Listening to individuals pontificate regarding their pursuit of happiness, you would believe they were searching for some magical unicorn—never spotted, just an object of lore. These people are always looking for a relationship, job, hobby, etc., they believe will lead to happiness and a quintessential existence in never-never land. Wake up! The alarm clock is sounding.
There is only one person responsible for your happiness: You
Therefore, you have the ability to choose happy or unhappy. Unfortunately, many people make the decision to be unhappy. If you’re one of those individuals, today is your lucky day; I’m going to provide you with the steps necessary for growth.
Step 1: Recognize and accept the fact you and you alone are in charge of your happiness. This step is paramount in the process. If you do not fully adhere to this belief, you are wasting your time reading any further.
Step 2: Stop continually thinking of yourself. Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to ponder your wants and desires, and to express those needs to others. But if you never contemplate the happiness of family members, your partner, friends, or even strangers (hint, hint, charity), you need to correct this situation immediately.
Step 3: Learn to be satisfied with what you have. You don’t need more “stuff” to make you happy. Show appreciation for the wonderful individuals in your life and the material possessions you are fortunate enough to have acquired. There are numerous people in the world that will go without basic necessities today. Keep that in mind.
Step 4: Quit attempting to control every situation. There are some circumstances you can change/alter and some you cannot. Become proficient at discerning the difference. In the words of Epictetus (circa 50-130), “Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle. Some things are within your control. And some things are not.” And while we’re at it, stop searching for perfection. Just like the unicorn, perfection is a myth.
Step 5: Evaluate your associations and disconnect from anyone who is not healthy for you. It’s better to have a few close friends than a gaggle that bring nothing but drama and pain. This also applies to intimate relationships; however, when a marriage is at stake, you should always seek assistance from a qualified professional.
So, now you have unearthed the secret in the garden of happiness. Simple, right? Well … simple yes, but easy, no. Like any gardener worth their seeds would tell you: A garden requires frequent maintenance. You have to water. You have to weed. You have to nourish. And you’ll have to perform the same type of work. Nothing of value comes without a cost. What price are you willing to pay for your happiness?