‘You make me so happy.’ ‘You make me so angry!’ ‘You make me so sad.’
Who owns your happiness? If it’s up to someone else to change, do things differently or speak to you differently, then they own your happiness. You give them the power to make you happy or sad.
Let’s take a movie as an example. Say it’s a psychological thriller. One person may find it intriguing, another person may find it scary and yet another person may find boring and unrealistic. Which one is right? Life is very much the same.
While one person is really sad and remains depressed for years when their partner cheats on them, another person builds themselves up and moves on to a better, happier relationship.
How we feel, is not determined by anyone outside ourselves. We give meaning to whatever is happening in our lives. The meaning we assign is determined by our past experiences and beliefs. If we go through a really challenging time and believe that we will never be happy again, then when an opportunity for happiness comes along, we will ignore it or worse still, not even see it.
So take a moment and reflect on who’s pushing your buttons. Whose words or actions make you feel sad, angry, frustrated, fearful or guilty? Is it your partner, your boss, your friends, a co-worker, your mother-in-law or even your children? Do you want to take your power back and own your happiness?
Dr Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, found that even in the midst of a concentration camp during the war, the soldiers were not able to control his thoughts. His thoughts could take him out of the concentration camp and anywhere he chose to focus his mind.
If Dr Frankl was able to take charge of his thoughts in such dire circumstances, as he watched his family being brutally murdered, do you think you too can take charge of how you think and the meaning you assign to your life circumstances? Can you start with wherever you are, whether it’s a daily struggle or simply a life of mediocrity? Can you make the decision that no one controls your thoughts, but you; so you might as well start choosing them well.
The average human being has 60, 000 to 70, 000 thoughts a day. Ninety percent of those thoughts are the same thoughts we’ve had yesterday and the day before.
We are moving through life on autopilot. If you make the decision to live more consciously, you first start observing your own thoughts. Stop yourself several times in the day and be aware of what you were just thinking. Are they mostly positive or mostly negative? Are they aligned with what you want for your life or are they focused on what’s wrong in your life? Can we choose a few new thoughts and begin to deliberately insert them?
I’m not an advocator of simple positive thinking. When you choose a new thought, you also have to feel the emotion behind it. The emotion creates a new frequency.
This allows you to reprogram your mind and creates new neural pathways in your brain. An affirmation is a statement that is short, positive and in the present tense.
If you started repeating the words, ‘I own my happiness!’, and couple it with a feeling of power and ownership, you will begin to create these new neural pathways.
As you keep repeating the statement and feeling the emotion, you will hard wire the belief. Then you will notice that you will be less reactive to the words and actions of others.
You will automatically begin to feel happier and choose to spend more of your time and energy on the things that actually make you happy. You will realise that being happy is up to you and not in the hands of people who don’t have your best interests at heart.
Can you make the decision today, right now, in this moment to own your happiness? Create the life you desire instead of merely reacting to what life throws you. Other people are here to share your life, make it more interesting and contribute to your growth; but only you are in charge of your own happiness. How much happiness can you stand?
Kas Naidoo is a life coach, matchmaker and the founder of the Quantum Tribe.