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11 Keys to Achieving
Genuine Happiness

by Christine Lewis, PWCG Founder

Who doesn’t want GENUINE happiness? I don’t think anyone volunteers to be unhappy all of the time. There are many people who fake it till they make it, but I’m willing to bet that most of you don’t really want to fake anything. It’s exhausting, and the last thing even remotely connected to genuine happiness. Here’s a bonus, before we even dive into these 11 keys. True happiness cannot be achieved if you aren’t first happy with yourself. You need to learn to be enough for yourself and others. You can tell the difference between those with fake happiness and those with genuine happiness. People naturally gravitate toward those with genuine happiness because they want to know what they’re missing out on that these happy people possess. Yet look at the life of someone like Robin Williams. Can you be genuinely happy AND sad at the same time? Yes. I think that’s true. In fact, I wonder if anyone is genuinely 100% happy 100% of the time. Life doesn’t work that way. We’re meant to experience ALL of the emotions normal human beings possess. Guarding ourselves from our true emotions is doing the OPPOSITE of achieving genuine happiness. That said, I personally want to be GENUINELY happy. If you do too then read on for 9 keys to achieving genuine happiness. 

1) Be Happy With What You Have

Have you ever noticed how the richer most people get the sadder they seem to be? I’m not saying it’s all sunshine and unicorns to be poor, but I challenge you to spend time around someone who you consider poor and compare their genuine happiness with someone who appears to be rich. Keeping up with appearances is exhausting. The richer someone appears to be, the more fake their smile seems to be, and the less genuine of a personality they tend to possess. Yet, I’ve been in poor neighborhoods where people take joy in the most simple of moments. People trying to appear a certain way are always chasing something elusive: the next iPhone, the bigger and better car, the cooler crowd. People we consider “poor” have learned to take joy in the simple things: a dance in the parking lot before a big high school game, standing in the rain and soaking it in, having friends they know are there for them because they genuinely care for them rather than because they have money. We all die one day, yet many people I know who have received a dire diagnosis have been happier than most other people I know. Are they scared? Do they hate being sick? Of course. But they also really seem to understand just how precious life itself actually is. Why is that? It’s simply because they feel blessed to have another day to be with their family and friends and truly EXPERIENCE LIFE. Experiencing life isn’t about acquiring things. It’s about being in the moment and experiencing it for all it can give.

2) Be Happy for Other’s Successes

 

This is one I find hard to do myself. It’s not because I’m jealous of them. It’s quite the opposite. If someone I know has really made it into the big league, or they’ve appeared to move into a better neighborhood, or they have a new car, or they went on a vacation, I wonder if they’re really happy, or if they’re simply chasing after something elusive. I’m happy for them, if they’re happy. Yet I’m sad for them if the only reason they’re posting pictures of their Disney trip, or their Caribbean vacation, or their new house, is because they’re keeping up with appearances. If you’re struggling to be happy for others because you’re jealous, you need to realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. What did they have to sacrifice to get what they have? Why did they work so hard for what they have? I prefer to cheer for them from a distance, and then move on. 

3) Look for the Good in People

Sometimes, when you look for the good in people you’ll still find a lot of bad. That said, always looking for flaws in others is ALWAYS going to guarantee that you find flaws. What you have to ask yourself is WHY you’re so critical of others. People who tend to be critical of others also tend to be critical of themselves. The reason they’re so critical of others is because they want to feel like they’re not so bad. Someone else is worse. They’re constantly in a comparison game. Are you going to be disappointed if you shift your search to looking for the good in others? Maybe. Yet, if you treat people like you see the good in them more than you see the bad, people want to rise to the level you see in them. By believing in the good of others you often nurture it into becoming more and more of a reality.

4) Learn to Surrender What You Can’t Control

You can’t deny your cancer diagnosis, or the treatment you’ll have to endure, or the side effects. Yes. It sucks. It sucks to get a cancer diagnosis. It sucks to worry about whether or not you’re going to be here 5 years or 10 years into the future for your family and friends. It sucks to worry about what the treatment is going to do to your body, or how you’re going to live a “new normal” in the aftermath of treatment. It is what it is. I’d rather love life than sit still and let the suckiness of circumstances take any more from my life than it already has. As a Christian, I also give that burden of suckiness over to God. He wants us to give Him our burdens so we can move on and live as abundantly as possible.

5) Focus on What You CAN Control

Getting a cancer diagnosis was not something we volunteered for. Having to get treatment is not necessarily in our control either. Side effects suck, but we usually have to deal with them along with treatment. What is under our control is the type of treatment we choose, the care team we choose, and the lifestyle we choose to practice in order to optimize our treatment and prognosis. Instead of wallowing in worry and self-pitty we can shift our focus to what we can do to make things better for ourselves. I’m not saying things will be hunky dory, but they’ll be 50%+ better than not making any moves toward becoming healthier and happier.

