“Happiness is a matter of decision.” “Happiness is your choice.” “Do you want to be happy? Be.”
You must have come across quotes like this many times. Sounds simple. If you want to be happy (and who doesn’t?), just be! Just like that. Decide. Choose happiness.
Is that really so?
In seeking of happiness, have we forgotten to simply choose it? Could it be that simple?
WHY AREN’T WE HAPPY?
Before we answer that question, we need to first address what makes us unhappy.
What is it in your life that makes you unhappy, or prevents you from being happy? Could you name it? Could you write it down?
Now, based on your answer, I would usually ask you a series of additional questions, if you came to me for individual coaching, to dig deeper and adress reasons of your dissatisfaction.
But since this is not possible, I’m going to ask you now to look at the answer you wrote and then answer the following questions:
How much of that what you stated is in your hands?
And the second question, what specifically did you do about it?
The main reason we aren’t happy is when certain segments of our life are not in line with what we want. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
In coaching, people often quickly come to the point that they are much happier and more satisfied, even though at that point in time they haven’t achieved yet what they wanted.
How come they are happy then? Because they began doing something about it. They started moving towards the desired outcome. That’s powerful!
WHAT COULD WE DO TO BE HAPPY?
This question imposes assumption that something needs to be done to be happy, which is why some of you might think, “Do I need to do something to be happy? Isn’t happiness inside of me?” (You’ve read that somewhere, haven’t you?)
What do you think?
Do you need to do something? If you believe you don’t, and if happiness is inside of you, then how come you aren’t already happy?
The reason in coaching people soon become happier is because they have taken action related to their goals. Now let’s go back to those previous two questions.
What part of the obstacle is in your hands? When you realize how much space you have to do something, it encourages you to take action. The second question is what have you done about it so far?
Most often the answer I get is not much, or sometimes nothing, and sometimes people have taken some actions, but they’ve been more concerned with what’s out their control (and that rarely goes well) than what is and what they can actually do.
COULD HAPPINESS BE A MATTER OF DECISION?
Could happiness be then a matter of decision? The answer is only indirectly.
Happiness is indirectly, or to be more precise, consequently a matter of decision – that is, it comes as a consequence of many decisions you have made.
If you have decided to do nothing to change the situation you are not satisfied with, and at the same time that same situation doesn’t suit you and you cannot accept it, you will hardly be happy. You can decide as much as you want that you are going to be happy, but these previous decisions will not allow you to feel that way.
If you have decided to change what is not in your hands to be happy (e.g. some circumstance over which you have no influence, or other people), you will also hardly be happy because your effort will not give the desired result.
But if you’ve honestly written about what an obstacle to you is, faced it, and then become aware of what it is that you can do, then your choice to do something is your way to happiness. You will already feel better by doing something.
In order to be happy, it is not necessary to achieve the goal. Just take the first step to move closer to it.
We often delude ourselves that the fulfillment of a desire will make us happy. But how many desires have already come true in your life? How much have you already accomplished, what you once desired, and how long has it kept you happy?
HAPPINESS – JOURNEY OR DESTINATION?
Is happiness then a journey or a destination? It’s easy for us to be deceived that it is a destination. It’s easy to think “I’ll be happy when …”, but it’s not like that. And we know it well.
How come is it easy to think that way then? Why do so many get stuck there? Because that’s the point where they don’t have to do anything. They don’t have to change anything. They can simply blame someone or something outside of them for their lack of happiness.
But no matter how justified such thoughts may seem to you, they will certainly not bring you one step closer to your own happiness. You will have to face yourself.
A cumulation of decisions you’ve made in the past have brought you to your current point in life.
While life somehow always manages to surprise us with something (we would probably be too bored if it weren’t so), there’s still a lot in our hands.
The way we interpret circumstances, events, people’s behavior towards us… And what we do about it is always up to us. Fully. When we become aware of these choices, it is much easier to make a decision that will lead us in the desired direction.
And then arriving at the destination is no longer a “must be”; it is not a condition for being happy. Just a journey in which you grow, learn and improve yourself, being aware that the steering wheel is in your hands … Yes, we can really relate happiness more to the journey and the way we go throug it to the destination, than to the destination solely.
HAPPINESS – HERE AND NOW?
Could we then, after having done the steps mentioned earlier, be happy here and now? What do you say? Or you don’t need any of that, you can just decide “I’m happy. And that’s it!” Or none of the above?
Instead of seeking happiness, if we direct our energy and time into something that makes sense, that we know is good, useful for us and others, if we are not guided by superficial pleasures, but by true values, if we make thoughtful decisions that are consistent with what is important to us and what we are building or want to build in our life, then the feeling of happiness that accompanies us is a consequence of our choices. Then happiness accompanies us on our path.
Happiness is by no means a matter of decision. Happiness is the result of a series of decisions we make every day.
Let’s strive to bring those decisions in line with our own values, let’s strive to ensure that they are interconnected by a deeper meaning, and stop seeking happiness from the outside.
Then we won’t need a decision to be happy. Then we will simply be – happy.
Want improvement but don’t know how? Sign up for a free consultation and become my private coaching client. More about how coaching could help you, read in my interview with The Coaching Academy here.