I recently wrote a post for The Book Boost blog about my experience of "happy." In writing that post I looked at my concept of happiness and realized I've moved from an outlook of an Eeyore, the small little donkey in the Winnie the Pooh stories, to an outlook of an Eeyore who sees the sunshine in things, too, not just the rain. I don’t feel I live in denial or am anything close to a Pollyanna, but I have learned to make happiness happen and I believe it's possible. It's a perspective, a view of the very same circumstances from a belief that, yes, there are struggles and challenges in life, but there is an abundance of support and opportunity, too. That's been my "Aha!" moment. That I can live in heaven, so to speak, or hell, it's a matter of perspective in large part.
Trust me, I think being an Eeyore is nothing to be ashamed of. I don't think there's anything wrong with a delicious melancholy. It can inform life from a very realistic and rich point of view. But balance is good, and a strong underlying and real sense of happiness feels to me like a much more empowered approach and something that is available to all types of personalities.
I'm slowly getting to my point.
There are many, many, many suggestions for living a happy life. My Eeyore self has in the past typically discounted such advice and maintained a perspective that expected not to get happiness. But as I've seen the sunshine, so to speak, I've accepted that there are many approaches to life that can enhance the happy factor. I subscribe now to author Kristen Lamb's suggestion that we focus on the positive if we want positive results. And it's not simply a cheap parlor trick, because the perspective, the choice, for positive is just as viable as the negative perspective. That may sound too simple, so to make it more challenging and more life-changing, look deeper and let go, writes the Purpose Fairy.
"We hold onto so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them," Luminita D. Saviuc writes on her blog.
Saviuc lists 15 things to give up that will support happiness in your life. The list includes: Give up your need to be right. Give up blaming. And more really helpful but challenging concepts to master.
To make it simple for myself, I followed Lamb's advice of seeing the positive side of things. Not noticing just the flaws, but the delights, too, and expect the happy to follow. So each night I've been listing Things that Made Me Smile Today. The list concept came from a thought of, what was my best day ever? The very first thought I had was of a day several years ago I spent on the couch and my husband spent in the recliner, both of us sick. We hunkered down and got better. There was nothing to do but be. Of course, I didn't enjoy the sick part but it was a good day.
So there it is. The choice to live in heaven or hell, circumstances be damned.
What made you smile today? What was your best day ever?