I opened my eyes this morning to the bright smile of my daughter. Her eyes were wide and her energy was high as she woke me and said Good Morning! I said "Well, aren't you a happy girl!!" Her response? "Well of course daddy!".. I got out of bed and headed towards the kitchen to make homemade french toast. As we prepared to make our breakfast, we dunked the bread into the mix we made and placed it onto the griddle, she giggled at me and said "Daddy, you forgot the spray.. its going to stick" as she laughed out loud.. She was right!
After breakfast I had a minute to sit down while she was eating and I thought about the happiness she displays yet it seems that for every person I know who is happy, I see or hear of at least ten who are not. A quick glance at my Facebook feed will bring up at least one or two pretty quick. "I hate my job" kind of comments. I wondered, why does my daughter have so much happiness where as others have little to none at all.
Generally speaking, most children are happy as are those who ware intellectually disabled. Now, I am not a psychology major nor do I claim to know the science behind those who are happy and others who are not. You see, they don't connect to the world around us in the way in which we connect. I think this is a blessing really.
Go ask a child why they are you so happy. I am willing to bet they will tell you they don't know. They are just happy. Doesn't that sounds like a great place to be? Now, fast forward 15-20 years and ask someone why they are happy, your response will be totally different. Things like modern marketing and the mindset of "keeping up with the Jones" have driven us to think that the things or "stuff" we buy will make us happy. "If only I had… I could be happy" … How many times have you heard that? When they happen to get what they thought would make them happy, they end up not being any happier than they were before. This is the pursuit of happiness in my mind.
Instead of a lifestyle of happiness we seem to have a "pursuit" for happiness, as if it were a goal. Why do we need to pursue happiness when happiness can be had, right now? There are people who don't have a roof over there, food on the table and a job who are not as happy as some homeless people who have nothing. Why? Because they are thankful what what little they do have. They are thankful to be alive.
Don't go out and try to buy happiness because honestly, we can't buy it as happiness is not extrinsic. Instead, happiness is intrinsic, it is what we have inside us. Instead of looking out at the world to find happiness, I challenge people to look within. Find happiness not in what you don't have but what you do have, right in front of you. You can always find happiness in gratitude, not attitude toward what you don't have.
If you lead a life of gratitude, you will be thankful for what you have and will be a genuinely happier person. When you are happy, people will like you more, you will push away negative people and I would even be willing to bet better things will come your way.
We only have one life, how do you plan to live it? Remember, being happy is a choice just as being mad that the world or the people within it treat you unfairly.. what choice will you make?