It’s More Selfless to be Happy

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self·ish
/ˈselfiSH/
adjective
  1. (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.
    “I joined them for selfish reasons”

self·less
/ˈselfləs/
adjective
  1. concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own; unselfish.
    “an act of selfless devotion”

 

Everyone wants to think of themselves as being selfless. But we have all, at one point or another been nothing but selfish.

Selfish with decisions, choices, actions or words.

Which makes us feel like we are bad people who do bad things.

But we are more often than not good people who may do bad things.

 

I am guilty of this. Definitely. And it’s taken a lot of recognition and hard work to realize I, too, deserve to be happy, forgiven, loved and accepted. The battle of using guilt and shame to either hold ourselves back or move forward.

And then I read something from Gretchen Rubin (in this book club) that I had a hard time accepting and/or understanding. Maybe you can help me out?

It’s more selfless to be happy.

And for full context…

“The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted. No one is careful of his feelings or tries to keep his spirits high. He seems self-sufficient; he becomes a cushion for others. And because happiness seems unforced, that person usually gets no credit.”

― Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

It’s saying you’ll go do something instead of saying “I really don’t want to… but I will if you want me to.”

If you appear happy you are. It’s similar to thinking affirmations. If you think “I am rich” then you manifest riches. Focusing on happy things makes you a more happy and positive person. It makes you strive to look for good in the world, in people and in negative situations.

And is it hard? Yes.

Is it necessary daily, even on the super bad dark days? Oh, yes.

 

Growing up you were continually told to put a smile on or look like you were happy to be somewhere. Humans faces are capable of displaying the six primary emotions: happiness, surprise, anger, sadness, fear, and disgust. These can easily be misinterpreted depending on the day, on the person or even the culture.

You ever see a picture of yourself where you’re caught off guard or unaware you’re sitting in the background of a photo? More than likely your face was relaxed or non-expressive. You’re not on display, you’re not on the stage of a show and you’re, instead, frozen in time as being Grumpy Cat even if it was the best party you’ve ever been to.

So I made a conscious effort beginning at a young age (maybe middle or high school) to smile. Walking through the store, smiling at people, making small talk…always with a small smile on my face or a pleasant expression.

Smiling all the time? Doesn’t that hurt? Well, sure, but eventually you forget you’re doing it. It’s a habit and it makes you feel positive as well as everyone around you.

Happiness doesn’t have to be an external show. It can be internal, too.

If you don’t like a book, stop reading it. Why do we continue to watch shows or read books if they’re just that awful. Just to finish what we started? That’s not worth even the most minor of negativity.

If you don’t like clutter, donate and toss. I absolutely cannot work or live in a cluttered house. I am moving out of a state of necessity and rotating items in my house to be things I love and enjoy. Plastic Tupperware to glass, old to new vacuum, no bed frame to bed frame, clothes….you get the idea. As I mentioned on my home page there is nothing in life that needs to be expensive in order to make an impact. All you need is less. All you need to do is simplify.

When you keep it simple you make it successful.

If you don’t like the way someone makes you feel, add distance. This is quite a bit easier being a military family but know that distance can also mean muting, blocking, ignoring or politely excusing. If you have questions on how to do this on social media you can google or reach out and ask me. I’ve had a bit of practice…

 

You can choose what you do but not what you like to do. Another gem of a reminder from The Happiness Project. You might not LIKE doing laundry or dishes but you can choose to be happy about it. You’ve got dishes to wash because you have food to eat. You have clothes to wear. You have access to water and electricity which allows these chores that HAVE to be done to be more efficient.

Enjoy and respect as little or as much as you have. It’s not the material things or the mindset you currently have but what you do with them that counts. It’s more selfless to yourself and those around you to just be happy and enjoy the good and bad life throws at you.

 

Try being happy today. Even if you have to find it.

Cheers!
Marin

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