Happy + Happy = Happy
I was listening to a podcast the other day, and the speaker said he thinks we are all happier when we make others happier. Agreed.
Then he said we are all happier when we are around other happy people. Also agreed.
I went along my merry way and was strolling through the aisles of Home Goods, aimlessly looking at mugs and throw pillows, and those 2 thoughts kept resonating with me. Making others happier and being around other happy people makes US happy.
What does it mean to make others happy?
I know for a fact I've made some people happy in my lifetime. And yes, that made me happy. But did I even know what I was doing? Was me being happy by making them happy even my agenda? Do people even think about that?
Can a person be happy as "an island?"
What about people who choose to remain single or just haven't found a life partner? Those who live in solitude? Are they doomed to a life of unhappiness?
What about solopreneurs and those whose jobs involve them working alone? Does that mean they are unhappy?
I used to have a sign that says "happiness is a decision made ahead of time." I had another one that said "some people pursue happiness while others create it."
While I do think that "our input determines our output" and "we are what we eat" (both in terms of food and the digital content we consume), I just don't think it's that simple anymore.
You see, I can wake up, set my intention for the day, stay as happy as I "want" to be and in the course of one single day I can have the following conversations:
And those are just work examples. What about life examples?
So, how do I continue to make others happy in the above situations?
How do I maintain my positive outlook?
Aren't there times when happy ISN'T the right answer or attitude and staying positive just feels WRONG? In some situations, making others happy devalues their pain and suffering which honestly makes them feel even more isolated and unhappy.
I realize not everyone has a job in the healing field, the medical field, or with the public.
But we are all HUMAN. Almost all of us have friends, coworkers, neighbors, church members, family members, SOMEONE at some point in each day that is going to confide in us and lean on us.
Do we lean in and choose to be a present fencepost or lighthouse for those that need us or do we back off all in the name of HAPPINESS and choosing joy?
Can we even enjoy the good things without seeing the bad? I don't think we can.
I am REALLY starting to pay attention to my body when I meet new people. I don't always count them out if my first impression is less than stellar, but I do remember it. I take note so that I'm not surprised down the road.
And here's another disclaimer to Mr. Podcast's 2nd claim.
Sally may make me feel good but I can't ever see her because our schedules are opposite and she's not good at reaching out. She struggles with depression and anxiety, so I have to let her reach out when she has the emotional space to do so.
Bobby may make me feel like crap, but he's my brother and I love him, so then what?
Susie might put me on edge every day, but she's my boss and I spend several hours a week with her.
So yeah, Mr. Podcast, I like your ideas and they sound great, but then there's life. And after living and working and being in a few families now, I know that we can't always choose who we are around. And maybe that's why I stopped putting my 2 happiness signs out. I realized that I can keep a positive mindset and try to limit the time I spend with people who either make me feel bad or suck the life out of me, BUT... I also realized it takes the bad to see the good. It takes the ugly to see the beautiful.
It takes all those things my patients tell me every day- that are really happening to people I care about- to make me slow down, sip my coffee, exhale at that stoplight, glance at my kiddos in the rearview, pump up the volume, and sing at the top of my lungs with my sunroof open.
It takes being knocked down, run over, and slowly picking yourself up to smile at the exploring, coy toddler vying for your attention at your son's ball game. It takes losing something you love to look at a tree that's been standing outside your window for years and silently thank it for never leaving you. It takes holding someone you love while they shake in fear or agony to appreciate each and every piece of laundry you fold for the 400th time. The mundane is where the magic is... the daily can be the delight.
Today, I choose to live... pretty, ugly, hard, easy, funny, scary, joyful, and unthinkable. Happiness will work itself out. She will make her appearance. And I will nod in recognition each time she does.
To read some of my friends' thoughts on happiness, please click below and support their work. We all belong to a writer's group and I have learned and grown from each of these special women's work and words.
Chasing Happiness By Sharla Hallett
Finding True Happiness and Keeping It By Lisa Granger
Mom Burnout and How to Be Happy By Ashley Olivine
3 Days By MelAnn
Seeing Happiness Right in Your Life By Dianne Vielhuber
The Summer of Happiness Recap of Summer 2021 By Jessica Haberman