Now is a Perfect Time to Be Happy

be happy now

Inside: Happiness is a choice for most of us, much of the time. I don’t have to wait until I lose weight, resolve all struggle in my life, or gather up 3 degrees to my name. I don’t have to wait till I’m married or divorced or until I find my dream job. I don’t need more stuff, better weather, a bigger budget or a smaller body, or to be any different from who I already am. Now is a perfect time to be happy.

While I generally think of happiness as linked to external circumstances and joy a more internal, deeply rooted thing that is less easily shaken, I’m not sure it really matters. Because I want both.

I want joy and I want to be happy. I think you want to feel happy.

And I think happiness, like joy, is mostly a choice. For most of us, much of the time.

(Sometimes we or people we love live with severe depression or other hard life circumstances and can no longer make this choice – we need compassionate community, access to quality health care and other services and support to lift us up or keep us alive. Needing help is not a reflection of worth or character – we are human in a messy world.)

I don’t always feel happy. Sometimes I feel afraid, horribly anxious, deeply depressed. I have buried people I love and walked through horrendous physical pain. I have felt awkward and messy and broken. Happiness was not on my radar in those moments. And yet.

And yet, I believe happiness is still my choice.

I see my struggle and want to continue to learn and mature. But I get to choose happiness each step of the journey.

It is my choice to believe that I am inherently worthy and deserve compassion and have small gifts to offer this broken world.

I make mistakes and sometimes wish I were different. But it is my choice to pull my brain and heart back into this present moment and decide to be happy now.

I don’t have to wait.

I don’t have to wait until I lose weight or stop struggling in life or gather up 3 degrees to my name. I don’t have to wait till I’m married or divorced or until I find my dream job.

Whether I run marathons or limp along with a cane, live in abundance or count my meagre pennies, today is a perfectly fine day to be exuberantly happy. Or quietly, solemnly happy.

I am proud of myself for living aligned with my values: for resting and rewiring the thought that I am perpetually behind. And for trying new things and jumping into adventures because this is also part of who I am. But even as I do these things I want to do, I feel inadequate or unskilled or realize I’m really just bumbling my way along, inexpertly.

I’m imperfect and life is imperfect but I decide to be happy now anyway.

 

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I’m no Pollyanna although I think my wiring is to always scan for beauty, for the good in the world and in the people I meet.

I strongly believe it is necessary, critical, to acknowledge the truth of all our pain and fear, our struggle and jealousy and anger and brokenness. To see it for what it is and break off the shame that tells us because we are imperfect therefore we are unworthy or unacceptable or not good enough. These are untruths – dangerous lies – and they should be challenged.

We can see the truth, own it, and still be happy.

Just like it’s not my job to love you, but yours, it’s not my job or anyone’s job to make you happy. It’s yours. You get to do the work. You get to learn new skills or habits or ways of rewiring the thought patterns that have circled relentlessly through your brain and heart for far too long. Ask for help as you need it, but ultimately the choice is yours.

This is part of how you can decide to live each day; make the radical decision to be happy.

We can have no idea what our future holds and be anxious about that and decide to show up curious and open, if not excited, to each new day.

We can be in the thick of a painful season of life but open ourselves up to the idea that joy and pain can coexist. That I can hate the circumstance but receive the small, bright moments of happiness that flit my way.

We can rip off the mask and tear down the facade with our own bare hands and refuse to hide or pretend anymore that we have life figured out or even feel up to the challenge.

And the strange thing is that it’s precisely when we refuse to hide that happiness begins to grow.

 

We’ve torn down the ramshackle walls that blocked our spirits from the light and now they begin to sprout and thrive.

And if we water and speak words of encouragement to ourselves, now happiness takes root and grows shoots and becomes a bushy thing that crowds out the weeds of unforgiveness and old wounds and even despair.

What we water or practice grows stronger.

But it’s also true that even when you choose to be happy or you pick up joy and wear it like a garment – life will not magically become easy. You will fall back into old patterns and need to stay on guard. You will forget that you are gifted and acceptable. Sometimes other people will attempt to heap their own shame and pain upon you. And you will need to wrestle and question and fight your way back again. All the way back to happy.

That’s ok. At least you’re fighting. You’re in the game, showing up.

Don’t wait for tomorrow. Be happy now.

Krista xo

NOW WHAT? Want to do more reading? You might like The How of Happiness or Hardwiring Happiness (as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases). I also invite you to take a look at the Happiness Bundle – three mini-courses to help you show up to life with joy and on purpose. You may also be interested in my Happiness Resource Page, a collection of articles and resources on the how of happiness.

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9 comments on “Now is a Perfect Time to Be Happy

  1. Awesome line – “today is a perfectly fine day to be exuberantly happy” Your posts always give me emotional nutrition and help me realize that I have to enjoy the ordinary and rough days and not just the days when everything lines up “perfectly” which is not the norm and most of “real life”. Thank you!

  2. Happiness is fleeting, moments of joy that surprise us. We can NOT make ourselves happy…….what we do is make ourselves content. That is a more permanent state and what we should be aiming for. Happiness in my experience is overrated…..give me contentment every time.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Positive psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky, describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.” When I change my beliefs or thoughts – my experience of the world shifts. I absolutely believe I can choose to be happy and I can choose contentment. For me, it is not an either-or equation.

  3. Thanks for all your uplifting words; you really have the gift of reaching out to others. I’m recovering from all the treatments after cancer at age 65 and don’t know who I am anymore after losing my getting saggy skin without estrogen and multiple pain issues. I’M TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHO I AM NOW AND LOOK INTO THE MIRROR AND SAY “WHO IS THIS OLD LADY?” So thanks again for your lovely words. They make me feel I’m not alone in needing to search and be joyful and accepting of myself and be less critical of others! You are performing such a wonderful service to others!

    • Thank you, Louann. One of the reasons I am so interested and compelled to challenge myself in the areas of mindset, happiness, and self-compassion, is my life-long struggle for mental health. I feel like as I reflect and write and practice I am choosing life. And I see that as my body ages even now, at 46, that this work becomes even more important – the work to find my worth and peace and even happiness in the middle of struggle or imperfection. I appreciate you sharing a bit about your journey. xo

  4. I love this post! Since I took the decision that no matter what I would enjoy my current experience – I have! Even when I was dissappointed with something or someone, or momentarily found myself blaming someone else for a misunderstanding, I realized within a couple of minutes it was completely under my own control how I felt. This is so powerful!

  5. Thank you! Such a great encouraging read. I love “ I think my wiring is always scan for beauty.” I love how you put that. I’m the same way . Always seeing the beauty . Choosing to see beauty is a choice. I haven’t always been this way . I’ve learned to fill my life with beauty and simple elegance. Something as simple as a cup of tea in a pretty tea cup with fresh flowers in a vase makes me happy. It now. Now is the perfect time to be happy!

  6. I enjoyed the encouragement I got from what you’ve written on how one can easily accomplish joy and happiness and the difference between the two. I truly believe it’s the little things that bring us the biggest joys in life. I look forward to more of your write ups.

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