Do you know what makes you happy?

Let’s talk about why the hell it is so important to know WHAT makes you happy. Why would that be important? I mean, happiness happens by accident anyway, doesn’t it? Nope, I’m kidding, of course. How depressing would that be if our happiness relied on some stars aligning, and giving us a glimpse of what a happy life looks like, only to take it away the next second? Uh uh, no girl.

The happiness accident

But let’s face it. For some of us, maybe even for you, happiness actually does feel like an accident. A lot of people are so detached from what makes them happy, that the only way to experience temporary happiness is if something happens that somehow lights a spark in their eyes. That’s a sort of passive happiness because you didn’t do anything to bring it along. You didn’t choose that kind of happiness, you just bore witness to it. And that’s not how you create a happy life. That’s how you create a waiting life – a life in which you wait and wait and wait for some magic to happen.

Being happy is a big fat 10

How about from this day forward you take a more active approach? Don’t you think that your happiness is way too important to leave it to chance? Let me ask you a question: On a scale of one to ten, with 1 being not at all and 10 being very, very much, how important is living a happy life to you? Be honest about it. Don’t be humble about it. Don’t think about what other people might think of you if they knew your answer. How important is living a happy life to you? Do you have a number? Then let’s continue.

So, if you’re anything like me, being happy is a big fat 10 for you. You want a life that sparkles, and sizzles, and pops, and gives you laughter lines as deep as the Grand Canyon. You want to be doing the things that you like doing. You want to wake up with excited anticipation in the morning. Don’t be afraid to admit that. Don’t feel greedy saying it. Don’t even feel unrealistic saying it. Because it is absolutely possible, and wanting it is your birthright.

A happy life does not have to be perfect

Now, I want to make one thing very clear: Wanting to live a happy life doesn’t mean that life has to be perfect all the time. If that were even possible. It only means that being happy is a priority for you, and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to get to that goal of a life that makes you happy. At least most of the time. And that happiness that I’m talking about here can look different every single day.

For me, some days I’m happy chilling on the couch watching my favorite TV show with a bowl of apple cider vinegar chips on my lap, other days I’m happiest slaying my to-do list and getting so many things done that I don’t usually get done in three days. Some days I’m the happiest playing with my nieces, while other times I smile to myself enjoying the peace and quiet of my own four walls and not talking to anyone for two days.

All of these things may make your skin crawl – especially my choice of chips flavor. All I have to say about that is: Don’t judge before you’ve tried it. They are amazing. Seriously. I’m addicted.

Happiness is a choice …

But what I’m getting at here is: Happiness is individual. So don’t listen to anyone who tells you that they know what makes you happy. They’re lying. Unless they are exactly like you, which is completely impossible because you and your happiness are as unique as the Stars Hollow characters.

There is only one thing about happiness that I absolutely know to be true for every single person on this earth: It is first and foremost a choice.

Yep, you’ve heard it right. Happiness is first and foremost a choice. If you want to stop reading and go into a full rant about how life sucks, and that you can’t by all means be happy in this life, so who the hell am I to tell you that it’s a choice – bare with me for a second.

… and here is why

Happiness is a choice in that respect that you have to make the choice to make your happiness a priority. You have to decide that you want to be happy. You have to choose that you are rather willing to do whatever it takes to makes your life happy – with all of the uncomfortable changes that may be necessary in the beginning – than the comfort of your “just fine“ life. THAT’S why it’s a choice.

It is also a choice because happiness doesn’t always come in big fireworks that scream “notice me“. Happiness lies in the smallest of things. And when you don’t make the decision to choose happiness, and to be aware of all of the little things that bring you said happiness, you won’t ever notice them. To sum it up in the word of one of my least favorite politicians: SAD.

And, last but definitely not least: Happiness is also a choice because you can CHOOSE to do things each and every single day that YOU know to make you happy. You know, creating the happiness by yourself. Yes, you are that powerful. You can choose every day to do something that gets you sparkling. And if you continuously do that, you will notice that you start sparkling more and more. You will start glowing from the inside.

Choosing happiness

Are you ready to choose happiness every day? And this isn’t a trick question. You might think: “Of course, I am, what a ridiculous question.“ But some people are so used to their “just fine“ life, they have gotten so comfortable in the familiarity of the same old every day, that they don’t have the drive to change something. So don’t take this question lightly when I ask: Are you ready to choose happiness every day? With all that comes with it – the personal growth, the changes in your life, the commitment to stick to it?

Yes. Yes, you are, aren’t you? Yay! So, one more thing: You can only do that, choose happiness, I mean, when you know what that is that puts the sparkle in your eyes. If you have no clue what it is, how are you going to do it? And that is exactly why it is so important to know what lights your fire. Because otherwise you’ll just stand there guessing, and waiting for life to treat you to a moment of joy.

What makes you happy?

But enough of my ramblings. I have some homework for you. Grab your notebook or a piece of paper, and start thinking about what makes you happy. Don’t read about it on the internet, don’t even talk to friends about it just yet. Ask yourself:

  • When was the last time you had a deep belly laugh?
  • When was the last time you felt completely content?
  • When was the last time you just couldn’t help but smile that beautiful bright smile of yours?
  • When was the last time you felt completely alive?

All of these questions will help you get a better sense of how you can get your sparkle on.

And then, when you’re done with that exercise, make the commitment to yourself to do AT LEAST one thing every day that makes you happy. For no other reason than that. Go to the movies, eat a bunch of nachos with salsa dip while drooling all over Milo Ventimiglia’s face – or whoever your favorite beau is. Book yourself a massage or go to the sauna. Go for a long run in the woods if that is your jam.

Just pick one thing, ONE THING that lights you up, and revel in the warm and fuzzy feeling of doing something for yourself, and yourself only. This certainly won’t turn your whole life around, but it is a pretty damn good start.