4 SIMPLE RULES FOR A HAPPY LIFE

Most people I know want to be happy. I say most because there some who are really miserable and seem content remaining that way. They resist every opportunity for joy and find excuses to stay stuck in their gloom. Although I believe that deep down inside every human being desires happiness, I also believe that some feel they are either undeserving or that it is unattainable for them. Some wallow in self-pity keeping them trapped in their own unhappiness. They become so comfortable in their ways of thinking and living that although it may be painful for them it is all they know. It’s like poverty: some accept that there is no way out and resign themselves to their dismal fate.

Happiness is our Divine right; it is our natural state of being. We were not created nor intended to suffer. While brief moments of sadness enter everyone’s lives, misery is self imposed. It is the direct result of a prolonged obsession with what is not right in our lives or not working according to our beliefs and desires. We focus on what is lacking rather than what we have, what we can be grateful for, and what is going smoothly and according to our plans.

Being happy is not complicated nor difficult. Follow these four simple guidelines and watch your happiness index soar!

1. Remove all expectations. In doing so, you will avoid disappointment and anger.

We all have certain expectations in life. We presume that people will behave appropriately according to our standards; that life should be fair; that if one works hard they will achieve their goals; if you treat others with respect it will be reciprocated and so on. While expectations are normal, the more we impose them on others, ourselves and the world, the more we set ourselves up to be disappointed. And disappointment easily converts to hurt, frustration, and/or anger. Very often what we are seeking from others is unrealistic or unfair. We trust that as our children mature they will hold on to the beliefs we instilled in them when they were younger. Those who rebel against them let us down and we become fearful that their lives will be substandard, as the foundation we laid for them appears to have been weakened. We may also experience pain that their rejection of our parenting and values is a poor reflection on us. Many families have experienced tension based on a child’s perceived disloyal choices.

We also believe that the adult population should be reliable and when they fall short, we are hurt and disillusioned. A person’s trustworthiness is dependent upon many factors: their level of maturity, the nature of their relationship with you, the nature of the issue at hand, changing circumstances beyond their control, and other factors. Not interested in their excuses or valid reasons, we judge them as deceitful and become angry with them.

However, much of what we are seeking is simply out of alignment with reality. We ask far too much of ourselves, others and even of the world in general. Re examining our expectations, removing those that are unfair, lessening others to a more realistic level or eliminating them altogether will greatly decrease the stress in our lives and allow for happiness to evolve.

2. Accept life and others as is.

We all know that we are not intended to change anyone, nor is it actually possible as we all have free will to make our own decisions in life. However, even those with good intentions subconsciously attempt to manipulate others into being something or someone other than who they are or to convince them to change their ways and behave in a manner more acceptable to us. Those who are confident with themselves or who may be just plain stubborn will not comply, leaving one feeling helpless and disheartened. Reminding oneself that it is not our responsibility to change anyone but to simply accept them as they are, we can experience greater peace and happiness. This acceptance, however, does not imply that we must maintain a relationship with those whose lifestyles pose harm to us in some way.

It’s also crucial to allow life to unfold naturally. Humans, generally speaking, want to control their lives, what happens and when, and the course it takes. However, control is an illusion (with the exception of controlling that which is internal: our thoughts, feelings, and ultimately our [external] choices). There are an infinite number of factors that influence the direction our lives will take and what does and doesn’t occur. Rather than try to force life to conform to our dictates, allow it to be what it is. Go with the flow. Make your decisions but be more willing to accept what occurs, embrace that which works and release that which doesn’t. You will have far less angst in your life if you can do this.
3. Release what doesn’t work for you and move on.

Life doesn’t always comply with our demands. We don’t always realize the precise outcome we were hoping for. Some of what occurs in life does not appear to be beneficial for us as well. If we are unable to make the necessary changes we are seeking, simply release the situation or event without anger or judgment and move on. Putting forth effort to force into existence that which may not be meant to be is both exhausting and oftentimes futile. Letting go of a car which has proven to be a lemon is easier than continually investing time, effort, and money into repairing something that has limited value.

This applies to people as well. Sometimes we hold on to relationships long after their usefulness has expired. I’m certainly not suggesting that we use people for our own benefit, then discard them when they no longer serve a purpose. What I am recommending is that some relationships are toxic, others are not meant to last a lifetime, others only enter our lives only for a specific purpose and must then leave. I value people and my relationships with them above most everything else in life. However, it is imperative that we graciously release back to God those which are negative, draining, dangerous, or currently hopeless. It’s like cleaning out our closets: when we let go of what no longer fits, we are free to invite healthier, more suitable people into our circle of acquaintances.

4. Refrain from trying to change anything or anyone other than yourself.

People expend enormous amounts of time, energy, and resources trying to fix, save, improve or completely overhaul others. To believe we have the right or the responsibility to change anyone is arrogant and self-righteous. Every human being has a God-given right to be who they are and to live life to the best of their abilities; to learn what they need to learn in their own time frame and way; to make their own mistakes without fear of ridicule or condemnation; to be accepted, valued, and loved exactly as they are.

Generally speaking, people try to change others from a place of concern for the other’s well-being. We see someone making foolish or dangerous mistakes and we want to protect them, to spare them any unnecessary harm or suffering. We try to impose our methods or beliefs on them. However, one size does not fit all. What works for one may not be suitable for the other. And by interfering, we may rob that person of exactly what they need to experience for the fulfillment of their Divine Purpose.

The message we send others when trying to change them is that they are not ok nor good enough the way they are. However, in our greatness we will fix that, correct any flaws and make dramatic improvements to who they are and the quality of their lives. And of course, once the transformation has been completed, the renovated one will forever sing our praises for our selfless actions, she said facetiously.

Still, there are some who try to change others purely for selfish reasons. It might make life easier or more enjoyable for the one imposing the change if the other were improved upon, i.e. made different. Or perhaps it is to gain a sense of power and dominance over the other. It may also be to try and make oneself appear to be a caring and intelligent person, raising their status above the other, making themselves appear superior to the one who is flawed.

However, each one of us is born with intellect (the ability to think and rationalize) and free will (the ability to make our own decisions). Therefore, while it may appear that we have caused a change in the other party, in truth it is a personal choice made of their own volition. We had no power over them at all. Time spent trying to improve others would best be served working on improving oneself. We have more than enough imperfections in need of correcting and we are the only ones responsible for doing so. Therefore, work exclusively on the self and offer your own transformation as inspiration to others to follow that will ultimately suit their own agenda.

One of my favorite quotes is from the Dalai Lama: “Every single being, even those who are hostile to us, is just as afraid of suffering as we are and seeks happiness in the same way we do. Every person has the same right as we do to be happy and not to suffer. So let us take care of others wholeheartedly of both our friends and our enemies. This is the basis for true compassion.”

To recap: Four Simple Rules For A Happy Life:
1. Remove all expectations.
2. Accept life and others as is.
3. Release what doesn’t work for you and move on.
4. Refrain from trying to change anything or anyone other than yourself.

When you have accomplished this you will find lasting happiness and inner peace.

Q: Acceptance of those things which we cannot or should not change allow us to live in peace and harmony.

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