Bell’s will be ringing; it’s Christmas time. A time of reflection and renewal – for gratitude and forgiveness. One lesson I have learned is happiness cannot be bought and paid for; it cannot be bribed or given out like candy at the Christmas parade. It has to be nurtured from the inside out. Anytime I hang my happiness on something outside of me, whether it’s another person, a job, an activity, or the things I buy, I am usually disappointed because they fall short of my expectations.
Not wanting to sound like a bumper sticker here, but happiness is an inside job. It’s coming to terms with yourself and deciding to accept life on life’s terms. All the money, property, or prestige in the world is not going to fuel the engine of happiness within me. That must come with my own acceptance of where I am in life – how I feel about myself, the things I do, and what I can bring to life, not what life can bring to me. By learning that lesson, I have found that I can be happy regardless of my circumstances. So the solution, I have found, is to simply decide to be happy. It really is that simple.
So, what does all this have to do with the Christmas season? Not much, really. The internal components I am referring to relate to life in general, whether it’s Christmas Eve or National Dance Like a Chicken Day (May 14th in case you were wondering.)
You can decide to be happy this Christmas and be a positive influence to those around you. I know some people take prescribed medicines for clinical depression. By all means, take your meds, but at the same time be responsible and do the other things that promote healing. What it comes down to is making the decision to heal, to be whole – to find some peace amidst the turmoil of daily living.
Is it easy? Not in the least. It’s one of the hardest things to do. But, if I’m going to have any serenity in life I’m the one that has to put it there. There’s too many negative influences at play to leave my mental well-being to chance. I can’t tell anyone how to do it. They have to find what works for them. For me, I found it in the service of others – putting my needs aside and being available when opportunities for service arrive in my path. I’m one of those guys that believes everything, good and bad, happens for a reason. My part in it is to be open-minded and do the right thing when it’s before me.
So, in spite of whatever is going on as we transition into the holiday season, don’t put someone else in charge of your happiness. Disappointment is the likely outcome. Take charge of your life and find the happiness within. It’s there – trust me.
Oh, and Happy Fruitcake Day! (December 27)
The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. ~Benjamin Franklin