I realize that titling a blog article “How To Be Happy Again” is making quite the statement. Happiness can feel elusive — especially in a year like 2020.
To be honest, the only reason I’m comfortable making a statement this is that the simple life changing tip I plan on sharing is based on ancient, biblical wisdom.
Before we get into that, though, I’d like to take a moment to define happiness.
The Difference Between Happiness & Joy
There’s a big difference between joy and happiness. It’s my personal belief that true joy can only be found through Christ and is the underpinning for our souls.
Put another way, joy is both a source of deep, rich happiness and the support system when all “happiness” has seemingly escaped our life.
That’s the thing about happiness. It’s fickle. Unlike joy, feelings of happiness can come and go.
Happiness is also greatly affected by our experiences and relationships. To that point, I think it’s helpful to examine what most frequently makes us un-happy.
Don’t worry, I’ll go first.
Here are the top 3 things that most often make me feel unhappy:
- When my relationship with my wife isn’t as healthy as I’d like it to be
- When I don’t feel successful as a parent
- When work doesn’t feel fulfilling or life giving
What’s interesting about these areas of unhappiness is that they’re coincidentally also some of my greatest sources of happiness. In fact, if I was to list my greatest sources of happiness it’d look like:
- My wife
- My kids
- My career and coworkers
So what gives? How can it be that they’re both a source of my greatest happiness and unhappiness?
Well, this is the painful part of how to be happy again…
The reason why I’m sometimes not happy in my marriage is that I allow bitterness to build up over time forming invisible walls between my wife and I. In short, I’m guilty of focusing on the offense.
The reason I sometimes don’t feel happy as a parent is because I’m frustrated and angry at how my children are reacting to my parenting. In short, I’m focusing on the offense.
The reason I sometimes don’t feel happy at work is because I’m frustrated by coworkers or situations where I may feel overlooked. In short, I’m focusing on the offense.
I was recently examining some of these frustrations when the wisdom of Proverbs spoke directly into the sense of unhappiness I was feeling. As I read the words of Proverbs 12:16, I realized that I had more control over my happiness than I realized:
“Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.”Proverbs 12:16
Overlooking an insult isn’t easy but it is a surprisingly simple secret for how to be happy again.
I may not be able to control the actions of my spouse, children, and coworkers — but I can choose how I interpret their behavior.
I can choose to believe the best.
I can choose to employ empathy.
I can choose to overlook what I perceive to be an insult to my ego.
Even if I’m “right” and they’re “wrong,” I can choose to understand why they may say, act, or do something I disagree with.
In short, I can either choose to obsess over offenses, or I can overlook them.
This isn’t about putting your head in the sand. It’s about taking rightful ownership of your emotions.
If you want to know how to be happy again, I encourage you to memorize the wisdom of Proverbs 12:16.
Life rarely goes our way — and the actions of others go even less often according to our plans. But you probably have more control over your happiness than you even realize.
Praying for you and whatever situations might be attempting to steal your happiness these days.