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The Happiness Connection  

Who's in control? You? Life?

Is life happening to you, or is life happening for you?

There’s an important distinction between these two phrases, although only one word has been changed.

One leads you to believe you’re helpless, while the other is empowering.

Thinking life happens to you, is like seeing yourself as a pawn in a game where you have no control. Feeling happy or sad is forced on you by circumstance and the choices of others.

With this belief, you’re likely to spend time in victim energy.

This is when you feel powerless to do anything to change how you feel about yourself or your life. It’s as if people are doing things to deliberately hurt you.

Feeling victimized, or powerless is common.

You blame others, the world, or bad luck for your lot in life. How you feel isn’t your fault.

This may seem like an easy way to live because nothing’s your responsibility. Other people make you mad, hurt your feelings, and do things to upset you.

It may be simple to relinquish accountability, but it’s unlikely to provide long-term happiness.

If you were raised by someone who lived this way, you probably unconsciously developed this type of limiting belief.

Empowerment comes from understanding and knowing that your life belongs to you, and you always have choices. You’re never a rudderless boat being battered by the relentless world around you.

When you believe life happens for you, you see everything that goes on in your world as a positive opportunity of some sort.

It may be difficult to find the gift, but you believe it will reveal itself at some point if you keep looking for it.

Other people don’t make you happy or unhappy. Sure, they can trigger your emotions, but you get to decide whether to embrace how you feel, or let it go and move forward.

This is why I recommend that you learn to use your heart to guide your actions. Rather than reacting to events, pause and then feel into what’s best for you.

You aren’t here to direct anyone else’s journey. Remember to focus on you, not the person who’s upsetting you. Find a perspective that empowers you and trust everything is serving you, and them, in some way.

If you hold resentment, blame, or anger toward other people, circumstances, or situations, then you have the opportunity to begin today, seeing your life in a whole new light.

  • Choose to believe that life happens for you. There are wondrous opportunities to learn about yourself and to take responsibility for all your emotions, even the negative ones. Someone may trigger your anger, but they aren’t making you angry. You get to choose which feelings you want to surround yourself with.
  • Learning and growing aren’t always the easiest options. Uncovering old hurts and resentments are going to crack you open, but until you do that, you may struggle to step fully into your power. If the cuts are deep, work with a professional to help you.
  • You don’t’ need to understand why you feel the way you do. Choose the experience you want to have and release anything that doesn’t support that. If you can’t move on without a level of understanding, then as I said above, find someone to assist you.
  • Trust that everything that happens serves you in some way, even if you can’t immediately figure out what that is.
  • Take responsibility for your actions and your emotions. No one is out there trying to make you miserable. They may be thinking about their own happiness, but more often than not, you aren’t part of their choices or decisions.
  • See interactions as a dance with steps you may not know. What another person does or says is part of their pattern, not part of yours, although it may affect how you move. Your movements are yours to choose and be responsible for.
  • Stop blaming or taking credit for things that happen outside your own personal journey. Focus on your world, not on other peoples’.

Everything that touches you is for your benefit. That applies to the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Becoming suicidally depressed was a horrible time in my life. But without that experience, I doubt I would have realized just how important practising happiness is.

I would have preferred my 30-year marriage to have made it to 50 years, but it didn’t. I trust there is a purpose for that. I’m confident our decision was a good one for both of us.

If you want to increase your happiness, a good starting point is to examine your beliefs about the world and the power you hold.

Work toward being your own hero or heroine. Only you can make yourself truly happy.



More The Happiness Connection articles

About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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