Finding the Happy

You know how it goes; you wake up in a grumpy mood and say to yourself, “it’s going to be an awful day.” And surprise–it IS an awful day. Coincidence? Nope, not at all. It’s the old ‘glass half empty, glass half full’ state of mind, and it’s up to you to decide which glass you have. Having a good day, or just finding the “happy” in any situation is entirely up to us. You can decide you’re going to have a great day, and, despite what happens in the day, you will have a great day. Or, you can go the other way, and have a lousy day.

Case in point: I have never just loved hot and humid weather, and have griped about it for years. So I dreaded every summer because I kept on saying how much I hated hot and humid weather. I just made it worse on myself, and suffered far more than I needed to, and probably was a big downer to those around me who do enjoy that kind of weather. So I decided to take my own advice a few years ago–I decided I didn’t hate hot weather, and instead embraced it. I would think of how cold I had been the previous winter and how many layers of clothingI had had to put on to stay warm. All of a sudden, the summer–even the sticky days–felt great. Oh, I still retreat to the A/C when we have a stretch of steamy weather, but I no longer complain. The attitude shift made all the difference.

The Crankee Yankee (my husband) and I were recently picking through a big coffee can of fresh blueberries (courtesy of the abundant blueberry bushes that grow in and around the swamp on my brother-in-law’s property). We carefully picked out all the green berries, stems, twigs and so on, and I started thinking. What if changing our attitudes about the good vs. bad in our lives was as easy as picking through berries? I mean, it’s  easy to see the leaves and twigs along with the berries–could it be that weeding out the not-so-great things in our day, our lives, our situations could be that easy?

I started to think of good things vs. bad things  in my life. For example, I have a great part-time job with a great company. This job puts me smack in the middle of a gorgeous part of northern New Hampshire, I work with wonderful people, I’m doing work I truly enjoy, and I’ve made some good friends there. The company regularly hosts fun events for its employees, such as seasonal barbeques, chili cook-off contests, pizza lunches for various reasons, family days at the local park, and on holidays there are Yankee swaps, cookie parties and cube-decorating contests. Each Christmas we are given gift cards to our favorite grocery stores. The building is designed to let in plenty of natural light, and as you walk down the corridors, you can watch the seasons change in all their glory. It really is an ideal place to work. All these good things are the “berries.”

The “debris” is that it’s a 145 mile commute from my door to theirs, I travel along three major highways to get there, and I spend a lot of money on tolls, gas and car maintenance for my 12-year old vehicle. So in my job situation, I have a whole lot more berries than debris.

So what’s the secret to finding the “happy” in any situation? We can start by asking ourselves a few questions, such as:

  • Is there anything positive about this situation? (Even if it’s a job you hate, you still get paid, right? So that’s positive!)
  • Is my own attitude about this situation making things worse or better?
  • Can I do anything to positively affect this situation?
  • Am I so steeped in my own unhappiness that I may be bringing others down?
  • Can I afford to leave this situation? If I can, will I? What’s holding me back?

When you can answer those questions to your satisfaction, you will end up with a list of berries vs. debris. You will have to decide if the berries are worth the debris. This kind of thinking is how we start to change our lives. We have to remember that we really do have control over how we feel, how we perceive the world around us and what kind of people we want to be. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is doable. Remember that little victories, such as saying to yourself, “hey–I’m not that crazy about this current job, but it pays for my <insert whatever hobby, etc. you love here>!” Find and enjoy the smallest victory, the smallest good feeling, the smallest sense of happiness. It will keep you looking for more, therefore making more happy happen.

This is how we find the “happy” and keep it. For good!


One thought on “Finding the Happy

  1. diane kirkup says:

    Thanks for sharing the berries Jane … as always your writing is
    uplifting, inspiring and a joy to read. Your creative gifts bless many!

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