Entitled to nothing; but, thankful for everything…

August 12, 2017

Today’s quote is one that I saw on the Jack’s Winning Words blog recently – “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”  (Tiny Buddha)

I would have added the words “they have” to the end of that quote. It is the human tendency to covet what we don’t have that causes dissatisfaction and dissention in our lives. Perhaps the most over-abused term in our modern language is the word “right”, as in it is my right to have (put in anything that you have heard lately using that phrase). Many people feel that they are entitled to or have a right to things that they don’t have and they somehow come to the conclusion that the society that they live in have some sort of obligation to provide them with that things or service or whatever it is that they feel entitle to. In fact, this feeling has become so prevalent in America that news casts often capture people characterizing things like access to health care or a clean water supply as “basis human rights.”

Let’s be clear. There are no such things as basic human rights or entitlements. One has only to journey to the wilds of the South American Jungles or the jungles of Africa to find primitive tribes living hard-scramble subsistence existences to find examples of peoplei want living in the most natural state of human rights. Anywhere else, where people are given, or have free access to, things above the subsistence level by the society they live in, is an example of privileges being extended by that society and not examples of people having rights to those things.

Those people living without entitlements in the wilderness are very happy when the tribal hunters return from a successful hunt or when what crops that they might plant bear fruit. They may wish for an easier life, but they may also be happy with what God has provided them from the land around them, even if their concept of God is somewhat murky.

No one wants to return to a crude, subsistence level of living in the jungle; however, all of us could learn to be a little more thankful and happy with what God has provided and be less focused upon what we don’t have. That is not to say that we need put up with cases of overt discrimination or criminal activities, such as happened in the Flint water crisis; however, we should couch our response to such activity in the proper terms. It was not that the Flint residents had a basic human right to clean water so much as it was that the residents who were paying for water to their houses had the right to expect that the water would be clean and safe to drink and use. That was not the case in Flint and is perhaps not the case in other locations in America. In some cases, it involves ineptitude on the part of the governmental bodies that supply the water and in others it involves criminal conduct by those who knew that they were doing wrong, such as in Flint.

woman-prayingOne can get in the right frame of mind about life by starting each day with a little “thank you” prayer to God for allowing you to awaken to another day. You weren’t even entitled to that day, so right away you have been given a gift to enjoy. Everything beyond that is just something that you should enjoy and be thankful for having. So, take the advice from today’s quote and make the best of everything that you have; rather than spend your time and energy worrying about things that you don’t have. God has just given you the most precious thing that money can’t buy and which isn’t a right – time. Use your time today wisely; be thankful and happy and make the best of what you have.

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Be happy to be you…

December 19, 2016

If you Google the little phrase “Happy to be me”, you’ll discover that there are a number smiling-sunof videos from Sesame Street skits to pop songs that all have that same title and theme. The string that runs through them all is that you should be happy to be the person that you are and not try to be someone else.

Sometimes it’s hard to be happy being with yourself, especially in the formative years when you may not be real sure who that is anyway. Children take cues from all around themselves as they grow and learn and try to find their identities. Sometimes they are not happy with their circumstances and who they think they are, especially as compared to others whom they think they would like to be like. They get predjuiceshung up on how they look for dress or act in public and who they hang out with (or are not invited to hang out with). It’s hard to be happy with yourself if you don’t see yourself as being “cool” or being a member of the “in-crowd”. I posted here about that in a blog Trying to be Cool Isn’t Cool.

Sometime those who were rejected by one “in-crowd” form their own alternative groups. That phenomenon is seen a lot during the middle and high school age years. Those are still very chaotic years in the search for one’s identity and some since of comfort with who you are. There tends to be a false sense of security in being a member of some group during school-of-fishthat time in our lives. Being in those groups is like being a fish that is swimming in sync with a large school of fish. One can look around and feel a sense of security and belonging that feels good. Just go with the flow and everything will be alright. You’ll be cool.

Some never really outgrown that need to be identified within some group context and many of those people never really get comfortable with themselves as individuals. Most, however, at some point after high school develop a sense of understanding and comfort with who they are and move on with life witfake people sign.jpghout depending upon the approval of a group to bring happiness. They discover that they are “happy to be me”. We tend to identify people who are at that stage in life as being self-confident. People who have not yet arrived at that level of self-aware comfort with themselves are sometimes be said to be “phony’ or perhaps “fake”.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be better. In fact you may wish to start each day with a little prayer that says, “God help me be the best me that I can be today.” That isn’t asking God to change you, only that He allow you woman-prayingto remain focused upon being as good of a you as you can be and not get distracted by desires to be something or someone else.

I wrote a while back on this topic with a post called Just be you. Be happy with who you are and ask for God’s help to be the best you that you can be. The rest of life will take care of itself, if you get right with yourself first. Have a great week just being the best you that you can be.


Reading between the wrinkles…

October 10, 2015

“Your wrinkles either show you’re unpleasant and cranky, or that you’re always smiling.”  (Carlos Santana)

I’ve written here before about smiling, even if you have to force that first smile. Most of us do not have a smile on our faces when we have our “at rest” face on. That’s the face that the world sees when we are totally oblivious to how we look – the face that is just there when we aren’t trying to put any particular expression on it. Both frowning and smiling tend to wrinkle our faces a bit, especially around the eyes and mouth, and sometimes the forehead.

I guess over time those wrinkles settle in and become a part of our natural look. I, for one, would certainly rathersmiling older fce be known for always having a smile on my face; rather than being thought of as unpleasant and cranky. If I’m going to get wrinkles that may as well be happy wrinkles.

