Happiness can be found even under the most dire circumstances, in the midst of desperation and despair. In one of life’s most beautifully encouraging ironies, the foundation for enduring happiness was described by a psychiatrist who survived the hell of Hitler's holocaust, Viktor Frankl.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - [the freedom] to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Spiritual freedom allows us to choose how we think, act and feel in practically any situation. This is the foundation for true happiness. Spiritual freedom also helps make life purposeful and meaningful.
Many of the Habitually Happy people we interviewed said they were NOT born or raised to be happy. Some even said they had been very unhappy for much of their lives. At some critical point they decided to cast off all unnecessary fear and negativity and to turn themselves into truly happy, spiritually successful people.
They decided what sort of person they wanted to be and then they consciously worked to become that person. They chose to develop qualities they thought would lead to a happy, spiritually successful life. They defined themselves to be happy by exercising their freedom of choice to become happy people.
"If we don’t consciously decide the sort of person we want to be and become, our environment and experience define both our identity and our destiny for us." Michele Moore - The Happiness Habit
Habitually Happy people decide how they want to think, act and feel under practically all circumstances. They exercise their freedom to choose happiness despite difficult situations. “When the chips are down, that’s the most important time to say Up,” one commented. They decide what they are going to do and then they decide to enjoy it.
They laugh and joke under pressure to cast off fear and gloom. They raise their own spirits by helping others to do the same. They conquer fear and apprehension with positive expectations and undying belief favorable resolutions will be found.
They choose Emotional Independence. “Just because something bad happens, that doesn't automatically mean I have to feel sad” one said. “I have to be at my best to deal with disaster well,” another replied. “Even when things don’t go my way I am still always much better off being Up and positive. I don’t want to hand control of my feelings over to negative circumstances. I don’t want bad things to rule my heart and mind.”
Fear and misery come from negative judgments. If we can separate ourselves from those confounding thoughts, if even only for a moment, we open up avenues to joy. We can separate ourselves from dismal circumstances and see gleaming opportunities for the future and then work to make them happen.
Habitually Happy people rebel and revolt against negative forces that try to down their spirits or control them. They are spiritually resilient because they won’t give in to negativity.
We know many of these truths intuitively. We may exercise this spiritual freedom best when a crises causes us to rise to higher levels of thinking, acting and being. Our challenge then becomes to exercise the same spiritual freedom once the crises has past, to bring what we have learned back to enrich our daily lives and use it to build happiness in our own hearts and in world around us.