Happiness is a wonderful thing. Most likely we would all say that we like to be happy (it’s certainly preferable to being miserable)! Happiness is a gift that should be treasured.
The problem with happiness, however, is in our understanding of it. Happiness is a great feeling, but where does it come from?
If we believe we can create others’ happiness, we will structure the environment and experiences to help them avoid disappointment, difficulty, frustration, and sadness. And when these negative experiences come—as they always will at some point—our loved ones feel as though we’ve let them down. Some go to the extreme of “shutting down,” or even believing that life isn’t worth living.
When happiness is the primary goal for our own life, we risk overlooking the needs of others and our potential ability to meet those needs. We rob ourselves of the joy that comes from persevering through difficulty and frustration, to experience satisfaction and contentment from a job well-done.
The reality is that the things, people, and situations that contribute to our happiness come and go, and even our ability to feel happiness in their presence may be inconsistent. And negative situations abound, threatening to destroy any tenuous happiness that may reside within us.
I believe a better goal for ourselves and our loved ones is to “learn how to be happy.” If we learn (and teach others) that happiness is more closely linked to our own choices than it is to the things others do and say, we can work on developing strategies which govern our positive choices, such as:
- Managing stress (and our emotions) effectively
- Thinking positively
- Identifying our needs, and finding effective ways to get them met
- Valuing the people in our lives who are the basis our “supportive relationships”
- Reaching out to others by contributing our time, talents, and other gifts
- Learning skills to build and maintain effective connections with other people
- Learning from our experiences (both the positives and the negatives) so that we can continue to make better choices in the future
- Recognizing the natural “ebb and flow” in life, and dedicating ourselves to continuing to move forward, using each new day to identify and respond to new opportunities
I found this “inciteful” quote online:
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes their way.
Here’s hoping you and those around you can make the most of everything that comes your way this week…with lots of happiness along the way!