Happiness and unhappiness are largely based on your point of view and your mindset. About 10 years ago, the roofers set my house on fire and the roof collapsed through the studio. The day of the fire, I thought it was the worst thing
that had ever happened to me. The next day, I felt relief. Yes. Relief that the fire fighters showed up in under two minutes. The same fire department I had muttered against because we lived so close and their sirens woke us from time to time. A burning row house in a crowded town can do a lot of damage, and no one else’s house got damaged. I felt happier than I had the day before the fire, when I was grousing about something at work.
Can you re-set your idea of happy? You can.
Don’t think life is automatically hard. Sure there are hard times. Yes, your job is not fair. But in the movie of your life, stop seeing yourself as the victim, the poor picked-on underdog who deserves sympathy from everyone else in the world. Try backing up and seeing a slightly bigger picture. One of the joys in life is solving problems. Put your problems in perspective and you’ll feel better.
Not everyone is out to get you. The guy who cuts you off in traffic doesn’t
know you. He is not out to make you furious. He is late for work. The grocery packer who drops the melon on the raspberries is not deliberately trying to ruin your groceries; she wasn’t paying attention. Both of those situations are aggravating, but the more we think that it’s deliberate, the angrier we get. Then we start to pretend to know how much other people are out to get us. Stop. No one is out to get you. They might be selfish, but it’s not about you.
Give up control. Keep your eye on the goal, work to make it happen, but when something goes wrong, do not live the rest of your life as if micromanaging will save you from disappointment. It won’t. Micromanaging your life (or other people’s lives) will just make you unhappy more often. Most of life can’t be controlled. And punishing new friends for what ex-friends did to you will limit your circle of friends to your own reflection in the mirror.
Happiness is like a houseplant. It needs tending, feeding and care. And admiration. If you work at it, you’ll need a bigger pot for your unhappiness, because it has outgrown the small one it started in. The same is true for happiness–it thrives with attention.
––Quinn McDonald reminds herself that she wants to be happy.