Sounds easy, but we know better, right? Actually, there is a great deal of wisdom and power in those three words—”color yourself happy.” You see, each of us creates our own emotions.
Don’t wait for someone else or some thing or some situation to make you happy. Feelings may seem to accompany such external influences, but that is only because we are in the habit of creating certain feelings in response to certain stimuli. All too often, we are merely reacting.
Try this out. The next time you feel down or blue, put a smile on your face. Go ahead. It won’t hurt. Look at yourself in the mirror and be truthful. Is your smile believable? No? Then adjust your smile until it is believable. Self-awareness and honesty are the keys, here. But don’t be self-conscious. If someone else is nearby, let them wonder if you’ve gone crazy. It’s your life, not theirs.
If you have trouble getting the smile just right, then crank it up a notch. Laugh out loud. Make it a deep belly laugh—something with feeling. Keep observing how you’re feeling and adjust how you laugh until that magical moment when you can see yourself in the act of creating your feeling. You will find that happiness can be created that does not depend on a reason.
Happiness Is Always Your Own Creation
Isn’t this delusion? It is, only if you ignore reality. The situation you are in does not have to control your emotions. You can smile despite a storm brewing around you. That is the difference between being oblivious and being master of your own fate. Know that you are smiling in spite of circumstances. Feel yourself rise above your lot in life. Feel the comforting hand of God lift you up.
There are many negative emotions that people can hold onto. Grief, anger, apathy and resentment are just a few. The memories to which those emotions are attached sometimes become stuck. Grief when a loved one dies is natural, but perpetual grief that lingers for months or years is unhealthy. Resentment for even a moment is not good, and guilt is all too often not worth the paper on which it is written. If guilt can spur you on to do better, then let it. Otherwise, drop it like the proverbial hot potato.
True Happiness is Next to Forgiveness
A wise teacher once told his followers to turn the other cheek if someone slaps you. His suggestion had nothing to do with masochism or actively seeking being a victim. There is a certain dignity in his suggestion, but it goes far beyond that. Part of it has to do with the antidote for resentment—forgiveness.
When you forgive, you rise above the action-reaction of victim-perpetrator. Forgiveness is not only the way out of the perpetual tit-for-tat or blood feuds; it is an act of creation. With forgiveness, you are creating your feeling rather than merely reacting to a situation.
With forgiveness, you refuse to be a victim. You rise above such vulnerability.
I’ve heard people say, “Oh, I forgive them, but I can’t forget.” And they complain incessantly about the pain that other person has caused. That’s not forgiveness. Certainly, forgiveness does not mean losing one’s memory of an event, but it does mean no longer carrying the burden of resentment. Forgiveness is just as much for you as it is for the perpetrator.
When a problem enters my life, I merely smile at the challenge, snap my fingers and say, “Got it solved.” My attitude is that the solution is as good as mine. Quite often, a solution presents itself in short order.
So, don’t ignore reality, but don’t let it control you either. Remember: you create your own emotions. Choose wisely.
This article was published 2015:0615 on And-The-Pursuit-Of-Happiness.com, and originally published as “Color Yourself Happy” 2009:0321 on Blog.AncientSuns.com.