I’m living the dream, I think to myself.
I’m sitting on the balcony of our building, taking in the fine summer afternoon. The air is warm, but not hot. Fluffy white clouds float across the blue sky. A light breeze cools my skin.
In my hands rest a cup of coffee. Yes, the beans were grown in Kenya. And yes, they don’t come much better than that. I take a sip. It’s good.
Setting down the mug, I ponder the day. I’d gotten up early, worked, ate fresh and delicious food, laughed and giggled with my daughter, told my wife I loved her, worked some more, went for a run by the lake, gone swimming, and now I am here. Lots of good packed into one day.
This is the good life…
It’s so rare to be happy – to pause and allow myself to experience the goodness of life here, right now. Instead I often say things like:
“I don’t deserve it.”
“See all of these bad things that happened to me.”
“There are so many things I should change about my life.”
“Who am I to be happy when there is such suffering in this world?”
But, as I’ve been realizing lately, being happy is not only a worthwhile aim and value for me. It’s important for the benefit of others.
it’s child’s play
you may say
When you’re happy, you do better work. Instead of seeing a task as an obligation, you bring to it an attitude of childlike play. Because you take joy in what you’re doing, you’re willing to put up with the discomfort of the challenge and are able ignore the distractions that come your way. You become open to new ideas and possibilities. You’re more creative.
What you do becomes more valuable. You help people in a deeper and more profound way.
you and me
can better be
When you’re happy, you have better interactions with others. Minor annoyances that would normally cause tension in relationships slide on by. They don’t become a deal.
You take joy in other people’s successes and work on their behalf. You’re content with who you are and have what you need. So there’s no need to begrudge another for gaining – for reaching their dreams and happiness. Life becomes about abundance – about everyone thriving.
When you’re happy, it spreads. Happiness is contagious. We’re social creatures and have a way of mirroring our emotions to those around us. Others pick up on how you feel.
And you work to make people feel as you do. Not only do you offer yourself as a role model that others can follow, you do what you can to remove their obstacles to happiness.
Yes, there’s a lot we want to change in our lives. Yes, there’s a lot of suffering in the world. We know this. It’s a familiar story.
We can live in defiance of that story. We can choose a different narrative. We can stare at the face of all the hurt and stand amid all that isn’t as good as it could be. And we can decide to be happy in spite of it.
It’s our choice.
My challenge to you this week, if you’re up for it, is to do one thing that makes you ridiculously happy.
Sit in the bath for two hours. Hang out with your friends. Take a long hike in the woods. Play games with a child. Draw. Volunteer for a cause that inspires you. Read an excellent book. Whatever it is for you, and you probably have a few ideas in mind, go do it.
And if you are so inclined, swing by the comments and share your experience. Share your happiness with the rest of us. That way, we can be happy too.