With the advent of the festive season, and the arrival of yet another new year the word happy is banded about often. In a recent read I discovered that one of the top Google searches was the following statement – how to be happy. My immediate thought was that I wasn’t alone in pondering this and I breathed a sigh of relief. Then the word resolution popped up in the next piece of text I read. I decided this was a sign pointing me to my next post – a resolution to be happy.
Years ago a single present, something simple and small for a birthday was everything. Christmas shared with family concentrated on eating together, being together as the reason to celebrate. Yet these days we all seemed to have moved to a new planet, one called Not Enough, and Christmas becomes a torture of shopping for things with a view to blowing budgets into the never never. It’s not just during the festive season. We are consumers first, people second in the mistaken belief that things can make us happy. Alicia Hill in an article for Thrive Global says:
We consume more food, entertainment, and information than any other generation in the history of the world, yet we still aren’t happy. We never have enough.
I have stressed over Christmas this year more so than any other for many reasons but mostly because I don’t have the means to give the things I would like to give to the people I love. I can’t even be with them because my family is spread in three different directions and in this country it means an awful lot of kilometres. It doesn’t matter though because they know what matters most – the surety of being loved no matter the distance. Why then do I worry about presents, the giving of things?
How can I not when I am inundated with Christmas shopping panic all around me? To gain a better understanding I needed to step away and when I did I found my stress came because I was comparing myself and my situation to others. Interestingly a significant portion of those others, when pushed revealed they too worried because of what they imagined or knew others were doing. I realised then that comparisons are deadly and are a prime factor in undermining happiness. Appreciating what we have and not how much of it we have would eliminate so much angst, primarily the problem of not enough.
Concentrating on doing rather than having is the key to happiness. Someone offered to take me out for a coffee the other day when they recognised just by the sound of my voice that something was wrong. I couldn’t stop smiling at the fact that there are people out there that listen, really listen and then pay it forward by offering of themselves, of their time.
Sometimes I feel embarrassed to offer help when I can see that person is so much better at things than I am. But there is always something we can do. Helping to clean up after a meal can be enough. Recognising they need can be enough. I can’t think of a better wish for everyone for the festive season than for them to have someone listen to and do for them. My one simple and only resolution is to be one of those people, the one that notices, that cares and I know it is a hard one to maintain in this busy world.
Resolution or common sense? Being happy is a choice. A new shiny toy is a band-aid and only skims the surface of our lives but like everyone else I can use a band-aid at times but being happy, truly, deeply happy is a personal choice. It is one that understands the heavy price of maintenance.
My band-aid is my new business cards courtesy of a wonderful young man I am privileged to know (firstname.lastname@example.org) who gives his help so willingly that it makes me smile with happiness. I wish everyone lots of band-aid joys but most of all I wish you the choice of happiness over the next few weeks and well into the New Year and all of those to come.
With best wishes and appreciative thanks for following me this year, and my sincerest hope to see you in 2018.