Are You Happy?
The third week in January is “Hunt for Happiness Week.” In light of that, I thought I’d do a blog a few days early so you can go and look at the materials for the week by the group that started the week. Or, you can just get a jump on the week by yourself now.
First, let’s define happiness from the dictionary. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says it’s a state of well-being and contentment. A Google search reveals that synonyms include:
contentment, pleasure, contentedness, satisfaction, cheerfulness, cheeriness, merriment, merriness, gaiety, joy, joyfulness, joyousness, joviality, jollity, jolliness, glee, blitheness, carefreeness, gladness, delight, good spirits, high spirits, light-heartedness, good cheer, well-being, enjoyment,
Where Does Happiness Come From
The history of this word means that happiness comes from what happens to us. Today we know that happiness is only
Life’s Little Moments
Life’s little moments, even life’s seasons can be good or bad. They can even be devastating, but these moments don’t need to define us. Our character defines us. Our actions define us.
A number of years ago I was asked to be the accountant for a mid-sized property management company. Their accountant had increased their rates over the years to the point that it was draining their resources. They wanted someone who could do everything, including taxes. I don’t do taxes. I mean I was trained. I used to do them. But when the book of tax changes alone started to be as big as our big-city yellow pages at that time (over 2 inches thick), I walked away. Not be because I couldn’t do them. There are computer programs to do them. But just the thought of how complicated the government makes taxes and how many exceptions written in government double-talk there were, it just made me angry and gives me a headache. So I walked away. I have a friend, though, who lives and breathes taxes and tax law. I’ve sent people to him with complicated tax situations where other tax professionals messed up their taxes big-time and they felt SO at ease when he was done. I went with one of my cleints and when we walked out of the door he said he felt like he had been given a relaxing massage. What he had been stressing over, dreading, worrying about would all be handled by my friend. So I called this friend. He said, sure, let’s do this together.
I got a bunch of preliminary information from the prospective client. I worked up an Excel Spreadsheet with interview questions and formulas so as he answered our questions, the information he gave us filled in estimated time to do the work. By the end of the interview, we would be able to give him a contract to sign. My friend and I met at a restaurant and went over the worksheet. He looked at how I had it set up and said it was perfect. I added his section. We tweaked and practiced it. We role-played the coming appointment. We were ready. This contract was a big deal for me. This one contract alone would pay ALL my monthly bills.
We went to the appointment. We did the interview. I filled in the form. My friend and I went over the spreadsheet
Back at my friend’s office, we went over what we did, the price, etc. He said something profound to me. He said he always asks the following questions: Did I do anything wrong? Was I honest and fair? Was it a wrong fit? What could I have done differently? What will I do differently in the future? I went from an emotional state to an analytical state. We were honest and fair. We were a good fit. We didn’t do anything really wrong, but we could have done something differently: We could have filled out the contract and left it with him saying we’d swing by later in the afternoon when his brother got back to pick up the contract. They would have signed it before their accountant even got a chance to meet our price. Instead we left the door open for what happened. In the future we knew how to better handle the situation.
We often let emotions dictate our life. While happiness is an emotion, WE choose what we focus on and what we focus on determines our prevailing emotions. In the scenario above I could have focused on what we lost and what I did wrong. Instead my more experienced friend brought me to the analytical state. It became a teaching experience. We came up with an action plan for future interviews. Now I understood my other client’s reaction of, “I felt like I got a relaxing massage” when I left his office.
Look for the Good, the Silver Lining
When I was a child and went whining to my grandfather about something, he’d always find a silver lining. My grandfather didn’t allow whining or complaining. He liked things positive. Scripture tells us in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brother and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things and the God of peace will be with you.” In the movie Bambi, Thumper’s mom said,
But He/She Did…
What another person does still doesn’t dictate our feelings. We’ve heard it said a thousand times, we choose how we act. Or, “Act, don’t react.” We give the other person power over us if they dictate how we feel or act.
How to “Feel” Better About People
Want to have better feelings about those around you? I heard Bible teacher Billye Brim talk about how she changed her attitude about and toward her husband. Apparently, he was a gruff man. He didn’t pay any compliments to her. He expected things done a certain way at a certain time and didn’t want to hear her talk. Talking to him earlier in their
Then one day she got a revelation. He was going on with his life and she was stressed, upset and unhappy. She didn’t want their marriage to be this way.
I Tried It
So I tried it. Do you know what happened? The good overtook the bad. In fact, there are things that my daughter says happened that I don’t remember anymore. Those things I do remember, I don’t have any emotion about anymore. I was cleaning a closet a few months back and found some old journals during a really dark time. I started to read and realized that I didn’t have any memory of those things happening. I had chosen to focus on the good a long time ago and the bad faded away.
“I Tried to Forget”
Don’t “try to forget” the bad, that’s just focusing on it. When people say they “tried to forget and it doesn’t work,” it’s because they were focusing on trying to forget whatever they were trying to forget. That just doesn’t work. You must focus on the good and the bad will fade away. Trust me, believe me, it works!!
Hunt for Happiness
So how are you going to hunt for happiness this week? What can you do to bring more joy in your life? More laughter? How can you be the initiator of happiness in your house?
While researching this topic, I came upon the original creator of this “Hunt for Happiness Week.” She has all sorts of things on their site to help you Hunt for Happiness” this upcoming week. They have projects you can do with the kids – all sorted by age. Here’s their website:
I’m Not a Naturally Happy Person
There are some people who are naturally happy. They wake up happy. They let the bad just wash over them like water over a duck’s back. I remember my dad’s cousin Marlene. There was ALWAYS fun to be had at their house. They LAUGHED over there. They had fun over there. They had a piano in the basement – the kind with rollers so the music played automatically. We’d go down there and have FUN. We’d sing and eat and have fun. Those who knew how to dance would “cut a rug” down there. I understood why my dad choose to be on a bowling team with them. My great aunts up north always had fun, too. The couples would get together and play cards and just laugh and have fun. It didn’t matter if it was at the farm or at the lake house of my other great-aunt’s, everyone laughed and had FUN.
You Have to Make the Choice
Happiness is a choice. You decide if you’re going to be happy. Sometimes happiness means there’s some work. While my great-aunts’ houses were always clean, whoever was hosting would make sure there were food and beverages for the evening. They made sure they had the game of the night all set out and ready to go. If the car needed gassing before the trip to the lake house, Uncle Walt did that in the afternoon so we wouldn’t be late. They planned their fun. Or, better said, they made the proper arrangements so that the environment for their evening was ready for fun. If you’ve ever gone to Disney or some other big vacation, you make the arrangements. You have a plan for your fun. Don’t just waste that planning on big trips that only happen once in a while. Make arrangements for fun every day.
I had planned this to be a very short post and here I rambled for a long time.
How are you planning to be happy? What makes you happy? Need some ideas? Check out this page:
For No Other Reason
Happy people live longer. They live healthier. They have much less stress. So, if for no other reason, choose to be happy, hunt for happiness for you health.
Until next time…
#HHW2019 #Happiness #HuntforHappinessWeek #Joy #fun