Yesterday evening I sat alone in a room. It was so very perfectly quiet. I sat smiling from ear to ear. Quietness feeds my mind and my soul. I face me there. I face me head on and I can’t hide. It’s a good thing.
As I reveled in the quietness I thought, “I am truly happy!” It was different for me. There was no, “I am happy, but…” or “I think I will be happy when…”
The thing is, for years now, I thought I would just be happy when ____________ happened. You fill in the blank.
It was has always been something. When I got married, when we bought a house, when we have a baby, when my baby sleeps through the night, when, when, when.
I am much happier than I used to be, but I still struggle with chasing happiness. And, I always wonder why.
A stellar resource
I am reading the book The Law of Happiness by Dr. Henry Cloud. In the book, as you may have surmised, Dr. Cloud addresses the issue of happiness.
We all want happiness, but so few actually achieve a consistently happy state in their lives. The book addresses 13 areas where science and God agree on how to become happier.
One of the chapters struck me. Actually, I have a sneaky feeling the book literally jumped out of my hands and slapped me across the face!
The chapter was called “Happy people are not lazy about happiness.”
Happiness requires “doing the work”
In the chapter, Dr. Cloud tells the a story of John Grisham. As you probably know, John Grisham is the bestselling author of the novel “A Time To Kill.”
John was an attorney and a state legislator, but his dream was to be an author. He was extremely busy with his full time job and had other responsibilities, as we all do. John, however, decided to not be lazy about his happiness. He got up one hour earlier each day and wrote. Each day he wrote one page.
One hour, one page. Within a few years, he had “A Time To Kill.”
Since that day, John Grisham has sold over 100 million books!
What struck me was this. With all the books I have read, all the knowledge I have, I still, somewhere deep in me feel as though some-thing is going to bring me happiness. And it won’t.
(Actually, circumstances do bring some happiness, but only about 10% and this 10% is short lived. Soon you need something else to fill the void)
The truth is actually very simple: happy people pursue happiness every day! They aren’t lazy about their happiness!
When we stop being lazy and wake up from the dream which says, “When __________ happens, then I’ll be happy,” we come to the realization that we are responsible for our own happiness.
It is the same in the Bible where God promises the Israelites the promised land. But, he didn’t just give it to them. They had to go and possess it! And, honestly they had to travel far and fight quite a few battles to possess it. So do we.
Happiness will not just envelop us like a mist. Just as anyone needs to work on perfecting a trade, true and lasting happiness requires certain activities done on a regular basis. It requires work on our part.
It requires pursuit. Happiness must be.
Here are 13 habits Dr. Cloud emphasizes in his book. Each chapter goes into more detail on these habits, but here is a quick overview.
13 habits of happy people
- Happy people are givers
- Happy people are not lazy about happiness
- Happy people don’t wait for “someday”
- Happy people pursue goals
- Happy people fully engage
- Happy people connect
- Happy people don’t compare
- Happy people think well
- Happy people are grateful
- Happy people have boundaries
- Happy people forgive
- Happy people have a calling
- Happy people have faith
Wow, this gives me tools! This is tangible! I can do this, and so can you!
I am altering my approach to happiness from this day forward! And, guess what? That is exactly why I was sitting alone last night smiling, when normally I would be worrying or fretting about who knows what!
I am actively pursuing happiness. Will you join me?
Question: Are you pursuing happiness?