Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy People

Every day it is possible to turn on your radio, television, or newspaper and find a gazillion reasons to be unhappy. It isn't hard. Sometimes the unhappiness just brings a suitcase and camps out in our houses and lives for awhile, and we live in shades of gray instead of vibrancy. Oh, we'll go through the gyrations of the day to day things that we must do, but we won't have any spark, any oomph, or any desire to do anything other than what we must.

Been there. Done that. Just gave the tee shirt to Goodwill.

I won't sit here and go all Tony Robbins on you, or tell you that your life will be wonderful if you just believe it will be. There are real problems out there that can drag your life through a season of unhappiness...when you are just pleased to get through the hours much less the days. Most of us are very sympathetic to those who are going through a valley not of their own making and more often than not each and every one of us is going to be curled up in the fetal position on our couches at least once or twice in our lives. Probably more often than that...but I'm being hopeful.

On the other end of the spectrum are those who are blissfully, excrutiatingly happy. Life has handed them everything they've ever wanted and they really don't know what to do with the embarrassment of riches. They almost seem to have animated bluebirds singing around their heads and are so over the top from time to time that you can barely tolerate being around them for fear that you'll snap and slap them silly. It normally doesn't intervenes...or the blush comes off the rose, or something equally tragic. But for a time in their lives...everything looks clearer, more beautiful, and more precious.

Funny thing...we never forget our lives at each end of the spectrum. We always remember the pain...and the joy. We can distinctly recall those points in time when life was exactly the way we wanted it and we thought that it would always remain that way. We can also remember the devastation of our spirits when we weren't sure that we were going to make it out intact. And then we did.

The secret to being happy is contentment. You may not be where you want to be in some areas of your life...but you are probably not sitting in the sewer in all of them. You just have to figure out how to minimize the stench of what is wrong in your life so that you can actually smell the roses. A lot of people fight this so hard by waiting to enjoy anything until every duck is in a row. Until every dream has come true. In the meantime, we miss out on what tiny sparks of joy are contained in every day. The surprises, breathtaking views, sweet words, sincere appreciation, and people that make this too-short existence of ours really worth all of the junk we sometimes have to put up with in a given day.

Personally, I love knowing the good news of other people. I love seeing kids that I know excel and grow into amazing men and women. I enjoy hearing about new babies, upcoming marriages, and the success of people who have worked hard to have the privilege to live their dreams. Somehow I feel that if things are going well for other people and maybe not going so well for me, that there is still hope for something good to happen. Why be jealous of other peoples' success or happiness? Don't you want people to give you a thumbs up when it is your turn to shine?

I know I do.

I learned a long time ago that life isn't perfect. And those who we feel have perfect lives have the same insecurities and doubts that we do. Plus, I've also found out that people will definitely surprise you. Those who have it all together can have a freak out of major proportions and have to start over completely from scratch. And those who have had roadblock after roadblock placed in front of them can end up well beyond their expectations in terms of living the dream.

Some people have more advantages, talents, and fortunate circumstances than others, and we may find that we don't have the ability, the stamina, or the will to do anything that we set our minds to do. But instead of staying on the original path, we have to look at what we can do instead of what we cannot. To lament what might have been is simply a waste of time. And digging into other people who seem to have what we do not is not only unattractive but is actually self-defeating.

So, play nice and quit trying to tear other people down. Life's too short to be a toad.

I personally like happy people. Those who are newly in love, have just found out that they've won the virtual lottery in something in their lives, or are just reaping the benefits of the years of study and dedication that they have sown. I say...good for them.

So, if you are surrounded by a ridiculously happy person...laugh with them. Don't try to ground will take care of that. Unless they ask, of course. Just enjoy being somewhere close to the magic that my humble opinion...not quite common enough. Perhaps if we did this instead of trying to find a way to sabotage whatever it is that is lifting their spirits...we'd find that we are among the happy people as well.

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