I have unlocked the secret to happiness.
Now hold on a minute. Don’t just roll your eyes and walk off. Come back here! I’m serious. I know the secret to happiness.
Are you ready to know the secret? Okay, wherever you are, go to a mirror. Close your eyes. Stand in front of the mirror. Take a deep breath.
Now, open your eyes.
You are looking at the secret of happiness.
For those of you who cheated and did not go to a mirror, I will give you the answer.
You are the secret to happiness.
Now, before you feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility, don’t misunderstand. You are not the secret to everyone’s happiness. Just your own. Do you follow? I’ll say it plainly, with bold font, so you can get it.
You are the secret to your own happiness.
In my never-ending observation of people, I see everyone constantly searching for happiness. They look for it in people and places and things. They want happy lives and happy relationships and happy jobs, but they are let down over and over.
I spent more years than I am willing to count trying to find my own happiness in other people. I was continually disappointed. I was chronically disappointed. Why? Because I thought someone else had the key to my happiness.. I placed impossible expectations on the people around me, and then held it against them when they couldn’t deliver.
I’m not sure what finally clued me in. I can’t pinpoint one big “ah-ha” moment when I realized I had it wrong. I think I just got tired of being such a drag.
Every morning I get up, and I don’t have what people would consider a “fun” schedule. I have to get my people out of bed and feed them and medicate them. The daughter can be down right uncooperative. Sometimes I have to hold her arms down with my leg so I can get her medicine in her. That is not fun. But I make jokes about it and laugh and accuse her of trying to kill me. I sing songs and make faces to try to keep her from getting too mad. When it’s finished, I make a big show of wiping my brow and then that’s that. When she has a seizure, we sit together and bitch about it for a while. It makes us feel better. Then it’s over.
What if I wanted to make a different choice? What if I decided to lament the difficulty of my life? What if I fussed at my daughter for her extreme hard-headed-ness (which she gets from her father) and started my whole day off on a sour, negative note? What if I wanted to look at all of the things wrong with my life, all of the hard things that just don’t seem fair, and what if was mad or sad about them? Well, life around here would certainly be different, wouldn’t it?
No one can make those choices but me. I can blame who I want. Is it fair that things are the way they are? Maybe not. But guess what? There’s not one damn thing I can do to change things, fair or not, and how in the hell does me being miserable help anyone?
Misery loves company–we’ve all heard it. It’s true. Misery is catching. The beautiful thing, though, is that happiness is catching, too!
In our marriages, our relationships with our children, our jobs, every single aspect of our lives, we make the decision of how we are going to live our lives. It breaks my heart to think of how much of my life I have lost being miserable.
Laughter is such a part of our lives now. We have to laugh at ourselves and our lives–we just have to. I don’t think we could survive day-to-day if we didn’t. Look around yourself. If you are with people, or, God forbid, if you are a person who can’t laugh at yourself, seek help immediately. Put your head between your knees. Call 911, something. Just bail out. You’re drowning.
You’re drowning in our society’s notion that happiness is something that is owed to us, that it is something therapy and medication can provide. We have convinced ourselves that others should mold themselves into the shapes that make us happy.
We are deluded, and what’s worse, we are miserable.
If only everyone could decide to be happy. If only everyone could see that each life, each relationship, each job, each person, can be a part of what our happiness is all about. There is so much that is beautiful in even our hardest moments, so much that we should celebrate. Even when things are hard, we can deal with them and move on. There is so much to be thankful for, so much to appreciate.
So much to be happy about.
Go back to that mirror. Look yourself directly in the eye. Don’t take any bullshit. Who is standing in the way of your happiness? Can you see them?
Now, what are you going to do about it?