Be As Happy As … You Choose

Be As Happy As … You Choose

You can’t control what other people do. Blaming or complaining about it will not change it. What can you control? Your words and reaction. The sooner you take personal responsibility for your behavior and feelings, the sooner you take charge of your future and the outcomes you get.

Get clear on your personal values and then honor them in how you live and interact with other people. When your values are compromised, you will experience a negative emotional reaction. For example, two of my values are responsibility and justice. When someone does not take personal responsibility or breaks the rules, my reaction is some combination of resentment, anger and frustration. Developing self-awareness and noticing this negative reaction is necessary to change my response to something more productive. I use to allow what other people said or did control my happiness. Sometimes, I still do and have to remind myself, it is my choice. Here are the guidelines I came up with for keeping my joy.

Ask for what you need without apologizing. Don’t expect others to know what you want or need and then get angry when you don’t get it. Speak up. Sometimes you don’t even know what you want so you may have to figure that out first.

Own your own feelings. If you’re angry, hurt, sad or jealous then say so. Don’t try to cover it up with anger or just say you’re fine. The only way to have victory is to first be honest with yourself and others. And if you are wrong and need to apologize then do it. Don’t try to justify bad behavior, either yours or someone else’s.

Speak truth in love. Don’t sugar coat it or pretend it is better or worse. Just be honest. State the facts of the situation and how it impacted you.

Set and hold boundaries. Get clear on what is your responsibility and what is not. Your reactions, responses and feelings are your responsibility. Do your part but don’t do theirs. Don’t try to rescue, fix or manipulate others.

Respect others. Do not criticize or judge others to vent or make yourself feel better or justify your bad behavior.

Choose what is right over what is easy. It usually takes some effort and courage to do the right thing.

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