6) Clean House

I’m not talking about physically cleaning your house, but getting rid of things that don’t bring you joy does make a lot of sense. It makes even more sense in our daily lives, with circumstances and people we don’t absolutely HAVE to accept. If you’ve looked for the good in people and they constantly let you down, and they’re not your dependents, it may be time to find a new environment. Even if it’s a family member you’re not responsible for, if they continue to disrespect boundaries you’ve established you don’t HAVE to put up with that. If you have a boss that isn’t seeing your value then it might be time to start sending out resumes. If you’re going to a church where you don’t fit in or feel like you’re growing, find another church or way to personally grow. I have a personal experience to share. My neighborhood has a Facebook page. I thought I had to be a part of it so I wouldn’t miss out on things going on in my community. I found that many people on that page were fake, rude, and just not the type of people I want to waste my time with. There was a situation exploding on that page. I let myself get tangled up in the drama. Then I finally decided to step away. It feels so good to free myself from things like that that don’t really matter. I challenge you to do the same with social media. If someone only shows up on your personal page to make negative comments there’s always a delete button.

7) Look for Blessings

Just as in the case of looking for the good in people, look for the good in LIFE. In the same way, if you’re constantly complaining about life, you’ll only see the suckiness of life. Look beyond the suckiness. What’s beautiful about life? If you must, start small until the habit of looking for blessings in life is so engrained in you that it’s second nature. Some people don’t even see the blessings right in front of them because they’re too busy trying to acquire more things they think will bless them. The heart-breaking truth is that they’ve cheated themselves out of the blessings they already had. Even more heart-breaking is that many of those blessings are the family and friends around them who want to spend more time with them. 

8) DIG For HIDDEN Blessings

Most people don’t say that getting cancer was a blessing for them, but some will actually come out and say those very words. They’re not saying the cancer itself was a blessing. They’re saying the lessons and wake up calls cancer brought with it are blessings. It’s a blessing to learn what true friendship is. It’s no fun finding out that a friend you thought was genuine caves under the worry of how to be your friend, or simply acts oblivious and flippant. Yet it’s a BLESSING to find NEW friends who “get it”. It’s a blessing to discover just how devoted a spouse is if he stays with you through your diagnosis, treatment, and “new normal”. It’s not a blessing to have thought you had a devoted spouse, but then finds he abandons you. It’s a blessing to know that you’re no longer wasting your time with fake people. You’ve been freed to spend your time with genuine people. You’ve been blessed to see who the genuine people are. My minds goes back to collecting sand dollars from the Outer Banks as a kid. When I was younger it was easy to find them. Now I go to the beach and I’m lucky to find them even if I did. Yet I’d rather bring a sand dollar home from the beach than I would to buy one from the store any day. There’s something about finding them in their natural environment that speaks to me. They’re a symbol of un-manufactured blessings. 

9) Take Good Care of Yourself

 It’s hard to have a positive attitude when we don’t feel on top of our health. It’s even harder when we’re cancer survivors. While we can’t reverse the clock and go back to the way things were before a cancer diagnosis, we can choose to take positive actions toward our own personalized optimal health. It may not be what it used to be, but it can still be optimized to our “new normal” and help us have an abundant quality life post-cancer. You can follow me here to find more tips and ideas for achieving maximized health post-cancer, or join my website where I provide premium access to a content library. 

10) SMILE

I find it funny how I’ll be afraid to make eye contact with a stranger in the grocery store, especially if they don’t seem to be seeking eye contact from me, and I choose to hold my gaze and share a smile. Ninety-nine percent of the time the person will smile back at me. If they had a sour look on their faces, they no longer have that look. It makes me smile even more. I don’t know if they were in deep concentration, or if they really had a horrible day, but the act of smiling cheered them up. It also added to my bank account of feeling blessed rather than further depleting from it. Knowing I made someone else smile makes me smile even more. We could use more smiles in our world. 

11) What Are You Waiting For? Do What You Love!

You may already have a passion. Or you have a bucket list of things you want to do in this life. Or you have both a passion and a bucket list. So what are you waiting for? Keep doing what you LOVE, and keep checking off those bucket list items. What? It’s too expensive? Maybe you need to go back and reflect on why certain items are on your bucket list. Is it because you want the experience for what it truly is, or is it to impress someone else? Not every bucket list item or passion has to cost money. The point is to not waste any more of these precious moments. Live life in the present. It truly is a gift. 

Thank you for stopping by!

Myself

About Me

When I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in 2015 I wanted my journey with breast cancer to have a purpose. First and foremost, my family was my motivation to fight this disease. I made a lot of lifestyle changes so that I can be around for my family for many years to come, but I also felt inspired to archive my journey so that others could benefit from what I’ve learned and applied.This was why Pink Warrior Calendar Girls was founded.

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