to Be Happy
Happiness is inward and not outward;
and so it does not depend on what we have,
but on what we are.
--Henry Van Dyke
Happiness is our birthright. It’s the goal of our life.
Yes, there will be times when we will suffer, but some
of the most influential and healing people on our planet
are those who choose and allow themselves to be happy,
no matter the circumstance.
In order to experience genuine happiness, we must
understand what happiness is and where it comes from.
And sometimes, it’s easier to start with what it is
not. Heartfelt happiness has nothing to do with
external circumstances; it’s not based upon what we have
or what we do. The most ambitious accomplishments cannot
provide us with lasting happiness, nor can beauty, money
or fame. None of the idols we subscribe to can ever
fulfill us for happiness comes from within and cannot be
discovered outside ourselves.
Rick Foster & Greg Hicks, authors of How We Choose to
Be Happy affirm, “True happiness is a profound,
enduring feeling of contentment, capability and
centeredness. It’s a rich sense of well-being that comes
from knowing you can deal productively and creatively
with all that life offers—both the good and the bad.
It’s knowing your eternal self and responding to your
real needs, rather than the demands of others.”
Further, happiness is a choice; it’s less
about our circumstances and more about our attitude.
Recently, after facilitating A Course in
Miracles lesson titled “My happiness and function
are one,” a group of us committed to choosing happiness
for fourteen days. When we reconvened two weeks later,
everyone agreed that the mornings we meditated and
consciously chose happiness, our days were filled with
contentment, even some bliss. But on the days we didn’t,
fear, anxiety and stress influenced our daily lives. We
also discovered that the first week of choosing
happiness was easier than the second week.
Resistance—the ego’s crafty ploy—crept in, preventing
the same amount of satisfaction and peace from
occurring. A Course in Miracles reminds us that
the “happy learner” is someone who recognizes we can
just as easily learn through joy as pain, for the choice
is ours: “There is no need to learn through pain. And
gentle lessons are acquired joyously, and are remembered
Finally, courage is an essential ingredient to
living a happy life. It requires courage to allow
yourself to be genuinely happy. We do not yet reside in
a society that supports happy people. There are
countless support groups for those suffering, but not
for those who take risks, go beyond self-imposed
limitations and live life with gusto. Robert Anthony
once penned, "Most people would rather be certain
they're miserable, than risk being happy."
we can’t give what we don’t have, it will be difficult
to embrace another’s joy if we are not feeling good
about our own life. So if you are truly ready to be
happy, then you must accept that not everyone will
necessarily be happy for you. It all depends on
their perception of their own life. A wonderful
affirmation a friend passed on to me for living a
courageously happy life is: “I have the courage to be
In my own life, I have discovered there are certain
qualities that a “happy learner” possesses. They are
qualities which lead not only to happiness, but to
integrity, conviction and healing as well:
Taking Responsibility—realize you are not a victim
and are accountable for your thoughts, feelings and
actions, and everything that happens is occurring for
the unfoldment of your greatest good;
Clear Intention—become clear of what makes you
happy, making choices accordingly and setting a clear
intention that is in line with your life’s purpose;
Looking for Lessons—acknowledge that every situation
is an opportunity for growth and can be reframed in a
positive and healing manner, which reminds me of John
Barrie’s quote, “The secret of happiness is not getting
what you like, but liking what you get.”;
Appreciation—actively appreciating your life and the
people in it; practicing staying in the moment and
having reverence for life as something extraordinary and
Honesty—recognize your truth and speaking it with
sensitivity and love;
Compassion and Extension—being willing to give from
a place of beneficence without expectations or demands.
Express the courage to choose happiness. As you let your
own light shine, you give permission to others to be
© Copyright 2006 Laura Grace. All Rights
Read Laura's Past Columns:
"Turning Mistakes into Lessons"
Oct-Dec 2005- "Be
July-Sept 2005 - "Balancing Your Wheel of Life"
- "Imaginary Borders"
January-March 2005 - "Witnessing the Truth About Your
October-December 2004 - "Letting Go"
August-September 2004 - "Progressing with Passion"
June-July 2004 - "Deepening Your Spiritual Practice"
April-May 2004 - "Life's Crossroads: Love-vs-Fear"
January-February 2004 - "Faith the Foundation for
December 2003 Column - "Touching the Heart of Others"
November 2003 Column - "Knowing How to Care for
October 2003 Column - "Dreaming a Happy Life"
May 2003 Column - "Living the Authentic Life"
April 2003 Column - "Rising Above the Battleground"
March 2003 Column - "Healing Through Your
February 2003 Column - "Are You Going with the Flow?"
January 2003 Column - "Living the Soulful Life"
December 2002 Column - "The Power to Change"
November 2002 Column - "Peace Begins at Home"
October 2002 Column - "Spiraling to Higher Ground"
September 2002 Column - "Cradled in Nature's Arms"
August 2002 Column - "Recovering Your Soul"
is Co-founder of Infinite Wisdom, an organization
dedicated to the highest human capacity, and a
national author and speaker. She is also host of the
TV show "Relationship Wisdom." As a regular
contributor for publications across the U.S. and
Canada, Laura writes about human awareness and
spiritual growth. Laura is the author of the widely
acclaimed books The Intimate Soul and Gifts of the
Soul, and the creator and teacher of various
programs including the Self-Mastery Program, The Art
of Compassionate Forgiveness, Wonderful Women:
Reclaiming Our Power, Passion and Purpose, and
Cultivating the Intimate Life. Please visit Laura's
web site at:
spiritual counselor, Laura provides assistance in
person and by phone. You may contact her for a free