To be Happy, or Not to be Happy…That is the question
Harvard is studying it, Pharrell is singing about it, and my husband is working on a new app named it.
What’s all the hoopla with happy?
Research claims the degree of happiness in our lives directly impacts our longevity. Happy people live longer!
I wish I had known my grandmother. My mother always lights up when she talks about Janie Lee Moore. Janie Lee was a quirky artist with a sense of humor and a noticeable limp. As a child she suffered polio that left her with one leg significantly shorter than the other. My grandmother knew her fair share of suffering. She survived two world wars, the Great Depression and lost her brother and father tragically. Somewhere along the way, Janie Lee Moore decided she would be happy. You could say she was a glass half-full kind of gal. Her faith inspired her joy. One day my grandmother announced that she had read through the entire Bible and red-lined every mention of happiness. Her conclusion: Happiness was a choice.
We live in a culture ravenous for happiness. The problem is most of us are going about finding happiness in the wrong way.
It’s not brain science. Success, a vault spilling of money, the big house, the second house, a botox injection, a new pair of shoes, lipstick, celebrity…these are certainly beautifully wrapped gifts, but once they are opened, the gift inside evaporates into the ethos. They might cause a momentary spike in dopamine levels, but then are lost to the bottomless black pit of emptiness. And we move on to the next fix.
Happy people savor life. They seek out people and experiences that will light them up from the inside out. They spend little time dwelling on the past or fretting about the future. How could they when there is a juicy Georgia peach to enjoy, a friend to laugh with, a child to kiss, a yummy meal to prepare, a garden to get dirty in, and someone, anyone, needing to be loved.
I remind you that the only thing in this world that does not age, tarnish, or ever lose its value is one’s smile and their soul!
We believe the world owes us happiness. And that it should come with fireworks, a marching band, and a winning lottery ticket. No wonder most of us walk this planet in a malaise of disappointment. We have focused our lives on feeding the ego instead of the soul. We have lost the art of savoring, relishing, and celebrating the simple, the small, the barely noticeable, the transcendent.
Some of the happiest people I know are the the ones who have endured the greatest suffering in their lives. You could call them mule-stubborn, divinely-inspired, or just plain ol’ grateful folk. Regardless, they know the gift of a happy soul.
You will never want for sadness, darkness, and despair in this world. That’s a given.
Happiness is a choice.
Live in Hope,
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