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How to Be Happy Regardless of Your Circumstances

Did you know that happiness comes in 'threes?'
When we think our life is on a downward slope we often regard ourselves as a victim of it. We act as if happiness is somewhere out there, and react as if we are at the mercy of our circumstances. With this perspective we experience one rough spot after another. Some of us manage to deflect despair by employing the old belief that things come in "threes." Our solution is that if we can maneuver through the succession of mishaps, our luck is sure to turn around.
There is little truth to this superstition. However there may be some value in the theory of 'threes' that can be applied to durable happiness and help us to be more than merely a victim of our circumstances.
There are three facets to happiness:
1. The Pleasurable Life
Happiness and positive emotion derived from material things and conveniences.
Although these types of pleasures are enjoyable, alone they offer a sense of fulfillment that is often fleeting, leaving us wanting more.
2. The Good Life
Happiness generated by a sense of engagement, passion, and flow inspiring us to work hard for a particular cause that leads us to deep satisfaction from a hard-earned goal. This was the motivation for the contributions made by Edison, Einstein, Salk, astronauts and mountain climbers.
3. The Meaningful Life
Happiness built upon positive core values and a sense of purpose that supports the common good and where joy is accessible regardless of circumstances. Examples of this facet of happiness include Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama.
Durable happiness is ours when we balance these facets.
The keys that assist us in creating this balance come in another set of 'threes':
1. Choice
The first key is to know that we are not victims of life and can choose where we place our focus. We may not always be able control our circumstances, but we always have control over how we view them.
2. Accountability
The second key is to be accountable by having our words, actions and intentions match. This means that we must get clear about our own definition for success, our own values, and our own self-worth before we balance them with the expectations of others.
3. Response - ability
The third key is one's ability to respond rather than react to life's challenges. It is our responsibility to develop compassion, patience, forgiveness, and acceptance to live a more meaningful life.
Simple reminders come in 'threes' to help us apply what we have discovered about authentic happiness:
1. Focus on what's working in your life rather than what is not, empowered by knowing you have a choice.
2. Make it a point to love yourself as much as you love others, knowing that to be authentic you cannot give from an empty cup. Use gratitude as your antidote for worry as you count your blessings often, trusting that love is the answer to every question.
3. Life is not by luck or by chance, you are not a victim of your circumstances and the best things in life aren't things. Happiness is yours not only when you reach a specific destination or goal. It is durable through a three-fold journey of pleasure, flow, and meaning. The choice is yours to savor it every step of the way.
And, remember, third time's the charm.
Rhonda Hull, Ph.D., an innovative mentor, speaker and author of Drive Yourself Happy: A Motor-vational Maintenance Manual for Maneuvering Through Life, nudges willing women to transform their relationships with health, worth, wealth, success and happiness, showing it is possible, even in this crazy world. Visit Rhonda at: http://www.driveyourselfhappy.com, email:
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