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Are Your Words Stealing Your Happiness? By Cheryl Hightower Marchio
You can fix that right now!


I often hear people say "I'd be happier if only (insert situation)."  I will give you some common examples.

If the weather were better.
If I had more money.
If my spouse acted differently.
If I had a spouse.
If I lost weight.
If I lived somewhere else.
If I had a different job.
If I didn't have to work.
If the Government did things differently.
If my back didn't hurt.

When you really pay attention you can begin to recognize how often throughout the day you will state what your life is lacking.  Sometimes these statements are in your head and sometimes they are spoken out loud.  The more often you repeat these statements, the stronger your belief becomes.

You may have heard the saying "you have to be what you want".  This means that if you want more happiness, then you have to be happy.  This feels confusing for a lot people.  Many of us are backwards in our thinking by believing when these things show up we will be happy.  So if that is what you believe, how do you change your mind so you can be happy now?

My recommendation is this... hear me out, decide to give it a try because you've got nothing to lose and then decide for yourself whether or not you'd like to continue changing your thoughts.

The concept is so simple, yet the practice will take effort.  It will be up to you whether or not you decide to send your efforts in this direction.  However, I can promise you this. If you truly desire to feel happy more often than not and make a conscious effort to do so on a daily basis it will get easier to be happy.  Happiness will become a habit for you.

Habits take effort to change.  If you are someone who is unhappy more of the time than not, you are in the habit of being unhappy.  No matter how badly you want a habit to be different than what it is, there can be a great deal of discomfort that goes along with creating new habits.  Even though it seems logical that someone would prefer to be happy, if that someone is normally unhappy, then happiness is outside of their comfort zone.

So now what?

1)  Make your decision to be happy
2)  Create a new habit of happiness

First, we will  look at what it takes to make the decision.  You are going to have to be very honest with yourself.  This may be a little uncomfortable if it is not something you are used to doing.  You are going to have to acknowledge yourself as an active role in your life.  You are going to take a short inventory of how much focus you direct towards making changes in your own life vs. how much focus you direct towards all the other people and situations that need to change.
 
I say a 'short inventory' because we don't want to spend too much time analyzing what feels wrong.  We only want to check in with ourselves so that we can know where to begin.  If you find out that you are waiting for other people or circumstances to be a 'certain way' before you can have the life you desire, then I suggest you begin the following practice A.S.A.P.

Go ahead and pause here to take your inventory.

Did you catch yourself saying words like...things would be better if...

I had more money
My boss treated me better
My co-workers weren't so disruptive
My spouse were more helpful
If I could exercise
If my family treated me better
If my friends were more giving of their time
 
These are only a few examples of the mind chatter that people listen to on a day to day basis.  That chatter often moves from the mind to the tongue and our daily conversation begins to revolve around the details of this chatter.

No matter what it is that you have found out about yourself, you can feel a sense of accomplishment.  Even if the case is that
you have been putting more focus on what "others need to do", you have taken the time to take an honest look.  You are now ready to take responsibility for your own happiness.  Just allowing yourself to see your own truth is the first step so you are already on you way!  Congratulations!
 
Now you have an opportunity to begin creating a new habit of happiness. If you have been putting your "happiness responsibility" on other people or situations, you are very brave for having the courage to admit this to yourself!

Now that you have identified where you are allowing outside circumstances to define your happiness, you can begin to make adjustments.  You are about to take an incredibly empowering step.  When you decide that you will own your happiness regardless of the behavior of others, you are in charge!  It is your responsibility to do with as you see fit.  You no longer leave something as important as your happiness in the hands of others.  Shouldn't your happiness be your choice?  Who knows better than you what makes you happy so shouldn't you be in charge of your own life's happiness?

So how do you begin to break the old habit and start creating your new habit?

You are going to paying very close attention to your words.  Before you begin to speak, I want you to pause for a moment.  If what you are about to say has ANYTHING to do with something in your life not "being right' because of an outside person or situation then stop yourself from saying it out loud. You will probably still be thinking it and may really need to bite your tongue to keep it from coming out.  If you can't think of something else to say then just smile.  Don't say anything.  This will be a very difficult exercise for some.  Many people are not comfortable with silence or pause in a conversation or are just plain used to saying everything that comes to mind. 

 
 
If you are one of those people, this is going to take a lot of practice but I assure you it will get easier if you keep at it.  You may even be met with some resistance from people who are used to engaging in this type of conversation with you.  Be strong and give them an opportunity to get to know the new you.

If silence is too uncomfortable for you then you may want to take that moment to hand out a compliment.  It can be directed towards the person/people to whom you are speaking, about someone else or even towards yourself.  (Something you may have accomplished or are proud of).  ANY type of compliment will do.  This may feel awkward, at first, if this is also outside your comfort zone.  Take comfort in knowing you are doing a good thing for yourself.  It WILL get easier.

You may find it helpful to think about someone that you see as happy.  There's no need to compare yourself, however, you can use them as a role model.  Does that person smile a lot?   Do they seem to speak in a positive manner?  Do they avoid gossip and complaining?  Generally happy people don't use their time to discuss problems unless their focus is on the solution.  Allow the traits that you enjoy about this person to be adopted into your own life.  Along the way, your own unique display of happiness will emerge!  You may end up being a happiness role model for someone else!

Once you begin really paying attention to what you are saying, you will also become more aware of your thoughts. This is a good thing!  Your thoughts are with you 24/7, so it would make sense that you would want to redirect them to a happier place as often as possible.  Because you will have already begun speaking in a happier direction, you will already have some experience with making the shift.  You can do the same thing in your head. 
 
The moment you become aware that you are having a thought that does not serve your happiness, acknowledge it.  Then you have a decision to make.  Are you going to give it more power by continuing to think about it?  Or would you like to redirect it in an effort to contribute to your new habit of happiness?

If you choose the latter, you can use the same technique that you use in conversation.  Find something else to say to yourself.  Look for a compliment.  If you want to silence your mind, find a guided meditation that you resonate with.  You can even go to work on a solution regarding whatever it is that's on your mind. You can listen to comedy.  Take a walk.  Call someone who uplifts you.  ( Don't turn them into your sounding board, that will not serve either of you.)  Find a way to get happy.

Getting happing is the most important thing you can do for yourself and the ones you love.  Your example of happiness will spill over into their lives and everyone wins!  Your new habit will become contagious!  I invite you to start your practice right now!  Become the happiest person you know!

YOU'VE GOT THIS!!!!!!


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