Happiness is an attitude we act upon. We either make ourselves miserable, or happier and stronger. The amount of work is the same.
“My body sometimes feels sore, but it works. I don’t sleep well most nights, but I do wake up to experience another day. My wallet is not full, but my stomach is. I don’t have all the things I’ve ever wanted, but I do have everything I need. I’m thankful, because although my life is by no means perfect, it is MY life and I choose to be thankful in it, as I continue to do the best I can.”
That’s an entry from my grandmother’s journal, dated 7/20/1977. It’s one of a few entries I photocopied a decade ago, and still have hanging on my bulletin board today. And it continues to remind me that happiness is valuing what you have, and enjoying the people, places, objects and events in your life for what they are. It’s not about making massive breakthroughs every minute… sometimes it’s simply about being, appreciating, and making small tweaks. And you can almost always enjoy the things you have and make the best of the events happening around you if you decide firmly that you will.
No, life isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn good. You just have to…
- Embrace your humanness. – Do not endlessly search of sanctity, sacredness, and purity – these things are found after this life, not in it. But in this life you can search to be human – to feel, to give, to take, to laugh, to dance, to get lost, to be found, to love and to lust… to be so unapologetically and beautifully human in every imaginable way.
- Realize your greatness. – Contrary to what others may say, you do not need to rise to the top, or be the cream of the crop, before you can feel great about yourself. For you are not a failure because you’re not perfect, got rejected or laid off, struggle to make ends meet, or have a family with issues. You are great because, despite your circumstances, you keep loving, you keep getting back up after every fall, and, above all, the little steps you keep taking, you take with grace.
- Exercise your inner power. – This life is yours, and yours alone. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it genuinely. Take the power to walk in nature and be a part of it. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.
- Choose differently. – A big part of your life is a result of the little choices you make every day. If you don’t like some part of your life, it’s time to start tweaking things and making better choices, right now, right where you are.
- Accept yourself just the way you are. – Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be something we aren’t. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it is only when you accept everything you are, and aren’t, that you will truly find happiness and success.
- Stop looking for external validation. – You don’t have control over what others think about you, but you do have control over how you decide to internalize their opinions. Leave them to their own judgments. Don’t feel threatened and don’t conform just to please them. Let others love you for who you are, and not for who they want you to be.
- Embrace your quirks, and ignore those who don’t. – Don’t try to be normal; there’s no such thing. Life is all about spending it in your own way. Always be yourself and walk comfortably in your own shoes. Anyone who tells you you’re doing it wrong… is wrong.
- Mind your own business. – Who others think you are is their business. Who you know yourself to be is your business. Confidence isn’t walking into a room with your nose in the air, and thinking you are better than everyone else, it’s walking into a room and not having to compare yourself to anyone else in the first place. (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Choose your own thoughts. – The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. And oftentimes this means choosing your own thoughts over the opinions of others.
- Say what you need to say today. – Speak your truth. There is no greater sadness than holding on to the words you never had the courage to speak.
- Dedicate time every day to meaningful activities. – What you do every day matters, but WHY you do what you do matters more. Continue to work hard at what you love no matter what the odds are. And if you only have fifteen minutes to spare, no problem – make those fifteen minutes meaningful.
- Enjoy the process of learning and growing as you go. – You have to acknowledge your troubles but gather strength from them, and laugh at your mistakes but learn from them. Getting second chances in life is about giving yourself the opportunity to grow beyond your past failures. It’s about learning as you go and positively adjusting your attitude and efforts toward future possibilities.
- Look for and appreciate the lessons. – Rather than just regretting something, question specifically how it has helped you grow. Has your past equipped you to be determined, self-reliant, perceptive, tough, aware, compassionate, etc.? Focus on what you have gained rather than lost from adverse past experiences.
- Celebrate how much stronger you are now. – You can’t possibly know you are strong if you’ve only ever had wonderful things happen to you.
- Stop resisting what is. – Flow with reality, not against it. And don’t be trying 24/7 to fix everything. Some things don’t need fixing… they just need acceptance. What you resist only stays with you longer. When you fight something, you only make it stronger.
