If someone were to ask you whether you want to be happy, you’d probably think they were crazy. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be happy? But what if someone were to ask the question a bit differently?

Are you willing to do whatever it takes to be happy?

Usually, that question gives people a reason to pause and seriously consider just how badly they want to be happy. Happiness can require some bold changes.

People often ask me how I’ve been able to create a life of happiness and abundance despite the death of my son, the financial devastation from the end of my marriage and my responsibilities as a caregiver for my son with disabilities and my new husband with progressive multiple sclerosis.

They see the hardships I’ve endured and the tough choices I’ve needed to make in order to be happy, and want to figure out how they can do the same thing. I’ll tell you, it wasn’t easy — it was a slow process, but I finally got through the darkness and re-emerged a more joyful person. That’s what led me to start my coaching practice and help other women who are struggling to find happiness and live a fulfilling life.

A great number of us share similar desires — we want to be appreciated, achieve personal fulfillment and have a partner with whom we can share experiences. We want to feel passion and peace. But for many, these goals seem unattainable. If you’re frustrated because you’re not living the life you imagined, it may be due to excuses you’re making. Some of these include deciding to postpone your own happiness for the sake of your kids and creating self-imposed perceived limitations due to societal pressure.

Yes, it is possible to be happy TODAY. But it will require you taking an honest look at yourself and answering these five questions:

1. Are you willing to admit your fears?

Can you unravel what you’re really afraid of and admit it, not only to yourself, but to a trusted friend, colleague or family member? It’s only when we start getting honest with ourselves that we can create true change.

2. Are you ready to make impactful changes?

Yes, change is scary. Whether it’s an alteration of social status, marital status or career, it’s going to require changing things up if you’re not happy or fulfilled. Sometimes, it’s smaller changes such as dealing with your teen in a different way. It might mean losing friends, having to move to a smaller house or even choosing to break ties with a family member who has addiction issues. Understand that you’ll never get different results if you continue to do things the same way.

3. Are you willing to make yourself a priority?

Thinking of yourself is not selfish — it’s self-preservation. Women are nurturers and we give our all to everyone, usually sacrificing our own dreams to raise a family and support our partner. Making yourself a priority is more than just having lunch with a friend or taking an exercise class. It’s committing to re-capturing your postponed dreams and living your life on your terms, even if that means shaking up your existing life.

4. Are you willing to invest in yourself?

This means physically, emotionally and financially. Often we forget about taking care of our own health because we’re too busy caring for our kids. We carve out our work schedules to accommodate our “mom” duties. We end up sick with stress because we keep sending our kids to summer camps and classes when we can’t afford it, because we don’t want to say “no.” We allow our partners to ignore us or treat us poorly because we forget that we deserve more. Your well-being is critical; it requires you to take an inventory of what you need — and get it.

5. Will you ask for help?

We don’t want to burden others with our problems. We’re ashamed to admit we’re struggling. This isolation can lead to depression. Yes, you can have the life you want — and, most importantly, you deserve it. Everyone feels they’re the only one struggling with a problem, but as soon as you reach out and admit how you feel, you will likely see that many other women are feeling the same way.



By Alison Jacobson for DivorcedMoms.com