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How to be happy

Hello beautiful soul!

To understand if you are living your best life is to become aware of what your own personal concept of happiness is.

Each of us needs a particular combination of "ingredients" to achieve happiness and self-fulfilment, and this mixture is constantly changing with the passage of time.

Every day ONLY YOU can tell what it takes to make you happy.

Happiness has its causes within ourselves before it is influenced by external factors, therefore the only way to know whether a relationship, a job or any decision you make is right for you is to get in touch with your feelings and listen to your heart.

Basically, be true to yourself and follow your 'inner voice'.

Your happiness does not depend on the number of problems you have.

It is not by eliminating problems that you will be happy, but by learning to live with them first and solve them later. The right way to do this is to accept them.

Being happy: a right we all have

Yes, you deserve to be happy.

Happiness is your right: it is not just for a few, nor is it just for the "deserving".

Happiness is for all of us, like the air we breathe.

Take air, for example, it does not have to be deserved, it is yours and you are entitled to it. It is the same with happiness. Accept the idea that you truly deserve all the happiness you can achieve.

The more you accept, love and honour yourself, the more deserving you will feel of the good things in life. If you truly believe that you deserve the best, you will greatly increase your chances of achieving and maintaining the happiness you desire.

Very often I hear people say:

  • Someone like me does not deserve happiness!
  • I will never be happy!
  • I don't know what happiness is!
  • I can't be happy!
  • I don't deserve to be happy.
  • Happiness is not part of my character!
  • I am fine when I am unhappy!
  • I would like to be happy but...

These phrases show me that there is most certainly an underlying problem: perhaps a self-esteem related belief or the difficulty to cultivate self-love that started from childhood trauma.  

How to be happy and find your joy

First of all, I want to say that you cannot feel opposite emotions such as anger and joy at the same time. You might feel anger and two seconds later joy, and maybe three seconds later anger again.

However, you cannot feel two opposite emotions right at the same time. This means that as long as you feel negative emotions inside you, it will be hard to achieve pure happiness.

If you think about it, this makes sense: could you feel truly happy while feeling despair, sadness or anger?

No, you couldn't.

The first step towards happiness is therefore to learn to experience positive emotions.

You have to be able to transform the negative ones you are feeling into positive ones, freeing your heart to make room for more happiness.

Work on yourself first: YOU are the most important person in your life. Wanting to be happy and fulfilled does not mean being selfish, so don't feel guilty for wanting to improve yourself. 

Always ask yourself whether the actions and decisions you make lead you to feel happy or unhappy. 

Consciously choose to be happy

You might say "I want to be happy".

But do you really mean it? Think about your attitudes towards happiness. Do you think that being happy is something that happens suddenly, or do you think that happiness is a goal you have to pursue every day with commitment and perseverance?

To live happily you have to make a conscious choice, i.e. you have to consciously adopt attitudes and behaviours that lead you towards happiness rather than unhappiness. For example, if doing certain activities or spending time with certain types of people makes you unhappy, consciously choosing to be happy will involve avoiding doing certain actions and certain environments.

In short, while there are some people who are naturally disposed to be happy, happiness can be within reach of anyone (even those who think happiness does not exist): you just have to learn to understand and manage your emotions.

If you are not convinced, try the following for the next few days: 

Cultivate gratitude

To be happy you need to train your mind.

One very useful exercise is to think of all the people you should thank for helping you through a difficult time. This is called the 'gratitude exercise'.

Take a pen and paper and write down the names of friends and relatives whom you would like to thank. Also, write down the pleasant feelings you have experienced when help was offered and given to you. You will see that being grateful to someone will immediately make you feel happier.

You can also make a gratitude list for all the good things you have in life, no matter how small or big they are. It could be your phone for keeping you in communication with friends, your comfy bed, the roof over your head, the music you listen to and enjoy. No matter what it is, if it makes you feel good, thank it!

Don't hold a grudge

Forgetting the bad that others do to you is, in a way, the exact opposite of remembering the good that people do to us. Therefore, forgiving should be as simple as being grateful.

However, in practice, it is not. A little more effort is needed. Forgiveness needs to be motivated, but most importantly, forgiving is never done for the other person (who hurt you), it is for yourself only.

Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting. It means freeing yourself from the emotions that are still causing you distress. Unfortunately, the past cannot be changed, but you can change your present, therefore your future. 

If you have been hurt, it is important to remember that once you are ready to go through this process, you will allow yourself to let go of the anger and/or resentment you are carrying with you. 

