Why is it so hard to be happy? I asked myself that question a number of months ago. Like one morning you could wake up feeling happy, and then before you know it someone or something spoils it all. Some wee or gargantuan happiness-killer always seems to be lurking just around the corner ready to sneak upon you unawares. You may have even steeled yourself, and yet these happiness-killer incidents still seem to successfully rob you of happiness all too often. Happiness, or lack of, is so much a part of life I just had to explore it.
Happiness. Isn’t that what everyone wants? What.does.that.word.even.mean? According to the thesaurus on my computer: contentment, joy, cheerfulness, gladness, to be in high spirits. Its opposite is unhappiness, sadness, misery, gloom, woe, depression, sorrow, grief.
A favorite song of my husbands and mine when we first got married was Happiness is Just Around the Bend by Brian Auger. We had gotten married the January after graduating from high school, had no money, no career, we were both immature and selfish, and did not know how to do life very well. So that song gave us hope; it was kind of one of our mantras in the those early days. Except now we have more money, careers, and we are more mature and less selfish, but can still find it hard to be happy. What gives?
To my surprise, I found a magazine at the airport the other day devoted to happiness titled “Live Happy”. Of course I had to buy it. The CEO/Co-Founder Kym Yancey wrote an article on choosing to be happy. His 19-year-old son who had been going through a difficult time one day told him that he tried choosing to be happy and it didn’t work. Ah ha! At this point I was wondering how in the world would he reply to his son. Interestingly, Yancey was able to convey to his son how choosing happiness can be compared to choosing to be an great athlete. If you choose to be a great athlete you need to do certain things, disciplines like diet, training, hard work, and learning from others. In much the same way, happiness takes discipline, commitment, and hard work. Pondering this, I think I agree.
There are some great quotes I found to move our mindset toward happiness from www.brainyquote.com. Here is a smattering~
Martha Washington: “I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition”.
Groucho Marx: “I, not experts, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it”.
Denis Waitley: “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude”. (Great words, but I do not know who he is.)
Abraham Lincoln: “Most folks are as happy as they make their minds up to be”.
And I found some more happiness quotes on www.goodreads.com, sillier ones.
Charles Schultz: “Happiness is a warm puppy”.
George Burns: “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city”.
Mark Twain: “Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination”.
Back to a more serious note, the Bible has a lot to say about the subject too. Here is just a few verses.
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine”; Proverbs 15:13, “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face”; and Proverbs 15:15, “…a cheerful heart has a continual feast”(NASB).
Happiness can be learned and is secret to be discovered. Paul, in Philippians 4:11-12 says, “For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need” (NASB).
In closing, did you know that March 20 is the International Day of Happiness? Imagine that! You found out just in time to celebrate. That should make you happy!