Nathanael Garrett Novosel, June 5 2024

Choose to Have Meaning, Happiness, and Love for Yourself

Choice and control are interesting concepts. There are things within your control and things outside of your control. When you have capability or control, you then have a choice as to what to do. You can go left or right. You can choose to take care of your phone or throw it against the wall for no apparent reason. When you have control, you decide what happens to something.

Now, take things that you believe are due to external circumstances. Your happiness is based on whether you get that job or can go on that trip or get that relationship you have always wanted. Your sense of meaning and purpose is dependent on whether what you have to do or are asked to do by others matters to you. You only love yourself if you receive others’ approval. These aspects of your life are seemingly outside of your control because you require external factors to be in a certain way for you to feel them. Ironically, by doing so…you take something within your control (that you want to be within your control) and give it up.

There are three factors that determine your emotional state: your desires, your beliefs, and your experiences. There are controllable and uncontrollable aspects of each. For desires, you don’t control that you are a human who needs food, sleep, water, etc. and so you will want those things. You can’t do anything about that. For beliefs, you have a basic understanding of the universe and can’t really control many facts about this reality that we live in. For experiences, you will require certain experiences to live, such as eating, drinking, urinating, etc. to exist. So basic feelings of satisfaction, hunger, etc. will happen as a result of those basic life factors. However, anything outside of those uncontrollable pieces (and, technically, even some of the things within those boundaries) are within your control. You can choose to want a type of food, to go outside or stay inside, or to exercise. You can choose to believe that you can get a certain job or not. You can choose whether to have the experience of watching a movie or doing your homework. You choose so many things within your life that can influence your own emotional state.

As a result, you can choose happiness, meaning, and love by manipulating those three factors. You can do things that you are good at doing to feel good about yourself. You can eat your favorite foods to make you happy. You can work on a project with a tangible outcome that will make you feel progress in life. You can list all of the positive aspects of yourself and your life to be happy with and feel love and joy for your life. These decisions and actions are within your control to influence your emotional state.

Unfortunately, people unconsciously know enough about this to be dangerous: they have toxic combinations of desires, beliefs, and experiences and use them to self-sabotage. Instead of having a delicious, healthy meal that celebrates life, many people will eat a tub of ice cream to cope with the pain of loss. Someone might gamble excessively with a toxic combination of wanting money, holding negative beliefs about their reality, and experiencing life events that cause them to seek the high of a big bet. People use sex, drugs, and other means to manipulate their emotional state as an escape from their negative situations.

Note that this exact process can be done in a positive way. Many people go for a workout to reduce stress, and the resulting Endorphins are fantastic mood boosters. Others sleep, eat nutritious foods, or have a long talk with a friend to change their mood. There are plenty of positive ways to use this technique of changing your desires, beliefs, and experiences to increase the positive feelings you have about yourself and your life.

If all else fails, you can simply choose to be happy, to feel love, and to have meaning, and those desires, beliefs, and experiences will come out of the woodwork to justify your emotional state. For example, if you tell yourself that what you are doing matters, your brain looks for things to justify that belief. You will immediately realize, for example, that if you are working at a fast food restaurant that you are feeding people and allowing them to spend more time with their families instead of having to cook. Just the act of stating your intent to be happy, have meaning, or feel love will grant you reasons to feel that way. This is the power of your own mind that you have in your control.

So if you want to feel more happiness, love, and meaning in your life, choose to. Say that you have meaning, and what “meaning” means to you will reveal itself: it might be helping others, accomplishing a goal, or being recognized for your work. In that case, you can begin to behave in ways that you find meaningful. Say that you are happy, and you will think about why you’re happy: your friends, your family, your house, your car, your job, your hobbies, or your attitude. Say that you are worthy of love or that you love yourself, and you will begin to list the reasons why: you’re honest, ethical, loyal, a good listener, or a good storyteller. The reasons will find you.

You have more control over your life than you give yourself credit for. Take it, and make the choices that will make you happier and more fulfilled with your life.

Written by

Nathanael Garrett Novosel


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