Happiness is a State of Mind, But So is Unhappiness
I was recently asked to speak to a networking group of women accountants about keeping a positive attitude during these rough economic times. I thought long and hard about the topic before I realized that these are not just rough economic times, but that it’s life. Our world is no more challenging than the world of 3 or 4 generations ago. The roughness fits the times, so to speak. Still, we all could use some reinforcement in our journey through this life and times, so here are five tools to help you.
You must define what happiness means to you. It is a state of mind, no doubt about it. For example, I recently had a conversation with my husband in which he was lamenting not being able to work in the industry he felt he was destined for. I proceeded to ask him what his roadblocks were, and for every one he listed, I countered with creative solutions. He rebutted with more excuses. My response?
You are the only one preventing yourself from being happy. If you can’t find your way to your dreams using creative and traditional routes, then you’ll be forever miserable, and you know what? You’ll take it out on your family and that’s not fair. So, define your happiness. What does it taste like? Smell life? Feel like? Sound like? What is it? Write it down and then commit it to memory for those days when you get “caught up” and need a boost.
Keep your joy! That is, no one can steal your joy. Instead, you give it to people. And that’s what were we humans mess up. We let people step on us and take advantage, and then blame others for our misery and pain. Stop that! Joy is the essence that is you. It’s the thing that keeps you going day after day; it keeps you smiling and is the thing that keeps you connected to the higher power. Once you give it away to someone, you’ve given them your power – your joy – and then what are you left with?
A Spirit of Gratefulness
Now, gratefulness is hard because it requires that you relinquish control and allow the higher power to do his/her job. There is no ego or “me me me” in gratefulness because it mandates that you take a real good look at your life, and place value and worth on the things that one cannot necessarily see or touch: the intangibles. This is hard to do in a society that is governed by consumerism and the “must haves.” But, if we do not try and learn how to be grateful about the things that we do have, then you will forever be tethered to a bitter spirit. Think about it this way: we all have that one person at our job who when they come into the room, we make excuses to leave because they have the most negative energy. No one wants to be around negative people. But wait! Are you that negative person that everyone runs from?
The Crying Angel Network
All of the above is impossible to do alone. Case in point: I am not Superwoman and neither are you. “Superwoman/man” implies that you are fearless and do not need anyone because you can do it all: you cannot be destroyed. That is the ultimate lie! You are human and humans need other humans (scientists have proven this), hence, the Crying Angel Network. This is the group of 3-5 men or women whom you trust and who have proven themselves loyal to the essence of you and the higher power. They lift you in prayer when you have not the words to speak for yourself. It’s called “intercessory prayer” and we all need it. This is what the Crying Angel Network does for you. They do not judge nor condemn you or tell your business to the world. That is not their function. They believe in you and your purpose, and, more importantly, they believe the same of themselves and are working on it everyday. In fact, scripture says, “Faith without works is dead” and this network operates in this mode.
A Sense of Humor
Finally, when all is said and done, and the world is spinning wildly on its axis in spite of you and your “issues,” you must always, always, always have a sense of humor. If you can’t laugh at yourself sometimes, then you might as well go to a corner somewhere and die because you are done. I had the pleasure of teaching a class on American Literature one year and I thought I had done a wonderful job and that the students had enjoyed the course. Well, I received the teacher evaluations for the class at the end of that semester and some of those same students ripped me to shreds. They told lies and said things about me that are too harsh to even repeat here. I remember crying to my mother over the phone about it all and exclaiming about how I was going to quit teaching because they lied on and about me. My mother’s response?
They lied on Jesus, so what makes you so special?
I shut up instantly and just started laughing hysterically. I had been firmly put in my place.
These five tools take lots of work and patience, but you are worth it, and what you are essentially doing is creating a legacy for yourself. We are being watched by the generation behind us to see how we respond to life and its trials and tribulations. You are teaching them whether you want to be a teacher or not. So, what do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to spend the energies of your life? In pain? In a state of depression? Or filled with and living a life of happiness, joy, gratefulness, connectedness and laughter? Happiness is, after all, a state of mind, but so in unhappiness.