I confess: there isn’t just one secret to happiness. I can guarantee that you’ll be a whole lot happier if you live in the now, not mulling over the past or dreaming about the future.
You can’t change the past
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, right? We go through hard times so that we can grow and appreciate the better times. It’s pretty rare to say oh goody, bring on some more hard times!
Those hard times test us, challenge us, and do actually help us change, hopefully for the better. The hard times are our teachers.
Our unhappiness when we think about the past comes from thinking about the things we would change, if only we’d known better. Guess what? You can’t change a thing. Accept that it happened, learn from it, and let it go.
I’ll be happy when . . .
What’s wrong with being happy right now? Why wait for a future that isn’t guaranteed? Or a future that doesn’t make you feel as happy as you thought it would? What can you find to make yourself happy right now? It’s not always easy, believe me, I know that! Often it’s the little things; they’re always there, if you look hard enough.
- The sun shining on your face
- A beautiful sunrise/set
- A warm home to hole up in or come home to
- Friends & family
- A piece of chocolate melting on your tongue
- The soft fur of a cat
- The gentle rumble of a cat’s purr
- Your dog’s happiness when you come home — whether you were gone 1 minute or 10 days
- The smile on a loved one’s face
- A hug
- The color and beauty of flowers
I could go on and on. So many things on the list above don’t even cost a dime. When you’re really present, when you’re here in this moment, right here, right now, you are much more likely to notice all these small blessings in your life.
Why can’t I dream about the future?
You absolutely can! Dreams can also help us grow. Dreams can take caterpillars who work so hard to break out of their cocoons and turn them into beautiful butterflies who float on the wind.
The problem comes from being overly attached to the outcomes of your plans and your dreams. Falling back into that I’ll be happy when ______ mindset. Sometimes we achieve our dreams and realize that they don’t make us happier after all.
Pushing off the happiness that is always available to you right here and now for a happiness that might never come slowly causes us to believe that good things aren’t meant for us, and we shut down and harden our hearts.
Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.
— Simon De Beauvoir
Find something to be happy about today
Even if you’re having a really cruddy day, pick something on my list that makes you smile, or come up with your own list. If you run today and it doesn’t go well, smile — just a simple smile on the run can change that run. Look around you. Take in the beauty of nature.
Find happiness now
What’s your secret to happiness?
What simple pleasures would you add to my list?
Do you consider yourself a happy person?