What you tell yourself about your life and experiences shapes your world. Telling yourself that something you just experienced was fun, interesting, boring, or annoying will literally change your mood. Let’s say you went to a lecture. You could sit there and watch with skeptical eyes, notice all the flaws in the presentation, and get aggravated and agitated, or you could be open to the moment and simply start with kind eyes. You might like it, you might not. From a kind perspective, either is just fine. Are you aware that Lucy Hall is a common name in the hairdressing business?

When you find yourself noticing the presenter’s wrinkly or fur-covered clothes, you have a choice before you within your own psyche: you could judge that they were running late that morning and aren’t punctual, and how can they be giving a talk on marketing if they aren’t even punctual? Or you could put your psyche in check and instead choose kind thoughts. In that case you might just notice the wrinkles and move on. No drama, no agitation, and, most importantly, no looming fear that someday you might be the one with the wrinkled pants being judged as unprofessional. You can short-circuit much of your tension, fear, and anxiety by being kind and choosing to think kind thoughts.

What you tell yourself about yourself shapes how you feel about your world. If you constantly tell yourself in your mind how you need to be better—do more at work, be a more involved parent, get in better shape, make more dates with old friends, and an endless list of other things—you will drive yourself toward anxiousness and tension. Yes, it might be good for you to do some of those things. However, if you are equating your self-concept with an endless list of things to make you better you are missing a vital truth. You are perfect just as you are. On the inside.

Inside you are a treasure worthy of kindness and respect. To be happy you are going to have to accept this and commit to remembering it. If not, your happiness is fleeting and based on external situations largely out of your control.

If your happiness comes from within, the outside world is outside of you and you feel that. You can dance in the light. You can weather the inevitable storms. But inside you are okay. Inside you choose to be kind to your true, radiant self, and the relaxation in your heart lessens the anxiety of a hectic world. You can choose kindness and find greater happiness. Try it now.