I hope you and your loved ones have a happy Labor Day!
I hope you and your loved ones have a happy Labor Day!
Believe it or not, material possessions and other people do not make us happy. Sure, buying something new can give you a little “lift” in spirits, if that’s the way you think you should be happy. However, that lift never lasts, and then you’ve got to go out and get something new again. It’s a never-ending proposition and one that certainly will not bring you lasting happiness. The same holds true with collecting new people. When you look outside yourself for happiness, you will always be disappointed. Whatever lift you feel initially, will not last, and will often leave you feeling even more empty inside.
However, when we realize that the only happiness that lasts is the one we make ourselves, that is when we will truly be happy. Happiness really is an inside event. Only we can create our own happiness. How can this be done? First of all, you have to really know yourself. You need to spend some quiet time with yourself, and find out what might make you happy. Many times, unhappiness stems from not pursuing those things that really give meaning to our lives. If you want to change your life, what’s stopping you? Can you start small, and build from there? We have an unlimited capacity to improve our own lives, even in just the tiniest ways, and happiness will stem from there, if only we try.
By working on ourselves we can create our own happiness, and from there, we can change the world. How can our own happiness change the world? By bringing happiness into the world, we bring kindness to others, creating a new compassion for others. Your changes help transform the world you live in. It’s a pond with ripples radiating out into the rest of the pond where it eventually hits the shore and continues on from there.
As a child, my family were all extroverts. I was considered an odd, strange and downright unfriendly child. Since I loved to play by myself, I was seen as extremely strange. My mother actually had more than one conversation with my doctor regarding my behavior. Why did I prefer to go for solo bike rides or read in my room when I could be doing whatever it was the rest of my family was doing? Unfortunately, my doctor was no help and his solution was for my parents to force society on me. Just let me say that I’m so glad that my childhood is over! All that being forced into interaction with other people did, was make me even more introverted. Once I got to college, I loved to study in the sound-proofed music rooms. Because I was able to closed myself off for a few hours, I was more likely to be social at other times. The point was, I got to choose when I wanted to interact with others and when I didn’t. I never did tell anyone where I was when they couldn’t find me, I didn’t want to share my location with the people I knew, since I needed that time alone.
Fast forward to my child-rearing years, when I couldn’t shower, much less go to the bathroom by myself. There were times that I thought that I would scream for lack of alone-time. My children have often said that they went to bed much earlier than their peers. Of course they did! By the time night-time rolled around I thought I’d lose my mind if I didn’t get to take a breath without them there! Hence the early bed-time.
As an adult, I’ve gotten really good at small talk. My trick is to ask a leading question, listen to the answer, and continue asking questions. All I have to do is listen and keep the conversation going. In fact, I’ve gotten so good at it that some people would be surprised if they found out that I’m an introvert. Of course, the whole time I’m talking with them I feel like I want to jump out of my skin and run away. However social constraints make that behavior unacceptable.
It’s so wonderful that there have been so many articles and books explaining all about introverted people. I hope that no children are forced to endure the unwanted social interaction that I did. I’ve left some links for you to read if you want to educate yourself on the introverted people in your life, or find some comfort if you, too are introverted.
I’ve been thinking about how some people always seem to be so happy, and other people can’t seem to find happiness even when it’s under their noses, and I’ve come to the realization that being happy is a choice. Every morning we can choose whether or not we are going to be happy.
Now, I realize that sounds like I’m a simple-minded person who is suggesting that we can be happy if we ignore our problems, but that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’ve known people who’ve made a conscious choice to be happy in the face of some major overwhelming odds.
There is now scientific evidence that show that we really can focus our minds to be happy. Some of the ways we can choose to be happy are by practicing mindfulness by finding small moments during our days to be present and find joy in the small things. Other ways we can train ourselves to find happiness include: being grateful, smiling, being compassionate, and meditation.
Another study found that by asking people to listen to “happy” music, and to try thinking themselves happy, people were actually able to become happier. This sounds insane, but it does follow the adage, “fake it until you make it”. We can actually fake happiness until it becomes “real” happiness.
These studies and others that have been done, show that our happiness levels can be improved upon with conscious effort. So, this is one of my goals for the week: to improve my happiness level.
Last week I commented that my weekends sucked. I wanted to let you know that this past weekend was much better. For one thing, the sun was actually out, and I got some things done outside.
We had taken a tree down in the side yard since it was dying. It lay there in my yard for a while since we were in the midst of some foul rainy weather. On Saturday we were able to finish clearing it up, and now only the branch-less trunk remains to be dealt with. My son will finish that up, since me and a chain saw doesn’t even belong together in a sentence.
I also went to the mall on Saturday. I was on a mission to find curtains, since my windows in the dining room have been curtain-less for quite a while. I admit that I’m a pain-in-the a** when it comes to things like this. I’ve made curtains, but really didn’t want to be bothered with doing so again. Well, that mission turned out to be a bust, since every single curtain was too expensive and they weren’t very well-made at all. So, it looks like I’ll be making curtains again. I’ll let you know how that goes, since my sewing machine basically hates me. Seriously. It. Hates. Me. There was a stop at Barnes and Noble bookstore where I broke down and bought a book – Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen. I follow her on Instagram and find her to be so inspiring! Saturday night was the usual non-exciting variety, but I did play Destiny (my favorite game for the moment); and I did some reading. Yippee for me! Sunday dawned another beautiful day. We went for a walk, and then I organized all my quilting stuff. This was another of the organizing items on my list – another one gets to be crossed off the to-do list – that always feels great. I also wrote out my goals and steps for the week; did menu planning and my shopping list. It was wonderful.
Last night included watching the second Lord of the Rings movie. We’ve been watching them all, from the three Hobbit movies to all the Lord of the Rings. I began reading these to the kids once my oldest hit the ripe old age of 6. Yes, I know, it was probably too early, but I could only read the “age appropriate” books for so long…I was getting bored, alright? So, my weekend was much better than they have been, how was yours?