Happiness. We all want it. But happiness is not a product of what is happening in our world — instead, it is a condition or result of how we choose to think. And to be happy, we have to intentionally and purposefully clear out all fear and negativity, embrace happiness and make it our own.
Below we will explore 12 ways we let the darkness of negativity get a stronghold in our lives, blocking out the joy and happiness God has made available to us. To be truly happy we must change our way of thinking, step out of fear into faith and walk out of darkness into God’s light.
Habit #1: The Emotional Stronghold Of Responsibility
“I am responsible for everything that goes wrong and I am the person who keeps it all together. If things fall apart, it is my fault and my job is to prevent all bad things from happening.”
We blame ourselves for everything that goes wrong and do not allow other people to take responsibility for their actions.
Habit #2: The Emotional Stronghold Of Accomplishment
“My value is in what I do.”
We put pressure on ourselves to be perfect and live under an oppressive “should” shadow, always thinking what we should do in order to have value.
Habit #3: The Emotional Stronghold Of Peace-Keeping At All Costs
“I must peace-keep at all costs, even if this means not telling you how I really feel.”
We end up stuffing feelings and not telling people what we think or feel because we are worried about offending others.
Habit #4: The Emotional Stronghold Of Overwhelm
“If this gets uncomfortable, I want out!”
We panic when things become uncomfortable instead of trusting that we are learning valuable lessons. Instead, we need to realize that God is teaching us something in life that will prepare us for the next chapter in His journey.
Habit #5: The Emotional Stronghold Of Control
“Things must be in order my way!”
We have an idea of how we want things to be, and we get upset if things do not go our way.
Habit #6: The Emotional Stronghold Of Approval
“My value is in how you see me!”
We become upset when we think others are criticizing us.
Habit #7: The Emotional Stronghold Of Image
“My value is in how I appear and how I am received by the world.”
We give our power over to what other people think of us. We plug into people’s approval instead of plugging into God.
Habit #8: The Emotional Stronghold Of Entitlement
“I deserve, therefore I will take.”
We focus our lives on what we think we should have and don’t have instead of counting our blessings.
Habit #9: The Emotional Stronghold Of Self-Pity
“No one appreciates me and I never get what I want.”
When things do not go our way, we feel sorry for ourselves.
Habit #10: The Emotional Stronghold Of Negativity
“There is something wrong with everything and everybody.”
We focus on what is not going right or what people are doing wrong without seeing the things that are going well. Furthermore, we concentrate on problems instead of recognizing solutions.
Habit #11: The Emotional Stronghold Of Pride
“I must make others small so I can appear big.”
We point out the weaknesses or faults of others as a way to make ourselves feel better.
Habit #12: The Emotional Stronghold Of Being Right
“My way is the right way, and I feel more security showing you how wrong you are.”
With a need to be right we focus on how others are wrong.
If we attach to the negatives we will miss out on the positives. In Romans 12:2, we remember to “renew our minds” in the Lord, and by doing so we bring all darkness to light. If we feel miserable at certain points, we may need to shift from increasing negativity to building up praise. When we see the blessings, we stop feeding a pile of problems or negative views of the world. We step from praise into power and from fear into faith. We take back our happiness and stop fueling these negative habits of thinking, which can become emotional strongholds in our lives.