You knew it was coming (or at least you did if you read my last post).
Recently a Facebook peep re-posted an interesting article called “15 Powerful Things Happy People Do Differently.”
I saw the title and immediately thought, “Oh yeah. This time it’s mine. Here comes HAPPY.”
Of course this is me we’re talking about, so all of my anything-but-happy hangers-on insisted on coming along to practice such “happy people habits” as replacing fear with love, cultivating acceptance versus resistance, and of course offering an immediate and unconditional forgiveness towards the noisiest people on the planet (all of whom happen to live conveniently situated in homes right next to mine).
All the better to find and forgive them more expeditiously, of course.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get very far down the “Powerful Things” list before I realized something.
My pensive, melancholy, and at times outright sad personality LIKES its fear, its resistance, its unforgiveness. Like a songwriter (which I also happen to be) who thinks she can’t write good lyrics unless she is FEELING SOMETHING DEEPLY, my personality was unsure how much of me might be left if resistance was traded for acceptance or doubt suddenly replaced with trust.
It is a valid question.
I also realized I didn’t want to tackle the whole list all at once, a decision that was received rebelliously (“acceptance” versus “resistance,” anyone?) by my triple Type-A personality which sees anything less than “all” as the immediate equivalent of “nothing”.
To further complicate matters, with certain tasks such as “meaning versus ambition,” I found myself failing to successfully resolve exactly why “ambition” required replacement, since mine already comes with a healthy helping of “meaning” attached.
So I think it was at about this time that I realized “happy” versus “sad,” like “meaning” versus “ambition” or “selfishness” versus “selflessness,” at some level boils down to simple semantics. I have a thinker’s head, which means that my mind enjoys thinking to such an extreme degree that it can literally keep me up nights churning up interesting thoughts to think about (preferring them to sleep, unless of course it can then generate equally scintillating dreams which, no surprise, wake me right up again).
I realized that in order to find my unique place in the spectrum of experiences one might define as “happy,” I had to quiet my mind and march into my heart.
As I revisited the “happy people stuff” list from this new perspective, I discovered that I can say with authenticity that I am already working on each one of these things. I also realized that sometimes the practice itself would produce even less happiness than I had had before I began my practice – although this experience was temporary if I persevered.
In other words, I don’t ever anticipate being happy while I’m in the process of having to forgive someone, or to seek someone’s forgiveness. And any experience of “happiness” I may feel in post-forgiveness success might be more accurately defined as “relief” than how the word “happy” is defined in the dictionary: “delighted, pleased or glad.”
By the way (and before I forget) here is the list summary if you want to join in the practice with me:
Today’s Takeaway: If you do decide to try practicing any or all of these items, how (if at all) does it affect your own experience of “being happy” as you?
p.s. BIG thanks again to the Purpose Fairy for such an excellent and helpful article!
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Last reviewed: 21 Jun 2012