Happiness is a Choice – Wise words from Liz Mullinar.
On my 70th birthday I announced to my assembled friends that I intended to devote the next 10 years of my life to being “happy”. With time running out, I said I want to make sure the latter years of my life are full of joy and happiness as much as possible.
It is so easy to put off until tomorrow what I really should and could do today.
After all, as a survivor of child abuse my default mechanism used to be one of anxiety and fear (necessary self protection as a child). So now optimizing my happiness is of huge importance to me.
So what do I do to try to achieve my goal?
Very simple – each morning as I lie in bed I review my day. Then if there is anything to which I feel a negative gut reaction, I stop and think “why am I dong this if I don’t want to?”
If my reaction is because I have to, then I ask myself “why do I have to??” If the reason I have to is to achieve something that will make me happy then I include it in my day. If I cannot find a good rationale for going through with the action then I don’t do it. That may sound too simplistic, however what it makes me do is ensure I am really aware of how I am spending my time and if I have chosen to do the task then it removes the “because I have to” from my vocabulary.
You may respond with “ I have to clean the house”, “I have to take the children to school”. Let me respond. I don’t have to clean the house. I can leave it dirty. What will be the consequences?? Will I like it if the house is dirty? If the answer is no then I clean the house, not because I have to but because I want to – I want to have a clean house. It changes my perception of the task.
I find it works wonderfully well.
I run a very busy charity and it is easy to become overwhelmed with my work and with the things I am supposed to be doing, especially as we have so little money and so many people in need of help.
However by letting myself choose what I want to do, I feel in control and I have no excuse for not being happy. I no longer feel overwhelmed, even though I am doing and achieving far more than I was when I was just being busy without the choice.
Try it. Make the decision. Your life is your choice and how much you enjoy life is entirely your choice too.
Written by Liz Mullinar AM. Founder and CEO of the Heal For Life Foundation.
Heal For Life runs residential healing programs for survivors of childhood trauma and abuse of all ages in the Hunter Valley, The Philippines and England.