Most of us would like to be happy. Yet many times, happiness is elusive. The whole marketing world claims to help us find happiness, yet chasing happiness isn’t likely to make us happy. If buying things truly made us happy, there would be no buyer’s remorse.
Some people think that happiness is in the past. They revel in the memories of their glory days, or wish that we could turn back the clock to a happier time. Romanticizing the past leads to longing for things we cannot have, and longing for something is a sure sign that we are not experiencing happiness.
Happiness isn’t in the future either. It is tempting to live for a future where we will finally have everything we want. We have many expressions that demonstrate this sentiment, “someday when my ship comes in…” or “someday when I win the lottery…” Even Disney promises happiness in the future with “someday my prince will come.” Waiting for happiness in the future gives us false promises. We have no guarantee of tomorrow and no promise that things we do today will make us happier in the future.
Happiness, then, is found in the moment. We might find happiness when we genuinely connect with someone. It might happen when we see a beautiful sunset, or watch a puppy chasing his tail. Who could not be happier just listening to a child’s giggles? These may be brief moments, but if we find enough of them, we will build a life of happiness.
I recently spent several nights at a Hampton Inn. When I went downstairs to grab a coffee, I found myself delighted by a choice of colorful, playful sleeves for the paper coffee cups. Those little sleeves are the things you slide onto the cup when it is too hot to hold. They are useful, but not special, usually made of plain brown cardboard.
I watched the people ahead of me look at the colors and designs, choose one and smile. I choose a bright yellow one decorated with a pair of sunglasses. It was a spot of happiness in a winter where we haven’t seen much sun.
I felt instantly happy. It was a little thing, a very tiny thing, but it helped me to start the day in a positive frame of mind.
Maybe happiness isn’t found in the big things, the things we wait for and wish for and dream of. Maybe happiness is in the little things, the little choices we make every day. I like that idea, because it means we can choose to be happy.
My little bit of happiness started with a smile on my morning cup of coffee.
Where can you find a little bit of happiness today?
Sending a little bit of sunshine,