Happiness. It’s a tricky subject. Trust me. I’ve written the beginning of this post about three times so far, and I’m betting there’ll be a fourth and fifth in my future. I’m not a naturally happy or optimistic person. But happiness doesn’t have to do with being an optimist. I’ve met a few depressed optimists, as well as at least one pessimist who smiled too often to truly be one. Happiness isn’t how wide you can coax your lips, or if you can smile at a funeral. There’s a book I’ve been reading that puts it best…
Happiness is a habit – cultivate it.
~ Elbert Hubbard
A habit. Like flossing my teeth before I climb into my bed. Like putting the measuring cups into the sink as I bake and cleaning up after myself. Like controlling my tongue when a moment arises for me to interject an amazingly witty comment into conversation, but first asking myself if my words would hurt or burn.
Habits aren’t fun, or easy to cultivate. No matter what the “30 Days to a better you” gurus try to sell us. But the great thing about happiness is it is a choice. At any time, I have the freedom to choose to find one good thing about a situation, a relationship, a difficult circumstance, and focus on that. Happiness is not about masking how you feel. It’s not about changing the situation, because most times it can’t be changed. Happiness is altering your own view of life, trying to see the good instead of dwelling in the rottenness.
A blog I stumbled upon had this post on happiness. The author simply asks herself, “Am I smiling today?” So I tried asking myself that question this morning. I hadn’t even had my coffee at that point. Trust me, even tho I’m a morning person, that is still a difficult time of day for me! And the question made me stop and think – but most of all, it made me smile. Odd? Yes. But it’s quirky enough that I kind of enjoyed it!
So, let me ask you: Have you smiled today? Try one on, even if it only stays for a moment. And if you feel silly doing it all by yourself, just remember you’ve got someone else in the world-wide blogosphere who is attempting to cultivate the habit of happiness as well.