Life can be hard, it’s true. Nobody has an easy life. Even that girl in high school who seemed to have it all—the Barbie doll looks, the car, the money, the boyfriend—even she had problems. The reason why I believe that “life is hard” is a lie is because it’s the wrong thing to tell ourselves. Why should we label our whole life experience as hard when it doesn’t have to be? I do believe that life can have its difficult moments. I think we’ve all experienced difficulties that would make us agree that some of life is not easy. We need challenging experiences in order to understand opposition and to learn and grow. But life does not have to be a struggle. Life can be good. The truth is, it’s all in how we look at it.
Most of us believe in struggle, and it’s no wonder, since our lives began with struggle. “Birth itself leaves an imprint of pain and struggle…The birth process sets us up to believe that life is hard and that you have to struggle to survive.” (from Carol Tuttle’s Remembering Wholeness—she’s written all about this if you want to learn more…)
“…men are, that they might have joy.” (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:27) Your perception is your reality. If you believe life has to be a struggle, you are putting that energy out there and you will be validated. You will receive reasons to struggle. But if you believe, like God does, that you are here to experience joy and peace and fulfillment, you will send out that energy to the Universe and that is what you will receive. I’m not saying there won’t be hard things, difficult moments, situations to endure and learning experiences. Learning and experience are why we are here. But you can look at them in an old energy of struggle and pain, or you can look at them in a new way, believing that you can meet your challenges effortlessly and gracefully. You can look at them as a way of knowing what you don’t want, so that you have a better understanding about what you do want, and you can use your energy to create that.
I believe that the key to learning how to do this is to understand that you are not in it alone. God, your creator, your higher power, Source—whatever you want to call him—does not want you to struggle and have pain. He simply wants you to learn to turn to him. He can show you how to have joy. You were designed for joy.
Dallin Oaks, an apostle in the LDS church, wrote: “Our Creator wants us to be happy in this life. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “happiness is the object and design of our existence.” The things of the earth were created for our happiness. Modern revelation tells us that ‘all things which come of the earth … are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart.’ Even on the Sabbath, a day of worship, the Lord expects us to have ‘a glad heart and a cheerful countenance.’ A [Book of Mormon] prophet has called the gospel plan ‘the great plan of happiness.’”
How do we change our perception? My healing journey has taught me to “consider the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God” (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 2:41). The more negative I began to let go of in my life, the more positive and good began to come to me. Without the negative, I wanted to be good. I wanted to make better choices for myself. Underneath all of the negative that wasn’t me, I found the real me. And the real me wanted joy. I can now say that I am happy most of the time. When I start experiencing struggle, I have the ability to turn it around by changing the way I see it.
Even a child has the ability to identify a negative feeling, understand why they are feeling it, and make a choice to feel something different. It really is that uncomplicated. So make a choice now to be happy. Make a choice to allow life to become more joyful for you. You have the power to choose.
The following comes from an article in the Huffington Post: Bronnie Ware, author of The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying and a palliative care nurse who spent years working with elderly people on their deathbeds, noticed a common theme that came up repeatedly among her patients at the end of their lives: They regretted not “letting” themselves be happy. She writes: “Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again … Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.”