Where do you find your happy? So many of us spend our lives chasing it. Dreaming of it. Hoping for it. Waiting on it. Mourning the fact that it hasn’t come yet. Is it really that elusive? And what are we doing wrong that we keep losing our grasp on it?
I’m going to cut to the chase. Most of us make 2 major mistakes in this area:
Mistake #1: We look primarily to one person, place or thing for our happiness.
- Spouse or significant other
- Weight loss/fitness/perfect body
- Material possessions
- Occupational achievement
- Being liked by our friends/coworkers/peers
- Our Children
- Admiration or praise from others
When we put too much hope in one thing to make us happy, we are setting ourselves up for continual let-down. No one person/place/thing should be responsible for our happiness. Our mate is not going to make us ecstatically happy all the time. They are human and they will disappoint us. Regularly. And we will disappoint them, because that’s what human people do. Our bodies will not be perfect, no matter how hard we try. Far too many people have had unimaginable wealth, yet happiness eluded them. You get the picture.
We have become so comfortable in our culture that we can easily feed ourselves with external comforts. Yet where will contentedness come from when all else falls away?
Mistake #2: We expect to be too happy, too easily, too often, too instant, and/or too constant.
Our culture sets the stage for us to believe that we can be “happy”, but what does that even mean? Are we supposed to be able to live on this planet in constant bliss, never experiencing a single negative moment? Ok, so that’s extreme. What percentage is reasonable, though? 90/10? 80/20? 70/30? I would guess that if we asked people, they would say 50% happiness/50% unhappiness in life is unreasonable, that we should be “happier” than that. Could you be happy with that?
What about this . . . are you realistic about the percentages you are experiencing here on earth? You may feel like you’ve gotten the short end of the stick, but do you give the true “happy” times enough weight? Or are you too busy lamenting about your “no-so-happy” times to realize that your life has been pretty good overall? Have you given up because half your life is over and you don’t like your percentages so far?
I was born with a pretty happy disposition and I am so very thankful for that, but my life has not been a paved and easy road. It would be easy to nurse the victim mentality and find all kinds of people to jump on the bandwagon of negativity over it with me. I have moments, of course, where I want to, but I quickly realize how ugly that path is and turn back. I have learned how to find happiness in my soul and it truly is a peaceful path.
Once you find it, happiness is a mental attitude that must be fed regularly – by you. So sing the song, watch the birds fly, feel the sun on your face, feel the air enter your lungs, enjoy the calming smell of your morning coffee, talk to God. Learn how to be happy alone so that you can recapture it, even in the toughest moments of life.
Flipping the calendar from 2015 to 2016 isn’t going to bring happiness your way, learning what brings you joy and fulfillment each and every day just might. Give it a try!