Do you remember having to look up vocabulary words in English class? For me it involved the use of a large hardcover dictionary, for some of you Dictionary.com or a similar website may have been your source. No matter what source was used, you found that most words were not limited to one definition, but often there were multiple meanings.
Happiness is a trending term. It is a broad word that many try to define narrowly. Many self-help books have been written on it, public speakers hold seminars and conferences about it, life coaches offer their services to help guide you to it…..
What does it mean?
Just like many other words, happiness has more than one definition. Dictionary.com gives two: the quality or state of being happy is the first and most basic meaning and the second is good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy. So now that we have it defined, how do we reach this state of being happy? How do we obtain good fortune, pleasure, contentment, joy? Is it something to be pursued or do we already have it innately in us?
My Happy/Your Happy
For some happiness is attached to material things and social status. Careers, money, houses, cars, designer clothes, jewelry are the indicators of happiness for them. Relationships are the source of happiness for many: significant others, family, and friends determine whether or not they are happy. Others equate a spiritual connection to happiness. Having a relationship with God or their ascribed higher power defines their happy. I think that happiness is innately within us and that sometimes it gets buried underneath some “stuff” but it still lives. For me God is the main source of my happiness, but I believe that contentment with my relationships, career, and having some of the material things that I desire further contribute to it.
What does happiness mean to you?
How you choose to define your happiness is just that, your choice. Choose it on your own terms and not someone else’s borrowed definition.
I was reminded this weekend that you can find treasures in your own backyard if you look for them. I did a little digging on Friday and Saturday. What did I turn up? I went to the nearby city of Matthews, NC and found a couple of new consignment shops to fuel my obsession. Shopping often makes me hungry; I stumbled upon a 1950’s style diner where I enjoyed friendly service and a good meal.
On Saturday I had planned to attend the Hippie Fest with my family, which would have been a first for me. After waiting in traffic for 20+ minutes to get onto the property on which it was being held, for a possible parking spot, we decided to find something else to do with our day. We ended up in the quaint college town of Davidson. There just happened to be an Earth Day Arts and Crafts Show taking place downtown. We were able to meet some new artists and get introduced to their works of art and crafts, enjoy the sounds of a two-man band (guitar and saxophone), and visit with some friendly residents.
Take some time to explore your city and surrounding areas you never know what you might find.
On my way out today I saw my neighbor outside working in her flower beds. I waved to her and said hello as I normally do and proceeded to my car. Then I stopped and decided to do something “new”. I’ve waved to and spoken to her in passing countless times since the almost two years we’ve been neighbors; Today I took the time and made the effort to go over and initiate a conversation with her. She’s a lovely lady, friendly and easy to talk to. Turns out we have a lot in common too. So glad I made the effort to find out.
In our “busy” society sometimes we choose convenience over quality. This is what helps keep the fast food restaurants in business, but that’s another post. So, those who really know me know that grocery shopping is one of my least favorite things to do. I like to cook the food and eat the food, but I don’t like to shop for it. Go figure. There was a time when I would go to multiple places for groceries. One place might have the best meats, another place higher quality produce, and yet another place the best prices on household products. Well that time has passed. Now I try to get it all at the nearest grocery store. That has resulted in me getting sub par produce at times, but it’s convenient. Today I went to a farmer’s stand for my produce after having gone to the store for my other items. One bite of my strawberries confirmed that it was worth the extra time and travel. My Day 12 “new” was simple, but it made me happy, and that’s the point of it after all.
We’re cautioned to refrain from dwelling on the past. For the most part this is sound advice. Focusing on the past can be a hindrance in moving forward. I have learned though, that it is sometimes helpful, even necessary to look back.
When we are facing a road block in our life, recalling past obstacles that we have faced and overcome can give us the fuel that we need to keep moving forward.
Life is a series of battles- some won some lost. Sometimes it seems like we are fighting a never-ending losing battle. In these times, remembering previous victories and/or lost battles that we thought would be the death of us, but that we bounced back from, can resurrect our hope and strength.
Sometimes it feels like we’re moving at a snail’s pace when it comes to achieving our goals. A quick look back can reveal to us just how far we’ve come from our starting point.
When you’re running on empty, feeling discouraged, or having doubts, look back then keep driving forward.
Normally I am not a Falcons fan, but since my team wasn’t in it, I pulled for the South. I have never been a Patriot’s supporter, but I must give honor where honor is due.
Tom Brady and team were the epitome of “keeping their eyes on the prize” and “fighting until the bitter end.” The Patriots trailed most of the Super Bowl game and many began to count them out. They didn’t let the doubts of others make them doubt themselves however. The team stayed in the game both physically and mentally. Just when we thought they were down for the count, they made a comeback.
Not only did they win the Super Bowl, but they made history thrice: this was the first time a Super Bowl game went into overtime, their 25 point deficit was the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, and Tom Brady became the 1st quarterback to win 5 Super Bowl titles.
Lessons learned: Don’t doubt yourself, doubt your doubters, Don’t give up no matter what it looks like right now, and it’s not over until it’s OVER.
Congratulations! If you’re reading this, it means you made it to the last day of 2016. Hopefully it was a good year for you, if not rejoice in the fact that it is almost out of here.
For many, New Year’s Eve is a day or rather a night of celebration. I plan on celebrating tonight as well. But, before the “party” begins I like to reflect on “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of the outgoing year and make plans and set goals for the incoming year.
While I do walk by faith, I don’t believe that means to walk blindly. Whatever your desired destination for 2017 is, you need a map(plan) to get there. I know we’re used to the GPS, but in this case a “map” is necessary. Your map or outlined plan will guide you and keep you focused, as you travel from where you are right now to where you want to be this time next year.
The excitement of 2017 is in the air; help make it a great one for yourself. Plan before you party.
Have a safe and Happy New Year!!!
I’ve had this quote from Joel Osteen in the back of my mind since last week: “Don’t be pitiful when you can be powerful”. I posted it on my Facebook page on Tuesday and it has had a grip on me since.
Pitiful or powerful? You mean we can choose? Yes!!! In spite of any situation or circumstance that we are going through, we can choose to not allow it to pull us down and keep us in the abyss of pity, but instead to get up and stand strong in spite of…. Is it just that simple? Again the answer is yes.
The first and most important step is to make up in our mind that we want to be powerful and not pitiful. Then we strive to walk in this choice daily, by making decisions and taking actions that align with it.
What does this look like in action? You lose a job: Instead of panicking and going into depressed mode, you look at it as an opportunity to explore and obtain a new career. Facing the end of a relationship: Don’t allow the negative energy of anger and sadness to overtake you, instead turn it into something positive. Use this as a time to reflect and grow as an individual, take a class, find a new hobby, spend some time with people you may have neglected during your relationship. Death: We all know that it’s inevitable and often without warning, but that doesn’t stop the pain and grief that it brings. How can we turn the grief from pity to power? One way is to find a way to honor the lost loved one. This can be as simple as choosing to live a good life. Other suggestions include: becoming a donor to or volunteer at their favorite charitable organization, establishing a scholarship in their name, or doing something that they wanted to do, but never had the chance to. Find something that you know would make them smile at you from heaven.
The next time life throws you a curve ball, as it will, don’t let it knock you down, catch it and stand strong in your power.
Three Types of People You Need In Your Life:
(As quoted by Ray Lewis)