The very idea that our choices dictate our happiness seems to fire people up. For some, that’s in a good way. It can feel empowering and motivating to know that you have that much control to change your life.
For others, this seems impossible. It can’t really be that simple, can it? It is, but it begins with some tough love… for yourself. If you want to change your life and experience more happiness, then you will need to be honest with yourself about a few things.
There are unexpected situations that happen in our lives which cause us tremendous pain and sadness. We never want to get into a situation where we blame ourselves for these events, but there are situations that occur seemingly out of the blue that are all because of our own choices.
We have a way of not looking at our choices and the outcome as within the scope of our domain, as if the outcome magically happened for no reason at all. Sometimes, we pass blame onto other people and things outside of our control so convincingly that even we start to believe it.
I was talking with my daughter about our so-called “musts”. We were in the kitchen after our workout preparing dinner tonight. She giggles and says, “It’s so funny how we each have our favorites, and things that we ‘MUST’ have all the time.” She’s right, it’s actually comical how we’re each such creatures of habit.
We “must” have our post workout vegan hummus sandwich. I have my “must-have” wine with my dinner and my youngest daughter has her “must-have” refried beans.
These are just silly examples with favorite food, but it’s a conversation that we have all had in our minds about what we NEED to have. This is not always a conscious conversation. Sometimes it’s a decision in the background of our minds, and the way our life unfolds seems to simply just… happen that way.
Your Standards And The Pain They Cause
We as humans always bring people and situations into our lives because it brings us joy and happiness. That’s a no-brainer right?
It get’s more complicated though when we are dealing with avoiding the things that we don’t like or that make us feel comfortable. Take a marriage or a job for example. We are more inspired to work towards a goal in either of these situations but only if we will get a positive outcome.
What if your marriage was failing because you weren’t home enough? The standard or must in this situation is that one or both of the people in the relationship made it their “must”, their standard to focus and put all of their energy into their work.
Do we wonder why the marriage degraded?
What about the person who is over-weight but doesn’t make it a “must” or a standard to go to exercise a few days a week and get serious about the food that they put in their body?
Do we really wonder why they aren’t reaching their physique and health goals?
We find ourselves angry and frustrated that the spouse is not putting the work into the relationship. We find ourselves being frustrated and lost that nothing seems to work in the journey to weight-loss.
Change Your Life: Being Honest With Ourselves Is Hard
We can’t wonder why the outcome in these few typical scenarios occur, can we. It’s too difficult to face that we have misguided standards because it hurts too much. We would much rather blame our situation on not having enough time, or enough resources or enough support.
If we truly wanted something, we would put all of our energy into going after it and getting it. There’s no denying it.
In the case of weight-loss, we see that there is a genetic component and even yet we see a certain level of success. So what’s the formula? It’s changing our standards. As simple as that is, it’s truly a recipe for success! The mind games that we play are all about pain and pleasure.
In the case of a degrading marriage, again, it’s simply easier to hide or dive into another area of life that is working rather than facing the issues. We don’t want to see that we have a responsibility to give the relationship the equal amount of work.
Imagine the hours of work that went into getting the degree to become a software engineer or an accountant. Now think about the hours that it takes every-single-day doing the job. Now look at how many hours are going into making the marriage successful. You can clearly see that it’s extremely off balance and no wonder that marriages have trouble.
So you say you “have to” work those long hours. That’s cool, and yes you probably do if you want to make money and live out your dreams. So what about the relationship? Is it sufficient to eat across the dinner table for 15 minutes from your family and think that it is enough? Well of course not but this is EXACTLY what people are doing regularly.
And yet they wonder why the relationship fails. We must make the ALL of the important things in our lives EQUALLY important if not, we must deal with the outcome and take responsibility for our role in it.
The people we bring into our lives are often attempts to patch our own shortcomings. We often use others as distractions. When you raise up your own life, you will naturally raise your standards.
Are your relationships everything you’d like them to be? Meaningful relationships are one of the key components of happiness. Give your relationships the time and energy they require to blossom and flourish. Great relationships can bring new meaning to your life. Be a great friend, family member, and partner.
Take a look at your “musts” and ask yourself if they are in alignment with what makes you happy.