My son recently asked me why I seem excited about everything, even the “stuff” that’s not really exciting to him. He wanted to know if I also felt that way inside or if it was just on the outside (love the questions of 14-year-old boys!).
I told him that I once read a quote by an unknown author,
“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”
Now, let’s be honest: I am not happy or excited all the time. But he’s talking about something a bit different. He’s talking about a sense that I always seem happy. In his mind, how can one be happy and excited so often? Great question
So, when he asked me “how” I gave him this:
1. I enjoy the now and never look to tomorrow for happiness. How many ways can we say this? As weird as it seems, the ability to appreciate what’s in front of us has nothing to do with what we have. It’s about how we choose to see the things in our life.
2. I love smiling and it feels good. Studies have shown that people who express more positive emotions with smiles are more mentally focused, have more successful marriages and enjoy a greater sense of well-being. Plus, there is no question that feeling joy can improve your health (mental and physical).
3. Notice the details in life. This was the one I really wanted him to understand. In life, we can get everything we want and still experience life’s highs and lows. If we haven’t learned to enjoy the little things – to notice the details – our well-being will parallel our life’s circumstances. In other words, every time something goes wrong, we’ll feel unhappy, rather than disappointed but able to make the best of the situation.
4. Give up perfection. I used to want to be perfect. It was exhausting. Now, I look at every failure as an opportunity to get better. I feel much happier and less disappointed in myself.
5. Give. Give what ever you can. If it’s not money, then give support or compassion. Listening and appreciating someone is one of the best gifts they can receive. And, it feels good to give.
So, I suggested this mantra to him: How can I be the person I want to be now. Not tomorrow, not in an hour … now. Because you never know when your “nows” will run out (and you want to get in as many as you can!). I think this feeling – of happiness, of joy – is motivating and contagious. I love being around people like that – don’t you?
I hope he gets what I’m saying. And, I hope you have a very happy and wonderful day!