Author: Justin Mckibben
Last week I wrote a little bit about 4 reasons why we won’t let ourselves be happy and talked about how the pieces of us that refuse to let go, or refuse to embrace, are often a way we self-inflict our own misery and keep ourselves from what we deserve out of life.
Now I want to take a look at ways we can work on allowing the happiness we are all worthy of into our lives.
Again, recovery is all about healing in spite of our past, and about finding how to know ourselves, nurturing that new us and making a new and fulfilled contribution to the world. Having any kind of healthy relationship can be tremendously difficult for an addict, especially having a healthy relationship with ourselves. However, there are simple ideas we can put into action in our own lives that help us be happy.
- Face Problems
Problems are a part of the fabric of life; we cannot live without them in a world of duality and diversity. They say variety is the spice of life and without the zest of a few unsavory situations life wouldn’t be nearly as complete. You’re allowed to have problems, and you’re allowed to react to them, but how you react will ultimately have the impact on your happiness.
It is not always easy to know exactly how to do the right thing, the point is to do the utmost best you can and accept the results regardless. I can name more than a few times an outcome made me less than happy, but the simply fact I survived it anyway was enough to be ecstatic over.
If we are honest about the ups and downs, and if we can be honest with our answers to life’s tougher questions, happiness will be more genuine because in the end you are the one person your happiness will depend on.
The pain is real, recovering or not, and the atmosphere engulfing our human experience will expose you to this reality in a lot of very tangible ways… ways many of us in recovery have probably forgotten how to even experience . Mistakes, such as relapse, can happen… but that is okay as long as you look to these experiences as lessons… and actually learn from it.
Funny thing is, what makes you happy is sometimes subject to change, so the pain we experience won’t be the forever-kind-of-feeling we sometimes make it out to be. Sometimes we won’t even know it doesn’t hurt anymore until life makes an example for others out of our growth.
Do not shy away from the problems that you face, because in the end these problems are the soil we plant the seeds of virtue and strength in, and we nurture those seeds with action and principles, which grow into the fruits of our being.
- Believe You Deserve It
You are allowed to be happy, and you should know and believe that you deserve it.
Happiness is often referred to as an ‘inside job’ because behind it all the only thing that can truly allow you to be happy is you. Remind yourself as often as you can that your happiness is a priority, and it is not selfish to believe in that.
What point would there be to getting sober if we were condemning ourselves to a desert of misery, only so we could help others drink in all their happiness from the stream of life? We all thirst for that happiness, and you should believe you have the right to experience it. Sure it is important, especially in recovery, to do for others and do so selflessly but we should never cast aside our own sense of self-worth to do so.
If you are waiting for someone else to come into your life and make your happiness mean something for you, you will always be waiting. Once you understand how important your own joy and happiness is, you will be better suited to share it and inspire happiness in others. There is no point in being a martyr to the joys of others if happiness holds no value in your life.
- Be Responsible For Your Life
We learn in recovery not to try and control things that are not meant for our control. When it comes to my life in recovery, I try to remind myself that a lot of stuff is just quite simply not my business.
But my life is my business, and for that I am responsible.
You are responsible for your life, no one else is. When it’s over, no one else will be held accountable for how much happiness you allowed yourself to have. So when it comes time to make a change that will impact the degree of happiness you filter into your life, it takes action and accountability. We do have choices to make in our world, and if you make the wrong one once in a while it’s OK, but be willing to be responsible for the good and bad. Own your choices and mistakes, and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them.
One of the most empowering ways to be responsible for your own life is to live it. Spend your time, talent and energy on the things you love and the people you love most. Feed your prosperity with the passions of your life, do not be the victim of circumstance, because your happiness should not be at the mercy of an ever changing world. Serenity is not always easy to find in the midst of a thunder-storm, but it can be the safest place.
This is the thing we are all made of, and the thing that gives us the most potential to be happy. The problem with most of us is we confuse it for something we have to look outside of ourselves to find, when the most we will ever sustain will come from within.
All the beautiful things that we are; our drive and inspiration, or wisdom and our talent, our passions and opinions are all empowered by this simple and yet infinitely indispensable element. Our happiness survives off this stuff, so why not create it as much as you can in your life?
Love is the essence of all things, and in that respect happiness exists purely through our ability to love. Be it one another, the things we are grateful for, or ourselves. In recovery we can find this a difficult concept to master, but with healing comes emotional sobriety and with that we re-learn how to treat ourselves, and how to treat each other.
Loving yourself is a tremendous feat sometimes, but try to remember that the way you love yourself sets the standard for the love you will accept from those around you, and for the love they will be willing to give you in many instances. Love yourself as much as you do those who you shower with your affections, and cherish who you are!
Being true to yourself and also grateful for the things you already have can provide happiness no one around you will be able to give you. Love is probably the greatest gift we all have, and we have it in unconditional and limitless abundance… share some… smile.
I said it before and I’ll say it again… happiness is what we make of it. Love is a key ingredient, along with acceptance and willingness we can change whatever hand we are dealt. Use every chance you get to help yourself be happy, and take the steps to better yourself on the way. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135