The key to happiness

A fortune cookie that I was once given imparted the most profound knowledge: “If you cannot be happy with what you have, how can you be happy with more?” There is so much truth in that.

This time of year, and always, I am thankful for so many things…

Despite bad health, I am still alive, vertical, and living life in a full way. I have a beautiful little girl who is the love of my life, my best friend, and my muse. We have a roof over our heads and food on the table. I am back in college after a way-too-long hiatus, am working on my BFA before pursuing a Masters, and am enjoying it. I have been blessed with a boyfriend who adores me for who I am, supports me in all that I do, and helps me cook even if he has had a tiring day, doesn’t mind doing dishes and other things to help me around the house, and who goes out of his way to make me laugh. I have an ex-husband who is a good dad, adores our daughter, and who considers me his closest and dearest friend.

Life is pretty damn good.

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.”
– James Oppenheim, novelist, poet

We often pray for change, for things we want, for things we think we need, but how often do we just sit back and think of all the things around us that we already have in our lives? Not as much as we probably should.

“Most discontent grows from want.” Basing your quality of life around desire is a never-ending well. No matter how much you pour into it, it grows deeper and deeper and you can never fill that.

Society keeps upping the ante, but keep in mind that the newest trends will soon become old ones. Things change so fast and we get caught up in the “must-have” motions. Wait it out and see if it is something you still need in a month. If it is something you really want, clip the page out of the magazine and put it in a file, on a corkboard or on the fridge. Look at it in a week, two weeks. Do you still want it? If you still want it after 30 days then it is probably legitimate and you can go for it without the guilt of a quick buy.

Once you can truly appreciate what you have, you will find you are probably luckier than most. You will also find yourself in a better position mentally to enable yourself to reach out and lift as you climb.

I never really grasped the full meaning of “the best way to help others is to help yourself” until I starting doing volunteer work full-time. It always sounded so selfish when I heard other people saying it but I wasn’t really looking at it the right way. Helping others, taking the time to do a good deed, it may seem small to you but it means so much. It gives people hope in humanity, something we all need these days, and it is so very easy to do. The feeling you get from it is so fulfilling and, making that small attitude a way of life, is life-altering.

No matter what happens in the end, it is the view on the ride along the way that makes everything worth living for.

Inspired by SparkPeople’s Daily Spark.

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