Try this other exercise: write a letter of forgiveness to a person who has hurt you. In order not to let yourself be overwhelmed by anger, with inevitable consequences for your emotional and mental health, start by putting yourself in the other person's shoes: what could have been the reason for their actions? 

I know, sometimes some actions cannot be forgiven nor forgotten, but there will always be an answer to that question. By answering this question, you are not in any way condoning what happened, you are just practising understanding and compassion. 

Always remember that you are forgiving for your own emotional wellbeing so that you can release emotions such as anger, resentment, shame or guilt. Forgiveness is simply an act of love towards yourself.

Counteract negativity

Negative feelings are a major obstacle to happiness, but it is possible to control (and understand) the mind in order to be more positive. Of course, understanding and shifting the mind requires great commitment and concentration, but everyone is free to adopt the strategies they want. From meditation, expressing your emotions, Bach flower remedies, breathing exercises, yoga, etc. anything goes, as long as the result is to be able to counteract negativity.

Engage in activities that mean something to you

Think about the last time you were happy: the last time you achieved a goal at work, spent the weekend out with your loved ones, a nice walk in the countryside.

We are like a robot programmed to be happy. The gears of the machine may fail, but the internal memory will always retain the imprinting. Therefore, you are perfectly capable of bringing a good memory back to life.

Be happy by practising deliberate happiness

Practising deliberate happiness is the most effective way to give yourself well-being, prosperity and to learn how to be happy.

You may often say to yourself "I want to be happy!" as if words alone can give you the joy you desire.

Being happy, however, is a choice that must be lived with awareness, just wanting happiness is not enough, you have to live it. 

Being happy is your choice and often it really only takes a few small adjustments or slightly different points of view to transform your world.

Confess something you are ashamed of

Sometimes it is our faults that make us unhappy.

Confessing a flaw or a mistake made, talking about it and reasoning it out with someone is an excellent way to take the power out of what we consider a weakness.

The purpose of confessing something you are ashamed of is to stop hiding it or pretending it doesn't exist or didn't happen. This will immediately release a small amount of happiness, making you feel lighter and more peaceful inside.

Sometimes we deliberately don't think about certain things because we are afraid of what might happen. We are afraid to ask ourselves certain questions because deep down we know we will not like the answer.

Questions and Answers on Happiness

#1 What does it mean to be happy?

Happiness is a relative concept, but in general, happiness means being well with oneself and with others, living with joy and fulfilment.

#2 What does it feel like to be happy?

You can answer this question yourself by recalling a single moment in your life when you felt really good.

#3 Is it possible to be unable to be happy?

I have known many people who were unable to be happy for one reason or another; often it was a problem of their own making or an unhealed trauma from the past.

#4. How do some people manage to be happy all the time?

Some people are particularly positive for a variety of reasons: there are those who are very gratified by their work, friendships or family, others who love what they do, and then there are those who simply prefer to look at the positive side of every situation.

#5. Is it possible to be afraid of being happy?

It is possible to have a deep fear of being able to achieve happiness, often due to the belief that unpleasant and painful events must necessarily follow joy. Also, there might be a sense of guilt for feeling happy. Would being happy make you feel guilty towards those around you? 

#6 Is it possible to have everything and not be happy?

What is everything? If you don't have happiness you can't say you have everything, happiness generally travels from material objects and our inner world.

#7 Can you be happy all the time?

True happiness isn't about being happy all the time.

We are spiritual beings going through a human journey. In this journey, we learn from our experiences, especially the negative ones, therefore part of being a human is being able to feel a variety of emotions as well as deeper feelings of meaning and purpose. You cannot be happy all the time, but you can learn to cultivate happiness by being able to shift your emotions from negative to positive, appreciating and being grateful for what you have, and learning from what life presents to you.   

Tips

  • Turn a passion into something more important and inspiring.
  • Develop your emotional independence by not being. overwhelmed by the judgments of others.
  • Spend more time with people who put you in a good mood.
  • Let go of a grudge that keeps bothering you.
  • Deal with problems in a positive way without letting them put you down.
  • Be 100% honest with yourself Don't be afraid to admit that you are unhappy, in fact doing so is the first step to change.
  • Set boundaries with those who frequently cross them.

Journal Prompts

Why can't I achieve happiness?

Why can I achieve happiness?

Why am I deserving of being happy?

How can I improve my current circumstances?

How can I have fun despite my current circumstances?

What am I grateful for?

What can I learn from what I have experienced in the past?

What is my purpose?

What do I really want to do in life? What would fulfil me?

How can I find deep authentic meaning in my life?

I am interested to know about you...what makes you happy?

Love, Carlotta

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