There’s this thing I’ll call “real life” and it happens to all of us no matter what, we all have our ups and downs. Life is not easy for anyone and in the end its how we perceive and process the stuff happening to us that makes us happy or unhappy. So happiness generally is a choice we make to forgive, move on, process our emotions, see the challenges for their experiences and stay optimistic during the tough times.
I know this to be true because I have experienced a “real life”, I have had some really huge peaks to overcome, the most recent being the death of my husband and yet I consider myself a happy person.
I couldn’t begin to touch on why bad things happen to such amazing people. Last week I overheard a woman talking about her life, she was in a wheelchair with her nurse and she was sharing the fact that 10 years ago a son died in an accident and when her other son heard that his brother died; he was so overcome with grief that he killed himself. She lost both her sons in 24 hours. Yesterday a student of mine told me about an 80 year old man who shot himself in a nursing home, a week or so after his wife passed away.
I have heard so many reasons why things happen. It depends I guess on the religion or philosophy or belief system you hold on to. Some may say it was seeds of Karma from past lives and that you were meant to experience these events; others might say it was God testing you. Some things just seem to be bad choices, while other things seem to be random acts of pain that slam into you knocking you temporarily off balance. I guess in the end how you make sense of it is personal.
I have seen people suffer horrific events then rise above their pain to be the power of example to others, to become beacons of hope for people experiencing similar events. They seem to be light houses of hope sending out the message that you can live through this and one day happiness will be yours. I have seen people made so bitter by their life experiences that they become toxic and end up alone, unhappy, and full of anger.
I know for me I would rather be a light house of hope than a pit of resentment and despair, and yet processing and making sense of the death of loved ones, loss of job, divorce and other challenges can take time to figure out. Sometimes it’s hindsight that shows you that the loss of a job was the doorway to happiness, other times, you just learn that you are stronger than you thought you were and become a person with good character, someone who life has made them wise.
I think it takes courage to move through pain, and try to live life again, after all, if you risk again in love or life you can be hurt of fail again. For some courage is just getting out of bed in the morning for others it’s dealing with and making the changes in a difficult life. It took me all the courage I had to get out of bed the morning after my husband passed away. I wanted to stay there, and maybe never get up; truthfully in those first seconds of waking up I understood what that 80 year old man who shot himself felt like. Would life be worth living without my husband, could I go on feeling the pain of his death? These questions rose to my mind in those first seconds.
Luckily for me I have many beacons of hope in my life; I have a strong spiritual life and many close friends who have experienced miraculous changes in their life. These people are some of the happiest people I know, they seem to live in gratitude and hope.
So I would say that one of the keys to being happy is to hang around with happy wise people, another would be to experience your feelings, make sense of them and then go forward one day at a time doing the next right thing and one day you will realise that you are going to be ok, not the same as before, but a new better or perhaps stronger or wiser version of yourself. I know that more than anything I need to live, just live, one day at a time, and I know from experience that the universe has a better life planned for me but I must courageously take steps in that direction.
I believe that changing your thinking and/or perception can be the hardest thing to change as, everything we have experienced forms our present way of looking at things, so we never really come into any situation with an open mind. Past experiences lead us to judge a current situation or person as right or wrong, good or bad etc… It could be outdated ways of thinking from our childhood, old religious belief systems from years gone by, cultural or just wayward thinking such as events we never really made sense of. But all of these make up our current thought processes, so in order to change our thinking we need to dig these up and examine them. Do they make sense? Are they outdated? Was this ever the truth? Answering these and even more questions can really help you move forward in your life.
In the end happiness is and always will be our choice, the choice to let go of resentments, fear and the crazy mind talk that tells you are not good enough. Sometimes it’s the choice to follow the advice of medical professionals, sometimes is the decision to do yoga and/or meditation. But like Dorothy learned in the great movie “The Wizard of OZ” we all have the ability to go home, to that little piece of the divine that resides within each of us, the voice of which will guide us to peace.
Never ever give up hope, keep searching, keep letting go of ways of thinking that don’t serve you and one day you too will be the lighthouse of hope for someone still in the darkness.