While watching my son play chess with my dad, as I used to when I was a little girl, reminded me of an attitude that I adopted long ago deep in my heart. Watching them play chess together, I asked my son if he'd play Mastermind with me, and his response was "After I beat Grandpa at chess!" Although he was down his queen, both rooks, a bishop, a knight, and several pawns, compared to only capturing a few of my dad's pawns, I knew in my son's mind, he was thinking the exact same thing I always used to think while playing chess with my dad: "I don't care how far I'm down, I'm coming back!" And yet, I can't remember a single time I ever beat my dad in chess. He won every time. Yet, every time, I felt more and more determined to beat him. Will I ever beat my dad at chess? Most likely not. Did it create an attitude in me that ultimately ended up serving me well in my life? Absolutely. With every challenge, obstacle, or mountain to climb I face in my life, I always think, "I don't care how far I'm down, I'm coming back!"
A while ago, I took a poll via facebook, and asked my friends, "What makes you happy?" I got so many varied responses, from being creative: painting, writing, baking, to helping others, to most interestingly, WORKING...doing things, finishing projects, accomplishing things. Then I went back and read every response, and realized, when it came down to it, even the simplest things that make one happy...hugs, swinging on the porch, listening to the birds chirp, to enjoying church with your family, to maybe doing nothing but watching your children giggle....at the core of each of these things, is the fact that you did something, you worked at something, you accomplished something to get there, to be able to enjoy that privilege. If your happiness comes from your children jumping in bed with you on a lazy Sunday morning, that is because you are finding contentment and joy in the fact that you have earned that privilege, in many ways....you've worked hard to provide for your children, you probably got them dressed for bed and tucked them in bed the night before. The joy we derive from our children is a result of the hard work we've done as parents.
If you simply think happiness comes from those rare moments of relaxation, soaking in the sights and sounds of nature, or enjoying a simple laugh with your loved ones, think again. You're right and you're wrong. It does come from whatever gives you those feelings of pure joy and happiness. And that comes from the fact that you've worked hard to get that, earned yourself the privilege of enjoying those things - your children's laughter, taking a walk or vacation, or making a difference in someone's life.
So if I could give any advice on how to be happy, DO something, WORK at something. You will find happiness from the accomplishment. Creativity was a common response I got in reply to "What makes you happy?" Creativity, in music, or art, or any form of creativity is doing, it's creating; truly accomplishing something in its purest form. I learned a lot from taking that poll, especially since I have accomplished things that have brought me happiness, I realized, accomplishment gives us self-esteem, privileges, and loved ones to hold in our arms. So literally, you can Do Yourself Happy!
Shelley Johnson - Inspiring individuals to a healthier and happier lifestyle, and ultimately to faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love.