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How to Be Happy

Talk about a loaded topic! Every fashion magazine you pick up has a handful of articles advising us on what we can do to feel better about ourselves and life in general. Eat healthier, start a new fitness regimen, choose better friends, clean up your office, find a job you really like, make over your closet. All of these are great suggestions for how we can bring more joy into our lives, but none really get to the crux of what will promise long-term fulfillment: owning and wielding the right to be the authors of our own lives. If there was any silver lining to my family’s terrifying ordeal in the Ft. Lauderdale airport last month, it was my immediate epiphany that life is precious and I had better begin owning my experience of it. It struck me that many of the things I had been giving my energy and attention to were actually insignificant and causing me undue stress. Who was choosing to put these things front and center? Who was allowing circumstances and/or other voices to sway me from the course I wanted to follow? ME! What would happen if I took back the right to choose and direct my own experience of life? I might discover true and lasting happiness after all! We each have the right to choose who and what we allow into our experience. Where we are confronted with circumstances beyond our control, we still have a right to choose how we respond to the situation. We are so much more powerful than many of us choose to own. Stop and ask yourself what, if anything, is impeding you from feeling one-hundred percent. Is it life circumstances, or could it be your thoughts and behaviors that are inviting or failing to help you move past these circumstances? Do you surround yourself with people you like and who support you feeling good about yourself? Are you in a job that reflects who you really are and helps you channel your unique strengths? Are you healthy and full of vibrant energy? Do you love the way you look and feel in your clothes? Is your home your sanctuary? Are your spending time with the people who mean the most to you and filling your life with things and activities you enjoy? If you aren’t where you want to be, physically and/or emotionally, think about what’s stopping you. I’ll share a little tidbit about myself that may resonate with you. I have a habit of structuring my life around what I think is going to keep everyone else happy. Too often this results in me making both small and large decisions that really don’t contribute to my own sense of wellbeing. Sometime it’s as simple as agreeing to a girls’ night out when, in fact, I really just want some quiet quality time at home with my kids. Other times it’s spending money on something I don’t really value just because I want to avoid the awkwardness of saying “no.” I don’t go to yoga as often as I’d like because I find myself feeling guilty for being away from the office while everyone else is hard at work. We resign our role as the authors of our own lives, many times, through the continued habit of making these kinds of small sacrifices. Before we know it, our lives don’t belong to us anymore. I’ve decided that 2017 is the year I begin to actively and consciously author my life. It doesn’t mean that things won’t continue to happen that are beyond my control. Additionally, there will continue to be times that I consciously give up what I want in favor of supporting someone else’s choice, or because doing so actually contributes to a positive bigger-picture purpose. But, the big difference is, I want to make my choices consciously. I choose my priorities. I choose how and with whom I spend my time. I choose my responses to things and people. I choose my life purpose and how I want to fulfill it. Here’s to loving your life! Cheers, Lisa Berry

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