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How to Be Happy

October 10, 2012

“Happiness is not something that someone hands you, like a sweater or a scarf.  It’s not something that you find hanging on some random hook and which can be ripped off of you by ill-intentioned people or ripped when it catches on a thorn of meanness or misunderstanding.  Happiness is something that you ARE not something that is done to you.  It’s like drinking a glass of water.  Once that water is inside of you it can’t be taken away.  It becomes a part of your body finding its way into every cell and molecule.  Of course you do have to choose to drink the water in order to reap its benefits.”  ~ SSHenry

Are you happy?

No, seriously.  Are you happy?  Do you wake up in the morning with a smile on your face and hope in your heart?  Does your unfettered enthusiasm for life fallow you through the day and spill over onto those around you without you even trying?  Do you see the good in everything and hope for the best in every situation no matter how grim the circumstances may seem?

Yes, I know, I’ve just defined an optimist (or, as some people tend to call them, a Pollyanna).  You know the story of Pollyanna don’t you?  It is the story of a little girl who had every reason in the world to be unhappy.  She was an orphan.  She was sent to live with a cold and unfeeling aunt.  She didn’t fit in with anyone around her.  And yet, she always saw the good in everything to the point that she nearly drove everyone around her crazy with her relentless upbeat attitude.  People actually got upset with her because she was always so positive about everything.  This is probably because they have no idea what happiness actually is.

“Happiness isn’t optimism” a friend told me once when the topic came up in conversation.   But he was wrong.  Well.  Not totally wrong.  Unlike optimism which tends, at least in most people, to be a conscious choice (choosing to see the good in every situation), happiness is something that you are.  You don’t choose to see the best in every situation; you just see the best in every situation.  You don’t choose to be enthusiastic, you are enthusiastic.  You don’t choose to follow your joy, you are your joy.  This happiness radiates from every pore in your body because it is part and parcel of who and what you are.   Of course, before you can BE happy, you have to CHOOSE to be happy.

Confused yet?  It’s really not as difficult as it may seem.

You see, happiness is not something that someone hands you, like a sweater or a scarf.  It’s not something that you find hanging on some random hook and which can be ripped off of you by ill-intentioned people or ripped when it catches on a thorn of meanness or misunderstanding.  Happiness is something that you ARE not something that is done to you.  It’s like drinking a glass of water.  Once that water is inside of you it can’t be taken away.  It becomes a part of your body finding its way into every cell and molecule.  Of course you do have to choose to drink the water in order to reap its benefits  and there are always those who would rather let themselves become dehydrated rather than deal with the “sloshy” feeling that comes from a surfeit of joy and contentment, and this is where the concept of happiness being a choice comes in.

Like choosing to drink the water, if you choose happiness it becomes a part of you; diffusing through every system and cell in your body making everything run smoother and more efficiently.   It’s true!  The happier you are; the more enthusiastic and positive you are about what is happening in your life and the more content and productive you will be.

No, this does not mean that you ignore the bad things that happen around you or the mean and hurtful things that are said or done to you or even how much pressure is being put on you to accomplish certain things within a certain timeframe.  It simply means that once you have drunk from this fountain of happiness; once you have chosen to make it a part of you, you understand that there is nothing outside of yourself that can take it away from you.

No matter what is happening.  No matter what is being said.  No matter what is being done; you are happy.  This happiness may not always express itself in unbridled enthusiasm or excitement; it may at times simply be a core of peace and contentment that burns steady and bright inside of your heart keeping you warm even in the coldest of times.  But it is there, and it can make all the difference.

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