The Courage to be Happy

“You must choose between your attachments and happiness.”

-Adyashanti-

What does this mean? To choose between the things you desire and happiness? It means that we must choose between what we expected life to be and what it actually is, in reality. Are we willing to be grateful for what we already have right in front of us? Or will we spend our life resentful and depressed because life didn’t meet our demands?

If we are ever to tangibly achieve any of our deepest whispered callings, we will have to stop complaining and whining about injustices long enough to take personal responsibility for making our vision a reality! We have to wake up from the coma we have induced upon ourselves, so that we can once again see the beauty of life swirling all around us.

Everyone struggles. Even the supposedly blessed people’s lives we covet face struggles and responsibilities that no one has any idea about. Because the higher up you climb, the more your burdens multiply. Success does not exist in a vacuum. It requires patience, consistency, and a willingness to actually live and engage with the present, in the now. It requires years of sweat and tears to truly accomplish something.

“Just because our past was filled with suffering, does not mean that the rest of our life has to be.”

And most importantly, happiness is almost entirely about perspective. Too many of us are comfortable being miserable. It is our default zone, because it is often, all we have ever known. Therefore any time something good is about to happen, we find ourselves unable to enjoy it. Why? Because we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. Because we gauge our happiness upon whether or not our expectations have been met. But if we continue to base happiness on whether life goes our way, or if we have certain material possessions, or whether someone else likes us, or whether we have attained a certain level in life, we will never find happiness.

Just because our past was filled with suffering, does not mean that the rest of our life has to be. Just because life isn’t what we demand it is supposed to be, doesn’t mean that its not good. Are we willing to have the courage to face the possibility of hope? Are we willing to let go of our default complaints? Are we are willing to put our demands on the alter of sacrifice? It is entirely possible to just simply hit the reset button and start over. You don’t have to base your life on the naive expectations of who you were as a child. It’s time to grow up. It’s time to just be. Because just as real as the thorns are, so too are the roses! It’s up to you which ones you will choose to spend your life fixated on.

Happiness exists right now. It is found in appreciate for what already is: your family, your friends, a sunny day, a rainstorm, a good book, the process of learning, the challenge of the chase, the struggles of lifting the weights. Because the joy of life isn’t found so much in momentary and fleeting destinations, but rather, in the years it takes to get to them… the joy is in the journey! And regardless of circumstance, of expectation, beauty and love are still all around you. And if they are not, then make it that way! No one but you-yourself can allow happiness to be taken from you.

Shayne Mason Vincent, MSW
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