05/21/2014 12:36 pm ET Updated Jul 21, 2014

Is Happiness Really a Choice?

I will answer that with a resounding "no." But do not fall into despair because there is a way for you to achieve lots of happiness and joy in your life and it's called fulfillment. It also it comes with all of the other emotions.


When people are fulfilled, they tend to be happier in general, experiencing all the great things life has to offer.

We often see people struggling to find themselves. Some post affirmations on Facebook, only later to complain things aren't working out. They're seeking a happy life and that simply doesn't exist. You cannot be happy all of the time.

We've all grown up with a common misperception: that lots of money, a prince charming, the attractive woman, or the perfect job will lead to "happily ever after."


And for years we saw images of movie stars and famous singers and we wanted their glamorous lives. But with information flowing 24 hours on the Internet, celebrities can no longer control their images and we see everything.

Lindsay Lohan, Justin Bieber and others found themselves in hot water with the law. Suddenly, their lives aren't so glamorous.

Money and fame can't guarantee happiness.

What you are looking for is fulfillment. Most folks don't realize this so they continue pursuing anything they think will make them happy. That's why in our society we drink too much, we eat more than we should and we medicate, either with prescription drugs or those of the illegal variety.

Happiness is an emotion, just like anger, fear or sorrow. And we need all of these emotions to cope with life. Too often we try to ignore some of these feelings but we find little success in doing so.

University of Houston sociologist Brené Brown says you can't selectively avoid emotions. During a TED talk, she added, "You can't numb those hard feelings without numbing the other emotions" such as joy, gratitude and happiness.

When you are fulfilled, you will still experience sorrow and perhaps anger from time to time. That's natural and totally human. Word of a dying loved one is sure to conjure sadness. And this is why the happy life is impossible.

It's okay to express these other emotions. What's not okay is to dwell on them. When a person feels fulfilled, he or she will naturally spend some time grieving over a loss, but will soon be able to resume life as usual.

So how do we achieve fulfillment?

1. Accept yourself.
Make a decision that you are worthy just the way you are. This may seem difficult at first but that's okay. Take it one step at a time. If you find things you don't like about yourself, consider changing them. You are, in your core, a great human being. However, we develop habits and ways of being that are not indicative of our true selves.

2. Live the life you desire.
It's tough being fulfilled if you are in a job you don't like or if you are holding back your true self to others. Don't live your life for somebody else. Choose a career path that works for you, and not because you are trying to please others.

3. Give back.
This is simple and so rewarding. You can donate money to a charity or you can give of your time. Giving can take your mind off the stressful things in life. It moves the focus away from you and toward another human being. Mentoring a young person is not only rewarding but can have a positive influence on that young person's life in a lasting way.

Start moving toward a life of fulfillment and you'll see just how great it can be!

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