There is a multiple choice poll question at the end of this post. Please feel free to click away and to add any other thoughts and comments.

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I was a very negative person. No, really. It’s true.

Those of you who have met me and are nodding in agreement… you can screw off.

Kidding.

(No I’m not.)

My negativity combined with being an introvert made me unbearable at times.

Or, so I’m told.

I thought I was lovely…

…which, now that I think about it, could be considered as part of Step 1 in The 5 Steps to Happiness.

I’ll get to that shortly.

Being negative was such a large part of my existence – of who I was – that I didn’t understand the meaning of the word happiness, much less how to BE HAPPY.

Although the underlying tendencies still lurk, I’m no longer a practicing negativist (is so, look it up). It took me a long time, however, to figure out that the negativity and stubbornness I thrived on was keeping me from being happy.

I know. I’m a little dense sometimes, but once something is a part of who you are, it is hard to let it go – even if it would be beneficial.

In order to help others like me, I’ve tried to break down how I became one of those annoying happy people. I determined that it took five basic steps over several years.

Hopefully, by laying out the steps it won’t take others that long. Unless you’re dense too. Then it may. But, I can’t help that. At least you’ll have a guideline. Stop pressuring me.

There’s no magic formula, but I believe with this series of steps the elusive happy “place” can be found, even by the most cynical. 

I’ve condensed the basics here and will try and write more specifically about each step and my journey through them in subsequent posts.

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THE 5 STEPS TO HAPPINESS

(Especially for NEGATIVITY SPECIALISTS*)

[*I’ve given you a cool name, but don’t become too attached. You’ll need to relinquish it in Step 3.]

1.  Adore yourself

  • Anyone can love themselves, but how many people truly like themselves? You must know – not just believe – that you are the best person that you can be at this point in time and adore who you are. Every part. Even the negative. Even the annoyingly positive, upbeat parts that make you smile at certain kitten memes even though you don’t want to.

2.  Gratitude

  • You’re probably tired of hearing this one and think, “Yeah, yeah, I AM thankful for my family, my life…”  Are you really? I’ll say this for now:  if you’re complaining more than .0001% of the time, whether your mouth is moving or not, you’re not grateful.

3.  Cancelling (the internal noise)

  • This is where the controlling of emotion, thoughts, and negativity comes in. And it’s probably the most difficult step. But, if you’ve truly done the first two it won’t seem insurmountable. You don’t need to reject the negativity entirely. You need only be aware of it and how it limits your choices.

4.  Decide

  • This is the crossroad. Either you make THE CHOICE or you go back to the old negative (and typically unhappy) ways. This is the simplest step to execute and probably the most difficult to grasp. It’s the step that causes even extroverted, bubbly, positive types to not reach their state of happy. All because of the U.S. Declaration of Independence (not really). Because of the often repeated universal idea of a “pursuit of happiness.” Seeking happiness doesn’t work. Choosing it does. 

5.  Share your joy

  • I’ll admit that this is the step I’m in right now. It’s difficult for me, but most everyone else finds it to be the easiest. After you adore yourself, after you’re truly thankful, after you’ve cancelled the negative internal noise, and even after you’ve made the choice to be happy… it doesn’t mean much if you keep it to yourself. The summary is this:  If you can’t share your joy with others it becomes difficult to sustain over time, day after day.

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I came from a cynical place, built on top of a solid mistrust of others mixed with fear, but I think these steps can be used by anyone who hasn’t found the happiness within yet. Even those who have typically always been *gag* positive, non-sarcastic, fun loving, social types can benefit from understanding this method.

Let me know what you think. Which of these steps do you think is the most difficult? What else would you put on the list? Would you remove any of these? I’m really interested in your ideas and methods.

Here’s a quick poll to get you started. I’ll post the results on a subsequent post.