, , , , , ,

Each of us fluctuates from being happy or sad or find ourselves in between these two opposites. I became interested in this a few years ago. I began a study of what made me happy and what made me sad. This led me to a philosophy called stoicism. A few of the famous stoics were Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. The core philosophy of stoicism is only worrying about what you control and let go of the rest. When you pursue this line of thought further, you realize that the only thing you have control over is your attitude about the circumstances or happenings in your life.

If someone does you wrong, a natural reaction is to get angry about it. This is one reaction. Another reaction could be gratitude. You could be grateful for learning about another person’s character. This knowledge can be used to avoid that person in the future, or at least to avoid expecting this person to do anything requiring trust.

There are many things outside of us that could affect our mood. The weather, what a government official says, what a person does or doesn’t do, and the list goes on and on. When you think about all the things that impact your mood, there are many. So what are you supposed to do?

The key to living a happy life is understanding that only you can decide to be happy. Happiness is within you. Happiness is an attitude that springs from your core. This doesn’t mean that you are happy all the time; it means that you are happy most of the time, with intermittent points of disappointment, anger, sadness, and all the other emotions. This requires you to look for the good in every situation. It requires that you look for the lessons that are there, just for you.

It is easy to react. Someone does something that upsets us–we get pissed off. You read a news article about some politician doing this or that, and we get pissed off. You lay some plan for an outing and it blows up and you again get pissed off or disappointed or a combination of the two.

Our emotions all spur from something outside of us in most cases. We are unhappy with our jobs, our partners, our friends, the weather, you name it. When you truly aspire to be happy, regardless of your circumstances, your life will change for the better. You learn that you are in control of your emotions, not the other way around. You are in control of how you react to outside circumstances. When you realize how much control you have, life gets a little easier.

Have a great Saturday, folks!

Until next time…