Before I started a gratitude journal, I thought about how I would find five things each day for which I am grateful. It’s way easier to find five, ten maybe even twenty things to complain about……..but I am finding that I just have to think long and hard enough and they come to me, they are right there, they are never far way- much like God……..and too when you are intentional about it, you find yourself searching for the things that will make the list.
So this morning as I thought about my list, it occurred to me that my mother is living a very happy life without me being around her. That was my biggest worry when I decided to leave her. I really get it now when others say worry and fear are twin sisters that just drain and rob us of strength. I also get it, that no one is responsible for another person’s happiness.
My mother’s happiness comes from her giving of her self and her resources to those around her, every day. Whatever she reaps or gets, she distributes………Whenever there is a death or sickness, she visits……… whatever she cooks, she shares……. she entertains and hosts……… she cares for children………she lends money………she introduces people…………she is involved in her church……… she forgives………she visits other congregations………she exercises………..It occurred to me that maybe nothing much has changed to her happiness quotient since I left, maybe just a little sadness at first. My mom is a master of letting go and not worrying about things she cannot control. What a beautiful gift for me.
I have learnt thus, that whatever we give we get back tenfold so we should be givers and not takers. You cannot participate in the cause and excuse yourself from the effect (Gary Zukav). So if you give insults, inflict pain, hurts someone- you feel worse than the recipient and it will come back to you. The same with love, kindness, encouragement, and forgiveness etc, the more you give the happier you feel and you reap those same rewards. I know this because whenever I do something good, especially if it’s unexpected- I get euphoric, I am happy. I also know because the Bible tells me at Matthew 7 v 12….
Question then is, what makes me happy?
1. When I start my day the right way, with scripture reading/meditation/prayer or all three.
2. When I do not break my routine…..I leave the house at a specific time, eat my breakfast, have my conversations, leave work on time, go to church on Sundays, and just have time to do whatever I choose.
3. When I do something good for someone else, and not out of guilt, under duress or reluctantly. A lady told me she was at the grocery store and a gent asked her for money as he was hungry. She said, she took him inside and bought him food…….you think that would make her feel good right? She did some good right? Of course she did, but she said she didn’t feel good, because she knew the reason she did that, was because she didn’t think he was telling the truth, she didn’t trust him. So you see that was on her, even if he was deceiving her. Our intentions therefore makes the action, do it from the right place and with the right motive.
4. When I fulfill a promise…….and strike things off my to-do list.
5. When I am not hungry or thirsty.
6. When I exercise and get a good night’s rest
7.When I go on vacations, and am grateful
8. When I de-clutter bad habits and toxic people and also when I spring clean. But most of all when I make decisions that elevate my self-worth rather than people-please. In short, when I do not betray myself.
9. When I am healthy and my mother, other family members and friends are okay
10. In and around nature, especially as I walk and breathe in fresh air.
11. When I am debt free or have a low debt ratio. I have acid reflux when I over-spend.
12. When I forgive…..
13. Praying, and answered prayer……… even No, especially No sometimes.
14. When I receive a gift or commendation…….
In summary I have recognized:
1. Happiness comes when there is mind, body, spirit balance.
2. Nothing in the material or tangible realm contributes to my happiness.
3. Happiness is proportional to genuine giving, to yourself and others.
4. Only me myself and I can make me happy, no other earthly being can.
5. Happiness comes and goes, it’s not a permanent state.
6. Happiness results from connection.