"My happiness is up to me. It's up to me to have a good day"
I had a little wooden plaque with these words inscribed onto it and kept it on my dressing table for years. It was a thought provoking message to ponder as I began my day. It helped me to keep things in perspective, to learn the hard lessons that I couldn't allow someone or something destroy my self-composure or derail my day. I like to think it had a positive impact.
More recently, I came across this and think it’s worth sharing:
“There are more than 7 billion people on the planet and you’re going to let one of them ruin your day? Don’t!
And then there’s this:
Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” Nathaniel Hawthorne
Perhaps Hawthorne’s observation is the best. We shouldn’t try too hard. We should just be still and let happiness happen.
Happiness was so important to our country’s founding fathers they designated ‘it’ an unalienable right in The Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Happiness and the pursuit thereof is undeniably a big part of the business of being human. Unfortunately, the pursuit of happiness proves to be an elusive one to a lot of people.
So, what is happiness? What is it not? How do you get happiness? Why is it so many people want to be happy, but aren’t, in spite of the fact it’s free for the taking?
This is no doubt a complex question with many and varied answers, and I don't claim to have the answers, but here are just a few that might help many of us find the joy, contentment and happiness we want:
Find a hobby or pastime you enjoy. Become a creative person engaged in a creative endeavor. If you love your job, that’s great. If you don’t, maybe you should look for a new one. But become engaged in something. People with intense concentration lose all sense of time, don’t feel anything, are “one with the music”; time stops.
Another path to happiness is living a meaningful life. Know your strengths and use them in the service of something larger than you are. Not only does service to a larger purpose than one’s self foster altruism, but it takes us out of our own ego and stretches consciousness into something larger than it would be otherwise.
Be mindful. Live in the moment. Learn to savor the good things, the little things, in life. We all need to nurture a sense of gratitude for what we already have. For we already have so much!