I am happy.
Jakob's home for the summer. Adam's settling into a great young adulthood. I have a growing circle of friends, am developing an increasingly successful business, and will be relocating to a more manageable home while beginning my quest for my new Caribbean home.
Happiness is an internal thing. It cannot come from worldly things or from people. It's something of a wellspring fed by understanding yourself, feeding your spirit, and engaging in productive work.
I read a great article that listed fifteen things happy people know:
- Material possessions will not buy happiness. Quite the contrary: the more you have, the more you need to do to maintain what you have. Let it go!
- Offers to help others are not designed for getting a return favor. What I do and offer is purely a gift to the receiver.
- Meeting society's expectations is exhausting and does not result in happiness. Do what you believe in doing.
- People's prejudices do not impact happiness. Develop the ability to accept people wherever they may be on their evolutionary journey, and refrain from participating in their prejudices.
- The approval or validation from others does not create real happiness. Listen to people, but trust your gut.
- Trying to be right all the time is an unnecessary expense of time and energy. Spend the time learning from others and developing wisdom.
- Unconductive/unproductive environments are detrimental to happiness. Get out of those places and stay out of them. Find places that make positive choices and action easy, and then protect and value them.
- Social comparisons are irrelevant to personal happiness. When you do not compare yourself to others, you are not subject to jealousy, resentment, or an unhealthy sense of superiority over others. When you waste time wishing for someone else's possessions or talents, you are ignoring your own.
- It is a waste of time to meddle in other people's business. There's enough to do to take care of your own business.
- Gossip is not productive and not part of a happy person's makeup. Spending time and energy gossiping about someone else reveals exactly how unfulfilling your personal life actually is.
- Toxic relationships are... well, toxic. Avoid them at all costs. Surround yourself with optimistic people who are able to build healthy relationships. Healthy relationships bring joy. Pure joy.
- Holding grudges directly impacts the quality of life and reduces happiness. "To be wronged is nothing," says Confucius, "unless you continue to remember it."
- Liars and lies are useless and have no part in a happy person's interaction with others. Lives fall apart when they are based on lies and misrepresentations. Offer no explanation when necessary rather than bend - or break - the truth.
- Complaining is useless. Being happy means being content with what you have. Leaving behind the complaints - even ones that feel valid - frees your spirit from vexation and allows room for happiness.
- Revenge will not create happiness. Leave revenge up to fate. People ultimately sow the seeds they plant without any help from anyone else.
When I falter and lose my sense of happiness and contentment, I know that I am ignoring one or the other of those fifteen things. Focusing on enjoying what I have each day, whether little or much, frees me from so much grief and angst. I like how it feels to be in my happy bubble, and I choose to stay there today.
We'll see what tomorrow brings!