- Let the uncontrollable GO. – Never force anything. Give it your best shot, and then let it be. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Don’t hold yourself down with things you can’t control.
- Let things BE. – Things will happen that you will not always understand, but maybe you’re not supposed to understand everything. Maybe you’re just supposed to have faith, accept it and let it happen.
- Do what you can right now. – It’s not as much about acquiring new things as it is about using what you already have. Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from what you can do. No more excuses, no more wasting precious time. This moment is as good a time as any to begin doing what matters most. Start exactly where you are right now. Do what you can with what you have right now. Stop over-thinking and start DOING.
- Take it just one easy step at a time. – Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take the step.
- Measure your progress, no matter how small. – You may not be where you want to be yet, but look how far you’ve come. Be thankful that you’re not where you used to be. If you have no other testimony right now, you have this one: “I’m still here trying.”
- Exercise your faith. – Seriously, take pride in how far you have come and have faith where you can go tomorrow. Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what can’t be seen.
- Appreciate each day for what it’s worth. – If what you did today didn’t turn out as you hoped, tomorrow is a new opportunity to do it differently, or to do nothing at all. What’s important is to realize that you have a choice. So no matter how tough the day was, always try to end it with a positive thought, knowing that a new beginning starts in the morning.
- Leave the negative past alone. – You might not be proud of all the things you’ve done in the past, but that’s OK. The past is not today. (Read Loving What Is.)
- Let hate GO. – Holding hatred is poisonous. It eats you from inside out. We naively think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us, but hatred is a curved blade. And the only harm we do, we do to ourselves.
- Forgive. – Sometimes we don’t forgive people because they deserve it. We forgive them because they need it, because we need it, and because we cannot let go and move forward without it.
- Give your love willingly. – What you give to another person is really what you give to yourself. When you treat others with love, you learn that you’re lovable too. So love like there’s no tomorrow, and if tomorrow comes, love some more.
- Spend more time around those special people who truly care. – You grow to be like the people you spend most of your time with. So surround yourself with only those who are going to lift you higher.
- Set a great example. – How would your life be different if you walked away from gossip and verbal insults? Let today be the day you speak only of the good you know about other people and encourage others to do the same.
- Do just a little bit of good today. – The fact that you can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, is proof that YOU can make a big difference.
- Give what you can. – Remember, you must give to get. But it’s not an eye for an eye situation. Don’t wait to give. You sometimes must give twice as much without expectations to eventually get something in return. The more you give, the more you eventually get. It’s an investment in generosity, helping, and faith, which attracts good things back to you in the long run.
- Do something nice for yourself today. – The trick is to enjoy your life today. Don’t wish it away by waiting for better days ahead.
- Fill your time and mind with positivity. – Do what you can, and smile. Be so busy loving your life and the people in it that you have no time left for hate, regret or unnecessary stress.
- Distance yourself from negativity. – Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to the people and things that hurt you. Be wise enough to walk away from the negativity around you.
- Disregard the daily drama. – You can’t let one bad moment spoil a bunch of good ones. Don’t let the silly little dramas of each day get you down.
- Smile, even when it feels like things are falling apart. – Smiling doesn’t always mean you’re happy; sometimes it simply means you’re strong. And smiling will help you feel better.
- Be grateful. – Gratitude is simply the awareness of what’s right. Count the blessings in your life, and start with the breath you’re taking right now. (Read The Happiness Project.)
- Value your physical body and present beauty. – Take a picture of your face and remember that in ten years time you will be amazed at how gorgeous you were. Be amazed now.
- Be present. – Do not dwell so much on creating your perfect life that you forget to live.
- Pay attention to the little things. – …because when you really miss “the good ol’ days,” you miss the little things the most, like just laughing with someone special.
- Schedule in some dedicated down time. – Find the time… the time to read, to smell the flowers, to take a walk in the wilderness, to share a laugh, to learn a fun craft, to try a new recipe, to explore somewhere new, to really be with someone you love, to paint your dreams, or even to just do nothing and relax for a while.
The floor is yours…
What would you add to this post? What’s something you do on a regular basis that has helped you find more happiness in life? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Photo by: Porsche Brosseau