Stop waiting for Joy. Stop waiting for Happiness.
Quit saying, “I’ll be happy when…” or “Things will be good if…”
Stop trying to choreograph it with grand gestures.
All of that just wastes so much of our natural happiness resources! Every time we do that kind of thing we are ignoring the very things, moments, events that we could be reveling in now. And that is sad.
Instead of Waiting…
Instead of waiting we should start noticing what is going on around us. The art of noticing is really just paying attention. There are so many delightful tiny things going on while we are waiting for some big tidal wave of Joy to wash over us or a happiness bomb dropped in our lap:
When your dog/cat/ferret/turtle meets you at the door every day like you are the best thing since liver snaps.
Hearing a baby laugh.
When someone reminds you that you are loved.
Watching that old-but-still-in-love couple strolling through the park hand in hand and conspiring together.
Getting that unexpected compliment.
Those kinds of things are going around us all day long but are we noticing them? Are we registering the smile that it puts on are our face? If we are letting all these little opportunities slip by, we are wasting happiness. Each one of them was an opportunity.
The old saying: you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone…start appreciating it now so you don’t have to find out when it is gone.
Appreciate the people around you, what they do for you, how they make your life easier. That partner –friend – parent – neighbor who helps you out of your predicaments. It is important to acknowledge those kindnesses. It is in our best interests to appreciate their efforts and their giving.
I really do not want to be morbid but you never know when the last time will be the last time. The last time you see someone. Or hug them. Or even have the ability to accept their kindness. So act in a way that you won’t have regrets.
Appreciate your conveniences and your luxuries. Once we have things we tend to take them for granted. We need to stop and really feel grateful for them. Just recently, I was super annoyed that my printer/copier broke down after less than two years. This was a major inconvenience for me (I had things I needed to copy right there and then). Then I remembered that I have also lived in a time where anytime I wanted a copy of anything I had to run to Kinko’s (anybody else remember the nationwide print chain?). It put things in perspective.
Appreciate your health. How great is it that you woke up today and felt good? Remember that time you had the flu and you would have done anything just to not feel that bad? Well, chances are you woke up many more days not feeling that bad. Or that time you injured your finger and didn’t realize how much you use it all day long because you kept reinjuring it? If you’ve forgotten all about it then be grateful! If you have a chronic health issue, how good are the days when you function well?
Appreciate your time. We all get the same amount- it is as fair as fair can be. We get to choose what we do with it.
We also need to accept what makes us happy. Happiness is not one size fits all. Sometimes we listen to what society tells us should make us happy. When that happiness doesn’t come from those cultural beliefs, we need to evaluate if our need to fit in is part of our happiness quotient or if it is the very thing that is keeping us from being happy. If staying home and reading a book makes you happier than going to the bar with your friends, you have to decide if perhaps you should cut down on your nights out and stay in instead. If pursuing the hobby of entomology (the study of bugs) makes you happier on a Monday night than watching the NFL, turn off the stinking tv and watch bugs instead. You can eat those wings while observing a praying mantis just as easily!
Our decisions are judged by others every day- the jobs we have, the people we marry, the children we do/don’t have, how we spend our time, how we spend our money, etc. As long as we can live with the consequences of those decisions and be happy, then we need to strive for what it is that makes us happy.
I have always looked upon those people who were unfairly judging me with the attitude that my happiness was the best revenge.
If we are aren’t happy with our circumstances, we can always create new ones. We can make our own joy and happiness happen.
We can create more happiness at work. It may not be easy but we can change our work environment or even go to great lengths and get a new job. Less drastically, we can expand our work, or lighten the workload, or find more creative ways of dealing differently with our co-workers.
We can create a space in our day or week where we get to explore the thing that makes us feel fulfilled and happy. It could be a new or existing hobby. It could be time for self-care. It could be time to be with friends and socializing. Whatever it is, it is something we deem worthy and joyful.
There are the tiny pieces of time of the day where we can slip in things that bring us joy and happiness just to boost our overall well-being. Maybe it is listening to our favorite music, meditating, reading, talking to someone we love, planning our next passion project, viewing something that makes us laugh. We can deliberately shore up our happiness quotient this way.
As our moments of joy and happiness occur we must revel in them! We can’t dampen them by downplaying them or waiting for the other shoe to fall. We sabotage ourselves when we do this.
We need to be right there, in that moment, basking in all that is good. Any time spent worrying about how long it will last or when our fortune will change is a waste of our time. Sure, life has ups and downs but we can maximize our ups and use the downs to help us appreciate the ups.It is possible to practice taking small steps to make yourself happy now! Click To Tweet
If noticing, appreciating, accepting, creating, and reveling don’t come naturally to you the good news is: 1) you aren’t being graded on it and it will not be recorded in your permanent record. 2) You can practice.
You can retrain yourself to do all these things. Start where you are and make small steps forward. Hundreds of tiny steps can lead to a lot of HAPPY!
So, in the spirit of practicing…
I am noticing the beautiful blooms on the clematis outside my front door. They make me smile.
I am appreciating the comfortable beautiful space I get to work in and all the hard work my husband did to help create it.
I am accepting that the overcast, cool weather today is what makes me happy. Just because most people like warm and sunny doesn’t mean I have to.
I am creating a blog post that is furthering my goal to being a writer. I am doing something I enjoy and therefore created a situation that makes me happy.
I am reveling in my life at this very moment. I am enjoying each bit of this happy moment in my timeline!
Photo Credit: David Jubert
What makes you happy? How will you practice finding happiness and joy?