I’ve been thinking about happiness lately. I believe we all need to check in with ourselves every so often and ask how we’re doing.
Are you happy?
The answer tends to move around a bit. We respond with shifting qualifications:
“Yes, I’m mostly happy but…”
Most people aren’t being fair with themselves. Happiness, like life itself, ebbs and flows. This moment has nothing to do with yesterday or last year when you were promoted. Right now is completely detached from your divorce or that time you were fired from a job.
Dump your baggage. Nobody is forcing you to carry it.
We’ve heard it so many times we shrug it off as philosophical fluff but I’m here to tell you, it’s true:
You really are as happy as you decide to be.
My mother impressed this on me when I was a young child. I can hear her now as plainly and lovingly as when she said it sixty years ago:
“This can be a good day or a bad day,” she said. “It’s up to you.”
Mom inoculated me from life’s disappointments and tragedies. Oddly, it took 50+ years before it became a conscious realization that I could make my daily affirmation.
I’m not always happy, nobody is. That’s the beauty of it, the ebb and flow of our lives. You can’t fully experience joy or misery without knowing the other.
“You can’t be happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes”.”
So many people these days seem to crave sympathy for life’s ordinary challenges like having to do things they don’t want to do or simply waking up in the morning.
I wake up groggy and tired like everyone else but I’m thankful for waking up. I force myself to embrace each new day.
Decide to be happy.
I know that’s sappy (rhyme not intended but unavoidable) but the mere fact that you find so much in ordinary everyday life to whine about is a self-imposed disregard for one immutable fact:
“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
I wanted very much for this post to be inspirational, not preachy. I may have failed in that. But since we’re nearing the end, let me add one more idea about happiness that you can consider for yourself in your own good time:
Is griping useful? No. Is happiness infectious? Absolutely.
For your own sake and for those of us who have to deal with you and want to like you, choose happiness.
Dennis Prager often says we have a responsibility to others to be happy. I agree. To put it more bluntly:
Nobody wants to hear you whine. We all have problems. Smile and stop being a pain in the ass.
This can be a good day or a bad day, it’s up to you.