A friend recently asked me what I ultimately wanted out of my life. She was probing at my goals, hopes and dreams, and aspirations. I could have gone into detail after detail about how I wanted to be this and that and oh that other thing too. How I’ve dreamed of creating and healing and traveling. Spending time with my children and my family, taking vacations, and building a beautiful home. How I wanted it all! But my answer turned out to be one simple word – happiness. Of all the things in the entire world, happiness to me is the number one thing I want out of life.
I don’t mean the materialistic “more, more, more” happiness. The kind that is pushed upon us daily. This sort of pop culture, money-mongering, consumer-obsessed world that I can never keep up with, nor would I want to. I mean the mind and gut wrenching, dig deep inside myself, pure happiness. The kind that flows through our bodies and hearts, and transcends blissfully onto others. A happiness that centers upon connecting and giving.
Maintaining a happy life means different things to different people. I try to maintain happiness in my own life by being consciously aware of my presence, actions, and impacts.
Below are six tips I’ve compiled to help create happiness in my life:
1. Understand that you can be happy, you deserve to be happy, and you should be happy. It’s so much easier to appreciate the world around you with a smile on your face. (Your kids will certainly appreciate it too.)
2. Actively set and pursue your goals. If something goes awry (and it will), don’t give up. Use that energy to push forward and not to wallow in self-pity. Nothing worth fighting for is ever easy.
3. Surround yourself with positive people and positive influences. Your circle of friends, co-workers, and fellow moms have an exceedingly great influence in your life. Leave the negativity behind.
4. Take the time to turn inward and learn more about yourself as a woman, a mother, a friend. Recognize and focus on what fulfills and inspires you.
5. Mainstream your health. Actively participate in supporting your body’s health and your family’s health through proper nutrition, exercise, and meditation.
6. Be thankful for all you have been given. Blessings come in all different shapes and sizes. (This includes over-flowing laundry baskets, work deadlines, and messy bedrooms.)
Happiness may not be easy to define into words, but it’s easy to find. It surrounds us every single day. It is the bright yellow sun in a big blue sky. It is a thunderstorm in a sea of clouds. It is counting your newborn’s ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes. It is kissing boo-boos and playing hide and seek. It is making jelly sandwiches and doing cartwheels on the front lawn. It is holding hands and counting to ten. It is taking a deep breath and jumping in.
Happiness is giving others around you the gifts you have found within yourself.
Happiness is being a mother, a wife, a friend.
Happiness is me.
“The Paradoxical Commandments” were written by Kent M. Keith in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders. They had hung on the wall of Mother Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta, India. More info here.
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001