Waiting to Become Happy or Choosing It

Updated on September 15, 2018
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.

Would We Have Known When to Be Happy, if They Had Not Told Us?
Would We Have Known When to Be Happy, if They Had Not Told Us?

Emotionally Lost Without Instructions

Ever since my intuition pushed me into this life long venture to think for myself, I kept discovering one after another some limiting beliefs running the engine of our cultural paradigm. One in particular was this common attitude of emotional dependence on a nature of circumstances, and what kind of mood is "prescribed" for each of them by collective and customary practice.

At times it makes me wonder if people would know how to emotionally react to life if no one gave them a manual in the process of growing up. By the time we grow into adults it's a well played-in routine, and we don't question anymore if it's appropriate to be cheerful on Monday morning; or react with a joy for standing in long lineups; or being delighted for seeing mother-in-law at Sunday dinner table.

Isn't it great not having to plan our feelings? We got them all covered somewhere in the hard drive of our brains. And no one seems to dare to question such robotic behavior, since every aspect of it so nicely fits under the umbrella of "no one is perfect".

Indeed, it's like we have absolutely no say over what kind of emotions may "befall" us. So we hear something like: "He made me so angry"...or : "Her complaining drives me crazy"; or: "I'll be the happiest person once that the mortgage is paid off".

O.K., I will spare you from the rest of the long list which you might fill in better than I, since I am in a habit of turning a deaf ear to them. This deafness is not completely a metaphor, but I really have only 60 % of hearing left. A part of it is apparently a gift from military service, but sometimes I go suspicious a bit. Maybe I could hear much better if I cared not to listen to everything that's been trying to assault my ears---which might have become more of a psycho-somatic issue. Take it as a joke---or not.

"Monkey See---Monkey Do"
"Monkey See---Monkey Do"

We Don't Know That We Can

Indeed, to a Mr. Calm of my special breed it's almost painful to observe how people fuss over things without a slightest idea that they could simply "recalibrate" their emotional apparatus and screen out all crap happening around them and at the most distant parts of the earth---since that also seems to bother them.

By the end of this article, I hope that at least some of you may start questioning this popular passion of playing an emotional victim of the the outside stimulation. Maybe, along with me, you will start seeing folks as upright walking pianos with a lot of keys---some white, some black, corresponding to their emotional repertoire always available for pressing.

The problem with all that doesn't seem to be our inability to be more pro-active and much less re-active in daily computation of what we feel---but in our not knowing that we can. Let's face it, folks, we don't hear anyone saying on Monday morning: "I just love this making myself happy!"

That's the main problem: this "monkey-see-monkey-do" syndrome. Meaning that---if monkey doesn't see---monkey doesn't do". When, as a kid, you did something wrong, and your mother angrily sent you to your room---correct me if I am wrong---but she didn't finish saying her verdict with words: "It's now up to you if you want to see it as amusing or as a punishment".

We have been heavily programmed how to react. And now, unless we have been enjoying it, it could be a good idea to consider undoing some of it. What do you say? I understand that some of you might have read my other articles and they didn't do much for your desired inner changes except possibly giving you a passing inspiration.

So, here I go again, persistent as hell, trying from just a little different angle to convince you that we really can feel as happy as we want---and I mean without that shot of brandy or getting laid.

Truisms of Life---Just Like Potatoes---Can Be Served in Different Dishes for a Different Taste
Truisms of Life---Just Like Potatoes---Can Be Served in Different Dishes for a Different Taste

Try My New Dish with Those Same Potatoes

In some of my previous articles I might have called it something different, but let me explain this apparent paraphrasing. We all know what a potato is. If you are served potatoes in one dish, for some reason you may not find it so appetizing like those same kind of potatoes in another dish, maybe with some extra spice or so.

You got where I am going with this? So, I hope you may find my today's potatoes more delicious and easier to digest.

I'll even use the phrase which is very familiar: "Fake it till you make it."

Being this kind of a dude with this apparent mission to make people feel better, sometimes I ask people of my life: "Why don't you try something for the first time, like deciding right now this moment to feel great---and I mean great?" Then they give me a look like I just ask them to use a dull knife for splitting an atom.

But, being also known as a persistent pest, I keep pushing: "Come on, your face is not even trying to relax. And look at your shoulders all tensed up. I bet you your stomach muscles are begging you to allow them to let go of that last argument with your boss."

Well, admittedly, my success record looks like this: most of them pick up some enthusiasm, but then they forget about it at times when someone mentions politics. That's where I lose them completely. More often than not the opposite happens---I join their bitching out of sheer compassion. Well, they are so much easier to imitate than I.

So, let me say that important point again: it's not that we "can't" feel happier at will---but we don't know that we can, so that automatically means that we can't. We are social beings, and as a part of our feeling of "belonging", we feel obligated to be pretty much like everybody else, not to be looked at as oddballs and even traitors.

So, when it's time to be pissed-off, don't disappoint anybody by leisurely whistling one of your favorite tunes. Devil himself may show up to remind you that you are supposed to feel miserable.

Happiness Training Is Like Body Training---Awkward at First
Happiness Training Is Like Body Training---Awkward at First

Really, It's All about Some Re-Training

Back there I mentioned the old good advice: "Fake it till you make it". While you might have used it for some new dance steps, you probably never expected that a dude would ask you to fake your happiness.

