself, and you have to act in accordance to the commitment you have made to yourself. Sure, you may fail sometimes and some days will be tougher than others, but it is doable. You are able to live a fulfilling, happy, joyful life without changing anything except your mindset.