For some happy is a state of mind, for others it takes a conscious effort. Your definition of happy may be different from your neighbor’s definition of happy. How do you define happy? It could come from a number of sources: feelings, objects, pets, people, and places. Maybe it is more subjective: A baby’s giggle, a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a new crush, being in love, feeling loved by your family and friends, helping others, being independent and self-sufficient, being in control, money, or success. Whatever way you measure it, no matter how big or small, you can find “the happy.” I like to call it being generic happy. Happy is not just one thing; it’s a smorgasbord of experiences and feelings that cumulate.
Happy can be simple contentment.
Happy can be the ability to stand on your own two feet.
Happy can be an uncontrollable emotion.
Happy can be knowledge.
Happy can even be ignorance.
Happy can be sticking to what you believe in no matter what the consequences.
Happy can be conformity.
Happy can be finding the silver lining in every situation.
Happy can be holding onto the moments in life that bring joy and laughter.
Happy can be cherishing fond memories.
Happy can be being part of a good relationship.
Happy can be doing what you love as a career.
Happy can be your children.
The one thing I believe to be true is that happiness; however you define it, starts with you. That doesn’t mean life is 100% perfect all of the time. Life will constantly throw you curve balls so find the slightest bit of happy in any and every aspect of your life. Here are five ways to find happy.
1. Be happy at work
If you are passionate about your career, you’ll have amazing days, and maybe a few stressful days mixed in there. At the end of the day remember why you love what you do so much and the happiness it brings you. If you are “stuck” in a job, find the things that make you happy in your current position. Focus on the happy moments: the compliment from your boss, a client’s trust in you, the laughs you share with coworkers and collecting that paycheck. Challenge yourself, and go above and beyond your daily task list. Look for the moments that make your job worthwhile.
2. Be happy with you
Whether you are single or in a relationship, it’s important to be happy with yourself. You are amazing faults, and all. Know your worth and don’t let anyone make you feel less. Although, relationships take compromise, don’t lose yourself. Most relationship experts will tell you strong relationships are built on: honesty, trust, communication, embracing your differences, not expecting the other to change, having apart time from time to time, and spending quality time together. No relationship is perfect but when you have all the components, differences and difficulties seem much smaller.
I consider myself a relatively happy person. Believe me, I have my days. Lately, a few more than I care to admit but I’m human and I know it’s temporary. I’ve had my share of happy and not so happy moments when it comes to dating and relationships. As my coworker would say, “you have to keep on keeping on.” It’s okay to be sad, disappointed or hurt when a relationship goes south or does not pan out. It happens. You control how much energy you put into it. Bounce back, dust yourself off, and realize it wasn’t the right happy for you. Although we may not want to believe it, no one can make you happy. It starts with you.
3. Let go of resentment and forgive
Sure we all get hurt in life at one point or another. People may disappoint us; break our trust, relationships end, and situations may not go our way. You may have feelings of hurt that lead to resentment. Resentment only hurts you. One of my favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela comes to mind, “Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Forgive and move on. People do the best they can even when they make stupid choices.
4. Surround yourself with Good Peeps
Be a good friend and expect the same in return. Friends bicker and friends snicker, but true friends have your back, are supportive and happy for you. I’m grateful for the good friends in my life. These ladies tell it to me straight, genuinely care, and want what’s best for me. True friends will step out of their comfort zone to help you even when they know the consequences may not be in their favor. Some of our best moments are with our friends sharing laughs, a glass of wine or a brew, just being silly and leaning on one another for advice. Accept your friends for who they are and embrace your differences. I’m happy to know my good friends are there when I need them, and I am there for them.
5. It’s the little things…
It’s a choice to be happy. Find gratitude in every positive thing, gesture and people in your life. Things that make me happy are: Calling an old friend out of the blue, eating a piece of good chocolate, traveling, writing, dance, music, and being creative. I also find happiness in doing a good deed, trying something daring and meeting new people. Although I know it’s not the healthiest of snacks, having fresh popped popcorn at a movie theater makes me smile. Coffee — whether I’m enjoying a home brewed cup out on my patio or in my favorite coffee house, drinking a great cup of coffee makes me happy. I don’t even mind so much when the Barista pronounces my name wrong (inside joke). I also enjoy breakfast at my favorite crêpe house when I visit San Francisco. Lastly, I still enjoy, after all these years taking advice from my Momma and Pops.
Of course, the big things are nothing to sneeze at either. Happiness just makes life better. I know a number of people who are struggling to find the happy these days. It’s out there! If you lost it, you can find it again. If you happen to be in relationship limbo, struggling with family issues, stuck in a mediocre job or what have you — nothing is permanent. Start with the small stuff and build up your happiness again. Do something you love to do. Enjoy the view. Laugh with friends. Don’t be afraid to fall in love. Stand up for yourself. Give back. Be interested. Be happy in your own skin. Get involved. Find the good in people. Walk away from situations that make you unhappy. Trust me, the happy is out there!
By | Gina L. Cafasso