You know the old joke about the weather, right? Everyone talks about it but no one ever does anything about it. In the area of Self Help, our “weather” is definitely happiness. Everyone has it on their mind, and it comes up frequently in conversation. People want to talk about it, and they most definitely want to possess it, but when it comes to doing anything about it….. they kind of fade into the background. The reason might be that they just don’t know HOW to be happy.
I lean toward the belief that, as Abraham Lincoln said, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” That, of course, doesn’t include people who find themselves in the middle of grief, clinical depression or anxiety, or a physical or mental illness. Depression and anxiety can be serious illnesses that require a doctor’s care and no amount of positive affirmations or “How to Be Happy” articles will cure these issues any more than they would diabetes.
If only that were possible, I’d do all I could to close down hospitals everywhere!
This series of “Secrets Happy People Know” is for the rest of us.
So, Who Are These Happy People and What Can You Learn from Them?
Think about the people in your world. Some are happier than others, right? Some are so happy, being around them is about like watching an episode of Andy Griffith. Even when circumstances are foul, they’re generally light-spirited and smiling – maybe even joking around. The good news is that they aren’t superhuman, so what happy people “have” is available for everyone. Basically, there are nine secrets that happy people have stitched into the fabric of their lives, probably without even realizing that they’ve done so. Three are below, the other six will be hot on their heels in the next article in the series.
- Happy people know, understand, and even embrace the fact that life isn’t perfect. They stopped expecting their days to sail by without any turbulence long ago. They’ve simply adapted their thinking and reactions to “ride” the waves rather than fighting against them. By contrast, unhappy people think that every turbulence, every bump, every misstep is a catastrophic event. It “wouldn’t” happen to other people – only to them. They think God has allowed this injustice and they, quite frankly, resent it very much. Even little events can snap the smile off of an unhappy person’s day – their balloon will burst just as easily over a slow internet connection as it would a flat tire. When bad things happen (which they tend to do… it is life, after all), someone who is generally happy simply deals with it. No panic, no melt downs, no throwing blame around or raising their voice. Oh the drama – So exhausting! Granted, the smile will disappear as they get down to business, but it’ll return right after they’ve put everything back together again. Happy people know they can’t control life, but they CAN control the way they respond to life.
- Happy people don’t live in the past. Some people feel unhappy simply because they won’t leave the past in the past. Happy people know that, for better or worse, the past is gone – living there, or even visiting too frequently, is a waste of time and energy. Some things have to be LET GO. You have to tell yourself – out loud even – “I’m letting this go before it proves to be my undoing.” Happy people live in the present and realize that it can be a beautiful place if you accept it for what it is.
- Although it may seem ironic, happy people are the best fighters in the world. If you think of the happiest person you know, the word “fighter” may not come to mind immediately. After all, don’t we picture fighters as angry, determined, even mean? In the boxing ring, sure – but think about outside the ring. If someone is hit hard by one of life’s punches, and they refuse to go (or stay) down, how’d they find their feet? They fought for them, and they fought hard. The harder the punch, the harder it is to stand back up… but it’s so worth the fight! Unhappy people are actually weaker. Usually they gave up long ago and got somewhat comfortable on the mat. Sometimes their fights have been harder and sometimes life has called on them to fight more often. It takes uncommon strength to find your legs when life has pummeled you to the ground, but find them you must. Your happiness depends on it.
What some people don’t realize is that happy people feel the same pains the rest of the world does. If a happy person loses their dream home, for example, they most definitely register the pain. They cry the tears. They feel the loss. BUT they don’t let the situation win. They stand back up, dry their eyes, and look ahead to the great things that lie in the future. An unhappy person would use an experience like this as a crutch – a crutch that will only lead them to one of two places: Anger or Bitterness. Neither place is worth visiting, let alone moving into.
If you’re generally, by nature, a “happy person,” give a big sigh of relief because you’ve learned one of the most important lessons in life. If you’re an “unhappy person,” give a big sigh of relief because you don’t have to stay that way.
Unless, of course, you want to.
I didn’t think so! Watch for this series to continue as we uncover more secrets to happiness!