Maybe this post should be happiness 2.0 since it always comes up in our conversations. If you think about it, though, what do we all want in this life? Universally, people will say, happiness. We want to be happy. It is always at the top of the list, right? Even the US Constitution guarantees us the right to pursue happiness. (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)
Think about it dearest friends. What makes you happy?
Is it the things we surround ourselves with? Is it family? Money? Material things that bring comfort and status? Is it love? A job? Your significant other? Or religious practices, faith, and beliefs? Sometimes it is easier, I think, to identify the things in our lives that make us unhappy. Unfortunately, for many of us, they are readily identifiable in this long list of questions.
You always hear that happiness is a choice. I’ve seen that phrase on posters, Pinterest, calendars, and even t-shirts. The thought sounds as if we can wake up every morning a just simply chose to be happy. Abe Lincoln is quoted as saying, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.” I sorta have to agree with ole Abe. I’m never one to over-simplify anything. If you don’t believe me, fill free to ask anyone close to me. I tend to over analyze everything, come to a conclusion, then ponder the situation some more. My Nanny used to tell me, I worried everything to death. I did this as a little girl, teenager, and continue to over think things as an adult, even when I try not to. Oh, how I miss her wittiness and words of advice. Alzheimer’s robbed her of this gift. But I digress. Where were we? Oh yes, making up our minds to be happy.
Here’s something to consider. If we were all on the same even playing field with our many of our basic needs met. I mean a home, food, a source of income to ensure continued basics be covered, the love of someone etc. Would you be happy? If I asked 100 of my friends to tell me their thoughts on this, I’d have 100 different answers. I think some would be happy and others would feel they needed more. Since we are all unique creatures we can have a million ideas on what would bring contentment into our lives.
Have you ever known a person who didn’t want to be happy? I have. You know who I’m talking about, the friend who professes to long for happiness, but despite everything can’t seem to find it. What causes someone to be wired this way? It certainly is beyond my comprehension. You know the scenarios just as I do. A person says she just wants to be happy, but makes choices that will only bring drama into her life. There are those who, when given the things the long for will ultimately screw them up. Because of them, you understand the phrase, “you could mess up a free lunch.” Do we just say, “To each, his or her own?” You can’t lawfully beat them about the head and neck until they get on the same page as you. You may want to, though. Don’t. People like this are highly frustrating but, you can’t change them.
The following are a few tidbits I hope you may take something from.
- If you tie your happiness to one person, you are in for a bumpy ride. I’ve don’t this very thing. In some of my past relatioships, I was so enthralled with my new love, I would become absorbed in his world. I, as Holly, didn’t exist. We as a couple did. His feelings were my feelings. His disappointments were mine. I had a bad day when he had a bad day. You know how two become one in the Bible? Well, it was like that to the 9th degree. Take this lesson in it’s proper context please. I believe it is fine and actually quite normal to recognize and acknowledge when the object of your affection is having a bad time. Be supportive, be kind and, be loving. But continue to BE. I failed to recognize I was still an individual. In essense, I gave away the control over my happiness. I gave it to my guy. Poor thing. It wasn’t like he asked for it. I chose to become a codependent nightmare.
- Don’t put too much emphasis on money or material possessions. I hate to confess this one to you, dear friends. It is a shallow shortcoming, but if you have read my blog you know I acknowledged and came to terms with this long ago. I’m not saying I tamed the beast completely. However, I’m far more practical now than I ever have been in the past in terms of wants vs. needs when it comes to accumulation of “things”. Here’s the lesson I learned years ago with regard to over spending. Because of my wants, I got into major credit card debt. Guess what? The card companies expect payment. It took several years to pay for Chanel shoes, Louis Vuitton bags, Pottery Barn furniture, trips and things I just couldn’t live without. Ugh, that was a sucky lesson to learn. I will admit I love nice things. Who doesn’t? I’ve always said, “I would rather have a few nice things than a whole bunch of junk.” I still say it, the difference now is I practice it. I have a walk in closet that is mostly empty. I’m proud of this fact. I own two pairs of winter boots, not 10. I have two handbags for each season. One is large and the other is small. To a girl this makes sense but, for my guy friends, you will just have to trust me on this. My point on this is, don’t tie yourself up with owning a lot of stuff. Too much is just too much sometimes. When within this busy world we live, will you have time to enjoy all your possessions? Sometimes less is more.
- Know who you are. Know your likes and dislikes. This is IMPORTANT. If you don’t know who you are how can you know happiness? Can you answer these questions? What is my favorite: candy bar, movie, color, food, animal, song, season, book, holiday etc. If you can’t answer these questions how can you know what you want? Are you settling for whatever comes along ? Just accepting something because it is ok or because you don’t hate it leads to lackadaisical thinking, not happiness.
- It’s ok to not feel like making lemonade. Just because life hands you lemons you don’t have to immediately make lemonade. This one is a bit tricky to get out of my head and to the keyboard. Bear with me. Ok, you don’t have to radiate joy 24/7 to be a happy person. Bad things will happen, sometimes to the extent ,your life’s paradigm is changed. You must deal with tragedy, disappointments, and loss. Grieve if you need to. Yell, cry, workout, talk to your therapist but don’t let it define who you are. Within each of us is the ability to adapt, overcome, and move one. I swear it is there. I promise you, my friends. I know this one is true. I came to rely more on God and less on my understanding of life events over the last few years. God and prayer helped me through the most difficult times in my life. It is because of His presence in my life, I chose to let go of the grief. I made choices to surround myself with love and positive people. I chose to take care of myself. I chose to remember the happy girl I once was. I chose to become her again. Do you see where I’m going with this lesson? Believe in something, let that faith help you.
Well, I made it through 4 lessons I learned on being happy. You know, Abe was right if you make your mind up, you will find a way to embrace happiness.
Daisies, Coffee, and Chocolate,