As all Americans know, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are inalienable rights. They're not privileges, they're rights. As such, we are all encouraged to pursue and define our happiness as we each see fit (as long as it doesn't impede another's happiness, of course!)
However, like all rights, we still need to make the choice to pursue it. While most of us can grasp the concept of pursuing what makes us happy, the ability to do that often requires a shift in perspective.
Shifting Your Perspective
Your happiness becomes tangible the moment you decide to do something about it. Much like dating, it is near-impossible to meet someone if you never leave your couch. Unless the pizza delivery person is single or you take the enormous risk of inviting someone over off a dating app, finding the right person takes action.
The same is true for finding your bliss.
In a previous blog, I go over some tips to reach happiness on a more consistent basis. But the first step is recognizing you're unhappy – or not as happy as you could be. Since happiness is a choice, so too is unhappiness. Our inalienable right is the pursuit of happiness. That phrasing reinforces the fact that there is some chase and effort involved.
Happiness on a Situation-to-Situation Basis
You can look at every situation differently. In fact, it's within that variety of perspectives that makes it possible to find happiness from one situation to the next. Of course, sad news without an obvious silver lining will eventually arise. But even then, you can decide how best to take care of yourself and get to a place of calmness, peace, and, eventually, happiness.
The key? The ability to shift perspective as the need occurs.
For example, say someone is going through a divorce – and it's a muddy and drawn-out process. You can choose to focus on what’s being taken away and the grief of loss. Or, you can choose to focus on what new opportunities lie ahead — and the prospect of a fresh connection with someone new.
If you're grateful for your current experience, you have control over your perspective. The more you engage in this practice, the better you'll be at stringing together longer moments of satisfaction – which leads to an enduring sensation of happiness.
A Journey Worth Embarking On
Remember: happiness is a journey that takes chasing and endurance. There is nothing passive about the word "pursuit." Doesn't it make you imagine law enforcement going after a suspect? It's a word that strong implies acting with purpose – and purpose requires a crystal-clear goal.
Besides choosing to be happy, it is important to get clear with yourself on what you believe contributes to your happiness. A winning equation would be:
Action + Choice + Perspective + Gratitude = Consistent, Long-Term Happiness.