Are you happy? Seems like a simple enough question. For many people, though, answering it can be complicated. I’ve often heard people say that they aren’t looking for happiness they are looking for joy, as if being happy is somehow elusive or bad.
I am naturally a cheerful person. I am happy! No one has ever described me as a sad, down, or disheartened person. I really and truly do love life! And that has come with some consequences. People have accused me of being out of touch with reality, of not accepting the pain of trials, of being naive and clueless. I’ve never really known what to say because I have experienced pain, and disappointment, and grief, and loss. I have learned through those trials this simple truth: God does not leave me alone. With that knowledge how can I help but be happy?
In her new book, “The Happiness Dare“, author Jennifer Dukes Lee writes, “The cynics will tell us that we’re being naive and silly when we talk about stalking happiness. But positive thinking and happiness are not signs of weakness. They are signs of our strength. Sometimes being joyful and grateful are the hardest, strongest things we can do in hard times. Happiness can change the world, but first it has to change us. We can’t give to the world what we don’t already have.” (pg. 46)
I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I’ve let some of those criticisms get to me. I haven’t been as upfront in sharing all the good in my life as I used to do on this blog. Have you noticed? It’s been pretty quiet around here all year. Why? Guilt. And fear. Mostly because I didn’t want my happiness to be the source of someone else’s unhappiness. As I’ve been reading The Happiness Dare I’m realizing that that is something I have to change.
And I will. I am taking The Happiness Dare and invite you to do the same!
I am loving this book! Not that anything is really new in it but that somehow Jennifer has been able to bring all the things I do know together in a way that resounds with my soul.
God wants us to be happy!
That’s why He created this beautiful world for us.
Every sunrise, every cloud, every rainbow in the sky. Every mountain peak, every river, every ocean deep. The birds, the insects, the ants in the dirt. The laughter of children, the hand holding with your husband, the hugs from good friends. Each are made to bring us a measure of joy, a reminder of the Giver of all good gifts.
Happiness is a choice.
One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
Sometimes life just stinks. It does. But we can still choose. Will we succumb and wallow in the mire of bitterness? Or will be reach out to God pulling ourselves up to face the challenge?
“So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment. . . .We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.” (Thomas S. Monson, Living the Abundant Life)
Happiness is itself a form of gratitude.
It is impossible to be truly happy and ungrateful at the same time. Keeping a gratitude journal is one way of showing God you noticed the gifts He has given you that day. Naming the blessings helps us see ourselves and those around us as God sees us.
If we fail to acknowledge the gifts do we also fail to acknowledge the Giver?
Happiness never goes out of style.
Did you know there are different happiness styles? The things that make me happy might not necessarily bring you happiness. Makes sense, right? Take this assessment to see what your happiness style is. It takes less than five minutes.
Mine? I tied as a Giver and an Experiencer.
“Givers find supreme happiness by seeking ways to bring delight to others. They believe that a shared happiness is a double happiness.”
“Experiencers find supreme happiness by engaging in meaningful moments with a sense of adventure, curiosity, and whimsy – at home or on the road.”
These both resonate with me and, consequently, my type of mothering. I relish the small moments of each stage of childhood. I try to find ways to bring delight to my children and in turn delight in their happiness.
What happiness style are you?
Jennifer expounds on the different styles of happiness in the book, what they look like and how they are expressed.
Be a happiness seeker. Read The Happiness Dare. Spread happiness wherever you go!