After writing yesterday’s post, I began to think more about the things I love. What makes me happy? What makes me smile? Do I pay attention to those things regularly or run pass them and miss out some on the little day-to-day happinesses? Happinesses, huh? Really, is that a word? It’s my blog and I’ll make up words if I want to, words if I want, words if I want to (sung to the tune of It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to). So one of those little things that makes me smile…what I just did there. Being a huge dork and finding myself HI-larious 🙂 Learning to not take myself so seriously is an ongoing lesson that my husband has been a huge help with.
As I was reading September’s Cooking Light lastnight, I came across an article titled “Deciding to be Happier”. Perfect timing. Underneath it says, “Yes, deciding”. I mentioned yesterday that our life is OUR life and we make of it what we want. We get to DECIDE how we feel and react. Even if something is totally out of our control, it is our decision how we will react to it.
Though, I’m not a self-help type person, I did hear a motivational speaker once whose main point was “Attitude is a CHOICE” I think it’s so easy to get down about things that are going on and throw a bit of a pity party (often justified) when things are happening TO you. I think it’s important in those situations to realize that even when you can’t control the events, your reaction and decisions on how to handle them are all up to you. Positive or negative, it’s a choice.
This article in Cooking Light basically had the same idea about happiness. Psychologist Dan Baker wrote a book called What Happy People Know followed by one titled What Happy Women Know. The writer of the article asked Dan Baker if he really thought women were so different that they need their own happiness book.
“Well, yeah, you do. I’ve sat down with thousands of women and the predominatn thing they talk about is relationships, but they tend to overlook the most important relationship – the one with themselves. You can’t have a healthy relationship with anyone else until you have one with yourself, because you are the common denominator.”
The he said something that really caught my attention.
“Women are critical and hard on themselves in a way that they wouldn’t be on anyone else”
Why? Why do we do this?
Words of wisdom from the motivational speaker were “Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a little child.” We are the one person that truly knows us. We are most vulnerable to ourselves. We are like impressionable, sensitive children to ourselves and therefore we should treat ourselves as such. Would you ever tell a child they have fat thighs? Would you ever tell a child they are ugly? Would you ever speak to a child as if they are unworthy? Would you ever point out to a child that they don’t have enough? NO! So don’t do it to yourself. Stop being so critical. You are the one person who should love yourself in and out and instead we often are hardest on ourselves. Self-worth has a lot to do with happiness and nobody else can provide that for you.
You have to be active in your own happiness. You can’t rely on others, events, money, etc to make bring you joy. Mr. Brown gives several ways to focus on happiness and among them was “Don’t Miss the Little Things.” He says that happiness is like exercise or healthy eating. It’s a great concept, but the work is constant. Happiness is like a muscle that requires exercise and can be difficult if you are out of practice. He suggests that three times a day you conduct an Appreciation Audit. Think of a person, event, or something in your life you deeply appreciate. It becomes a habit to focus on the good stuff and then even when you come to a bump in the road, you still have a meaningful, fulfilling day.
Choose happiness. Rather than focusing on flaws (that we ALL have), focus on what your body does for you everyday. Instead of focusing on what you want or wish you had or comparing your life to others, think of the little wonderful things that make you and your life unique. It’s all about perspective and you get to make of it what you want. If you want to make a change, make a choice to change. If change is out of your control, choose how you look at the situation all together. Be active in your happiness. Participate in your life. You can’t rely on anyone but yourself to make YOU happy. You have to appreciate YOU before you can appreciate anyone else.