3 Keys to Happiness

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When did I get to old for things I used to do?

Notice I did ask “when did I get old”. I don’t ever plan on being old. My inner child is alive and well and I make sure I do something every day to keep her happy, healthy, and whole.

But I am getting older. And wiser? Well, that’s up for debate, but I like to think so.

I’m getting older in the sense that things I used to do when I was younger no longer appeal to me. In fact some of the things I used to do without a second thought scare the holy hell out of me now! I used to rush head long into any situation without any thought to the consequences and thankfully come out the other side no worse for wear.

I guess that’s normal. Like now, how I stop and think before I do almost anything. I’m not saying what I’m experiencing is all that special, but I want to take a minute to document it. I want to examine it to see where the balance lies and how I can make sure I am happy, healthy, and whole. Here are 3 things that have helped me along the way.

  1. Balance is one of the most important keys to happiness in this life.

I used to be all over the place. If I wasn’t up I was down. I needed external circumstances to feel anything when I was younger. Looking back on it now I’m pretty sure that was the reason why I put myself in so many crazy situations or created situations that caused a lot of drama.

It’s taken many years to get to the point now where I crave peace and stability. Actually I think I always did I just didn’t want to admit it. One of the first things I said to my counselor all those years ago when I first started going to therapy was that I wanted to be stable. I didn’t want my emotions to be up one minute and down the next. I hated that feeling of being out of control.

Boy, was I out of control!

I think about that time now and thank God that I lived through it and that my marriage is still intact. There were days when even I wondered why I did and said the things I did. I know there were moments when I was a truly horrible, nasty person. I was in pain and wanted everyone else around me to feel that pain.

Yet underneath it all, I wanted to be kind and gentle. I wanted to be the type of person that others could talk to without fear of judgement and ridicule. I wanted to be the type of person I was looking for in this world.

Stable, strong, kind, empathetic, trustworthy, loyal.

Then I realized that type of person is rare in this day and age. There are more people hurting and causing pain than the kind of person I strive to be. That realization made my goal that much more important.

It is so easy to judge and criticize. It is so easy to laugh and ridicule. It is so easy to complain and say hurtful things. It is so easy to take offense and hold a grudge.

2. Letting go is another important key to happiness!

When people do or say something that is hurtful or just plain confusing, refuse to hold onto it. Understand that they are probably hurting just as much if not more than you and are lashing out from that pain. Now I’m not saying to just go around on a fluffy cloud of obliviousness and preach peace and love and all that crap.

No, feel the pain, feel the hurt, feel the anger – then let it go. Holding onto it just hurts you, because here’s a truth that’s going to sting a bit. No one is thinking about how what they said or did hurt you or anyone else. Most people are so self-absorbed in their own thoughts and hurt they can’t give two shits about anyone else or how what they say affects them.

Don’t be one of those people!

Like it or not we share this planet with billions of other people. Life is so short, why not make it a more pleasant experience by helping other people or just being polite. Stop thinking about ourselves and our problems for one minute just to smile at someone as we hold the door for them.

Here’s my final key to happiness (for this post anyway)…

 3. Smile through the pain. There’s always a reason to laugh if you look for it.

I’ve found that when I’m in the middle of something that I have no control over I need to laugh. I used to feel guilty, because people would look at me funny, but then I realized that people were always going to look at me funny for one reason or another. So why not laugh. There’s no getting around it. Life sucks and bad things happen, sometimes.

Please don’t misunderstand me. If anyone suffers a tragedy, I know it hurts and there is a period of grieving and mourning. I am not making light of anyone’s pain. But here’s the part that leads back to key number 2.

Life goes on. Whether we want it to or not – life goes on, and if we can let go of some of the hurt and some of the pain and some of the anger we can move on too. It may be the hardest thing we’ve ever done, letting go and moving on, but finding a reason to smile helps. Finding a reason, eventually, to get up in the morning, to just be glad to be alive, helps. Hell, do it for your inner child. I know I need to do something that feeds my inner child when my world goes to hell, because she deserves to be happy. She didn’t get such a great start, but I’ll be damned if she’s not happy now!

Feed your inner child!

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