Recently I wrote the words “Choose Happiness” on my white board. Each time I saw it I noticed Lucy had added drawings to my words. Until it looked like this
I love this but for me choosing happiness can be a challenge. Lately it has been challenging for me. I wrote “Choose Happiness” when I was feeling pretty good and then forgot about it. I saw it this week and have appreciated Lucy’s additions but didn’t think much about the words until last night.
Last night I was not choosing happiness. It wasn’t in me. I just felt down and grumpy and was being so hard on myself. Before I went to bed I read an article that just happened to talk about happiness. It was just what I needed to hear.
Henry David Thoreau said, “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
So how do we find happiness? Here are some suggestions from that article.
– “Learn as quickly as you can that so much of your happiness is in your hands, not in events or circumstances or fortune or misfortune.” Abraham Lincoln had much to be unhappy about but acknowledged that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Happiness comes first by what comes into your head. “Don’t be passive. Swim upward. Think and speak and act positively. That is what happy people do.”
– Be kind and pleasant. “Kindness and pleasantness and faith-based optimism are characteristics of happy people.” Mother Teresa said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness–kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”
– Work at it. “If you want to be happy work at it. Learn to work. Serve diligently. Don’t be idle and mischievous. A homespun definition of Christlike character might be the integrity to do the right thing at the right time in the right way. Don’t be idle. Don’t be wasteful.”
“In short, your best chance for being happy is to do the things that happy people do, live the way happy people live, and walk the path that happy people walk. As you do so, your chances to find joy in unexpected moments, to find peace in unexpected places, and to find the help of angels when you didn’t even know they knew you existed improve exponentially. Here are five ways we can live “after the manner of happiness.”
So, my friends, today and hopefully in the days to come, I am choosing happiness. I am going to work at it. I’m tired of being grumpy and pessimistic. I chose to be kind and optimistic. I am hopeful that today and this week I will find my butterfly of happiness and hope that you will too.
(“The Gospel Plan to Happiness” by Jeffrey R. Holland)