How To Be Happy



I have no idea how to be happy. This actually has nothing to do with being happy, but you're here now so you may as well read. No I’m kidding. Here’s my take on "happiness" (though it’s importance in your life can be debated). For me, happiness is directly related to gratefulness and contentment. Part of me wants to say the usual "look, you have food, a roof, obviously some form of communication since you’re reading this, and you're living" -- all those kinds of things. And while those are totally valid reasons, they obviously haven’t worked for you before (unless, idk, maybe that was on your mind this morning), so me saying that isn’t gonna change anything. I do think that finding true gratefulness in those small things is the end goal, but I don’t think saying, "Hey you have these things, be grateful for them," is really gonna do anything. So today I offer a different approach. Now, if you’re mindlessly reading you may as well stop now because you’re gonna have to be cognitive and engaged for a second (I know how hard that is for some of you. hehe).

Think of something that in the past you always wanted and ended up receiving. Like, really wanted. For me, it’s always been cameras or some form of device, or maybe even something larger like a car. Now, think about how "happy" you were when you got it. You were probably PUMPED. Say it was a new phone, and for the first few weeks you were VERY careful with it; you'd set it gently on the bed instead of throwing it, that kind of thing. Maybe your friend that just finished eating a pizza pocket wants to touch your phone and you’re like ... mmmmmmmmmmmm, *inner sigh* okay.

But how do you act with it now? Now you throw it on the bed. You throw it in your backpack with your keys and don’t think twice. Well, the other day I was thinking about all the things I received that, at the time, were life changing (or so it felt). And I realized something. I realized that I don’t even think about them anymore -- even the things that God provided in crazy ways. They're things I just don’t respect anymore. I’ve decided that one of the keys of happiness or joy is to stop looking forward to the things that I want, and realize those things, even if I were to get them, would be things that I eventually throw on the bed. I’d be in a perpetual cycle of unhappiness as soon as I lose respect for the item that I’ve received. If that were the case, and if God wanted to keep me grateful or "happy," then basically he has to continually give me things that I want. Otherwise, I will just lose respect for them and go right back into wanting the next thing. Seeing that put into words makes it sound really stupid huh. Yet I feel like that’s how most of us live. I’m not gonna live like that anymore though.

Rather than looking to what I want to bring me gratefulness (though admittedly it is always very genuine when I do receive things), I need to put the base of my "happiness" in what has already been done for me.

That’s the key to not being a Gratefulness-Rollercoaster. Be a Gratefulness . . . um . . . Airplane? No no, be a gratefulness . . . I don’t know, something that doesn’t go up and down. Stop waking up and thinking about what you have to get done today. Really none of us have a good excuse to be unhappy, let alone ungrateful. Now that I think about it, I can’t even believe how much that happens. Wake up and actually think about everything that you have, and the fact that you shouldn’t have it. Put items in your head, and be like, "Hey I have that. God provided that. Surely the fact that my hair looks like an ostrich’s feathers after finding out that humans eat their eggs, isn’t the end of the world.”

C'mon, man, you've got so much more to appreciate.

Sterling Grinnell