Happiness comes to those who choose to be happy, but many people wait needlessly for permission to be happy. Permission is nothing more than someone else's approval--but as simple as it is, it keeps them from succeeding and being happy.

So this is a simple reminder.

No one can force you to be happy; no one can force you to do anything you don't want to do. But permission starts with you.

Why not take the lead and give yourself permission.

1. Permission for acceptance. Acceptance doesn't mean you have to give something else up, just that you a give yourself permission to be happy and to accept what is happening for you right now this moment. Acceptance says it may not be what you want it to be, but for now it's OK. Happiness is a state of mind, not always a state of being. Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.

2. Permission to be imperfect. Let's be honest--perfect isn't real. if you want to be happy, embrace your imperfections. Nothing ever great comes from being perfect, because perfect actually doesn't exist. Everything is complicated, messy and uncertain, and it's up to us to make the best of what we have and find happiness in it. Don't let perfectionism steal your happiness.

3. Permission to keep the blues in their place. Your emotions are a big part of who you are, but the blues can make everything gray. Don't allow the blues to create your experiences; know that they are part of you, but not the full sum of who you are. Think positive thoughts and positive things will happen. Likewise, blue thoughts will permeate everything you do and think. Life only comes around once, so don't stay stuck in the blues. Do things that make you happy and be with people who make you smile.

4. Permission to choose. Sometimes we get so caught up in pleasing others that we forget ourselves. The element of choosing for ourselves is a major source of happiness. Think of what you want and then make the right choices for you. Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response.

5. Permission to try new things. If you are stuck in the same old routine and you're looking for a way to shift, it starts with giving yourself permission to try something new. We are all so scared of doing anything we are not familiar with, and the last thing we want is to do something we might fail at. And it's true, you may not excel--at first, anyway--but if you don't try you're cutting yourself off from things that can make you happy.

6. Permission to take a chance. The chances we get are not always the ones we want. But to scale the ladder of happiness you have to give yourself permission to take chances, to welcome risks, to go to the edge of your discomfort zone where you normally wouldn't go. And when you do, the rewards can increase tremendously. Don't be afraid to give yourself everything you always wanted.

7. Permission to take action. Many people assume happiness is mostly a matter of inborn temperament. We are born happy, but once we're grown and out in the world we discover that true happiness comes from taking the steps to be happy. The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.

What permission are you waiting for? What can you free yourself to do right now?