So before you go out into the world today, take a little time to think of something that makes you smile, maybe a happy time or event in your life or someone that you love and love to be with. Not only will that get a smile on your face, but it will put in you in a great frame of mind; because –

“If you smile when you are alone, then you really mean it.”  –  Andy Rooney


Embrace your little happy’s

November 14, 2014

“I’m happier now, because…”  (Nataly Kogan)  – from a recent post at the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Kogan’s book – 3 Minutes A Day tells about Nataly who founded “Happier, Inc.”  After discovering that chasing the “big happy” wasn’t working, she began to look for the little happys in her life, like making a smilely-faced pancake for her young daughter…the things that brought her joy.  Her Happier website invites people to share their small, tiny, positive moments.

man mad at himselfFor most people the realization will eventually set in that chasing the big happys often only results in disappointments or frustration in life. Learning to be satisfied with life’s little everyday happy moments is a much better path to take.  Happiness is often accompanied by a sense of contentment, at least for a little while. But, life goes on and it is all too easy for one notice out on the horizon the next big happy that could be chased.  Once that next big thing becomes the thing to chase in order to be happy, the feeling of contentment with the current fades quickly away.

I suppose that we could all say, “I’m happier now, because it’s Friday”, but that isn’t the point that Nataly is trying to get across. I suspect that we all fall into the trap of chasing what she calls “the big happy.” In my mind that is when you have this big thing out there that you just feel sure will make you happy if you ever get it or achieve it. Maybe that thing is a possession – “I’ll be happy of I get that new car”; or, maybe it’s achieving some goal or accomplishing some task, like, “I’ll be happy if I get that promotion.” For some people the key to their happiness is supposedly to travel to some exotic place. For many the belief is that happiness will be theirs when they meet Mr. or Ms. Right.

The point that Kogan seems to be making is that we can all be happier if we focus on all of life’s little smiling manvictories and happy moments that we experience every day, instead of becoming obsessed with chasing a few “big happys.”  What are the little things that make you happy? Would you smile and be happy, if only for the moment, if someone gave you a pancake shaped like a smiley face?  The fact is that we get lots of smiley faces every day, if we just know how to look for them. Sometimes they are gestures of thanks for something that you did, like holding a door open for someone or helping a stranger carry something. Many times they are the small, sometimes hasty, thank-you’s that we get from significant others or children for something rather ordinary that we did for them. Learn to accept them as little smiley faces in your life and be happier because of them.

bathWhat little things in your daily life make you happier? These are your little happy’s. Accept them and embrace them. They are what takes life beyond tolerable and makes it worthwhile. You may find that a strange side-effect of being satisfied and content with life’s little happy’s is that life’s big happy’s just naturally happen, too. It’s all part of living life with a positive mental attitude.

So, listen to the words of Bobby McFerrin’s song and Don’t Worry, Be Happy. As you listen complete the sentence in this post title for yourself –“ I’m happier now, because…”

 


What makes you happy?

October 16, 2014

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”  (Wayne Dyer) What makes you happy?  In the movie, “The Jerk,” Steve Martin needs his dog to make him happy.  But the dog growls at him and runs away.  Sometimes the happiness we seek is not the happiness we need.

man with questionHappiness can be an elusive state in our lives, especially if we have wandered off into the weeds, in terms of how we define what makes us happy. So many of us get caught up in, and go along with, happiness being somehow defined based upon achievements and awards or perhaps possessions and pay scale. In truth, happiness has nothing to do with any of those things. Today’s quote by Wayne Dyer points to the correct place where happiness is achieved – in your mind and in your way of thinking.

There are people (even in America) who can be found sitting beside the road with absolutely nothing to their name – no big, showy possessions, no prestigious titles or awards, nothing – who are happy because the day was warm, they found enough empties to return to make money for dinner and they are watching a beautiful sunset. Are they crazy? No; they’re just happy.  Why? Because happiness is within them and they allow it to come out.

So; want separates us from that state of happiness?  It is all in our minds and in the conditioning that we have grown up with ibn our materialistic society. Who decided that you shouldn’t be happy until you have what “the Jones” have? They did. Who said that you can’t be happy unless you get that big promotion? They did. Who said that you won’t be happy unless yo marry the richest guy or the prettiest girl? They did. Who are they? Have you always assumed that they were the happy people that you were trying to be like? Do “they” really exist; or, are they just another figment of your imagination?

One begins to see the truth in life as one gets a bit older.  The bigger house didn’t really bring the level of happiness that was expected. The bigger, faster, fancier car was great, but it too failed to bring true happiness. After a while the realization sets on that true happiness is facing new dayfound within and in relationships with others and not in possessions or titles or prizes. Waking up in the morning makes you happy at some point in your life.  Making it through the day is cause for more happiness. And being surrounded by and being able to interact with those that you love makes you really happy. It is somehow ironic that only at the closing stages of live do you really appreciate life itself. Before that you take in for granted. Only when you begin to sense the end do you begin to appreciate the present and find happiness in just being a part of it.

What makes you happy? Do you think that getting that next possession is the key for you?
How about getting that bigger house or that new car? Are they you key to happiness? If you think so, go back to the top and re-read. Happiness is a state of mind that starts with being content with what you have, because you realize that having things is not nearly as important happy faceas having loved ones. So; start being happy today by refocusing on what is really important in life – the people you love and who love you.

 

Have a great day and be happy!