For, as you are reasoning, even if you did it for a while, it would quickly fade away, like that enthusiasm at mother-in-law's birthday party. You see, the trick is in not letting yourself go off the hook so soon. I promise not to make it too complicated for too long, but like good Dr. Joe Dispenza would say: "Brain cells that fire together---wire together"----meaning that we create a new neural pathway in our brain every time we insist for a while with the same pattern of experiencing.

I didn't pick mother-in-law's birthday as an example only to be a little humorous, but to give you a hint that we have to mostly practice feeling good when nothing in happenstances is calling for such feelings.

Remember? It's the business of "un"-doing something. It's easy to practice happiness at Sunday barbeque time with a few beer bottles already empty in the bucket. O.K. those extreme crappy times are not the right moments either for that practice, but try shadow-boxing with something almost emotionally neutral.

Pick a boring time and make it pleasant with nothing but the power of your mind. Your body may help enormously. Remember how you breathe when you are happy. Now, I don't mean "excited"---excitement is not happiness, otherwise every depressed dude having sex would be happy as a lark. I mean that peaceful, calm, tingling happiness in your solar plexus, with mind purring like a Swiss watch.

Then do something about your posture. And your loose joints---imagine that so far you have been walking like Frankenstein, and now make it loose, flexible. And put that Mona Lisa smile on your face and keep it there no matter what. Just as if you were waiting for Leonardo da Vinci to make a portrait of Mona Lisa's sibling and use you as a model. Hum a tune, call a friend and tell them something funny, give them a compliment---it doesn't matter if the bastard deserves one or not.

Act like a happy dude or dudesse, never forgetting the golden rule: It doesn't matter how "well" you are faking it, but for "how long".

You May Give a New Meaning to What Is "Normal"
You May Give a New Meaning to What Is "Normal"

Changing the Concept of "Normal"

It's been some decades now that I watched a comedy called something like: "What's So Bad About Feeling Good". It was about this rare bird that rapidly spread a "virus of happiness", with some disastrous consequences following it.

Suddenly, police had nothing to do, and the whole justice system came to a standstill, hospitals got empty, and people drastically reduced buying stuff while being happy with what they got. A state of emergency was declared. "Luckily" for the whole "system" before it collapsed, that virus didn't last, and soon everyone got back to their "normal".

A little taste of that movie you may get after you snap out of your "normal" and start being a happier human. I should know, I've been called "weird"---not by words but by looks I got. There were times when I had to make a good effort to defend my being happy, as if everybody around was insulted by it.

Like it was not enough that I stopped drinking, smoking, having coffee, sweets, and wheat---because my stomach stopped being my "factory of happiness"---but I also didn't show enough concern for the world's politics, global warming, price of gas, and all those indicators of "being a normal human being".

So, be ready for some mixed reactions from folks who always re-act a lot. Some may get inspired, others may try hard to put your happiness down. More than ever in your life you may at times feel like you "don't belong"---but that's the price you have to pay for being happy for more than winning a jack pot.

However, that's how it gets only until people learn to accept you. Then they just give you those looks, maybe shake their head from time to time, and wonder what to buy you for Christmas, since you already are happy. But it's O.K., because after a while you stop giving a rat's ass how anybody looks at you. And it only adds to your happiness.

Well, I did not save the best for the last---for, the "best" is what somehow stuck with you from my story as potentially helpful. You may even choose to read it again to find it. Why not---some folks use the same words for prayer day after day, as if still looking for some effects from them. I am not even asking you to rely on anybody's words---just choose to be happy instead of waiting to become it---as if I, or anyone else should first give you an approval.

Whatever goes on in your personal space is of your own make---so just make it good. Cheers!

Questions & Answers


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      • Carolyn M Fields profile image

        Carolyn Fields 

        23 months ago from South Dakota, USA

        Happiness is a choice . . . for the most part. There are exceptions to any rule (e.g., random act of God), but generally speaking, people select a "glass half full" or a "glass half empty" way of looking at things. Also, I personally have completely given up the "I will be happen when . . . " way of thinking. Be here, now. Not some future place where something or someone will make you happy.

        Again . . . love your work. It adds to my happiness. :-)

      • Dana Tate profile image

        Dana Tate 

        23 months ago from LOS ANGELES

        It took me along time to understand that the power of being happy rested in my hands and not others. People do not realize that for people who are supposed to be free we have put ourselves in a bondage by becoming robots (monkey see, monkey do) We have become people who are trying to make life work for us instead of working with life.

        If we are trying to make life work for us we can never be happy because the world was not designed to work for us as individuals but to work in harmony with all creation. I think if we understood that we could be happy. People are missing out on the beauty of life and we do need re-training in our way of thinking, to understand this.

        As always, this was a pleasure to read. Thank you for sharing.

      • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

        Vladimir Karas 

        23 months ago from Canada

        Ruby Jean---When I quit all wheat products, I had not reason to believe that I was gluten intolerant; I just kick out anything that my body is better off without. Not fanatically though, because you may catch me enjoying pizza---although this is just about all of my "dietary sins". No pastries for me, maybe an occasional ice cream.

        As for people's "hurting my feelings", I would have to go into a lengthy story to show you how I don't really care much about their trying.

        It's really a matter of personal sovereignty---you train yourself not to emotionally depend on the mercy of others' behavior. Then, when something good comes from them---it's a bonus, and when nothing comes, you still love yourself enough, as you never let yourself down.

        Thank for your comment, Ruby. Be well, my friend.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        23 months ago from Southern Illinois

        Since I'm gluten intolerant I can relate to your giving up food. I do not like it, but that's the way it is. I am working hard on making myself happy, too many times people mean well but invariably let you down... Interesting topic and some words to ponder...


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