I want you to imagine that your life is a book and you are the author of this book.
There is a chapter in this book called “Rules of Happiness”. Now ask yourself, what is the story you want to write in this chapter? Is there one area in your life that you are really happy about? If so… Why?
For example, you might say, “I’m really happy with my career, my body, my intimate relationship with my partner or my connection with close friends.” The reason I believe one can be happy with this area of their life is because it matches a personal definition of what happiness and success means to them. This is what I call your “Rules of Happiness”.
Thus, do you make yourself “naturally” happy? Or do you make the rules so difficult to follow that you feel helpless and this “happiness” becomes impossible to attain? It is essential to ask yourself these questions, because once you start thinking about your personal guidelines for happiness, then it becomes clear what drives your emotions at every present moment of your existence.
You can create stories about happiness where it can actually become the very obstacles to you achieving happiness. Why would we set ourselves up for this kind of failure? Just to clarify, there is nothing wrong with failing, in fact, it is an essential element for personal growth. However, what I’m talking about here is failing to feel fulfilled because of the difficult rules you’ve created for yourself.
Some people set rules about when to feel happy, fulfilled, successful and satisfied. I met with one of my clients the other day and he was telling me about his goals and how he is going to make a million dollars by end of this year. Then he told me, “Once I’m a millionaire, that’s when I will truly be happy.” That was the rule he made for himself. He was working so hard to achieve his dream of earning a million dollars, but his rule was preventing him from being fulfilled and enjoying the process of getting there. Therefore, we worked together to rewrite his rule for being happy. I wanted to free the thought and connection of “happiness” to “having a million dollars” from his life.
Those rules that make you wait for “permission” to feel happy create an internal dynamic where you are no longer in charge of your emotions. External events start taking over and begin to rule your emotions, and subsequently, they begin to affect how you view your life. When your current life condition does not match the rules you set for yourself, then you create an equation for frustration and internal conflict.
Therefore, I encourage you to write the chapter of happiness like my friend, Christine. Christine’s rules for happiness is simple. She allows herself to feel happy as long as she is learning something new or growing in one aspect of life daily. She has an internal set of rules that she knows she can easily follow through effortlessly to drive her forward. She is not waiting for an external event to cheer her up; she does this regardless of what her given life circumstances may be at any moment in time.
We all have a story and definition of who we must be, before we feel abundant, but if life gets in the way and prevents us to meet our own definitions of success, then we experience the pain and suffer internally as the result of this. So, let’s work together to change your definition of success and happiness. Therefore, let me ask again, what are your rules of happiness? Think about this, then rewrite your story from what you don’t have and who you need to become for you to be happy at any given situation in life. I firmly believe you are in control of your emotions. We all need to just trust that life doesn’t happen to you, but it happens for you.
“Every moment of life matters, so fail, learn, laugh and love but promise yourself to never give up on yourself, because that’s all you’ve got in this life.” ― Armita Lor Kalantari