Are You Making Yourself Accidentally Unhappy?

 

 

On Friday the house was clean.

On Monday morning I walked through the door after a trip to the gym to be greeted by dishes in the sink (who doesn’t want French toast on a day off from work and school?), an assortment of shoes lining the staircase, papers left on the kitchen counter and crumbs visible on the floor.

My jaw tightened but I mentally made a note to ask my kids to clean up the mess, sweetly. As determined as I was to stay calm, I muttered under my breath “I am not a happy mom right now”.

Just then my eyes caught the title at the top of one of the papers left strewn on the counter; “10 Things Happy People Do Differently”.

Well, well, well.  This is something I definitely need to know.

There, in bold red letters was the number one thing happy people do that unhappy people don’t do:

EXPRESS GRATITUDE

Now here’s the deal: Ask a parent what she wants for her child and she’ll likely respond “for him to be happy”. Ask a wife what she wants in her marriage and you’ll probably hear “to be happy”.  Ask a teenager or recent college grad what they want and they’ll echo the sentiment; “we just want to be happy”. Seems everywhere we go people want to be happy.

Only most people aren’t.

How could this possibly be?  In a country where we have food on our tables, cars in our garages, cell phones in our purses, and a laptop in one hand with a latte’ in the other, how on earth are we unhappy people? Maybe it’s because these things aren’t the stuff happiness is made of. Maybe happiness is as close as the way we think and the way we behave.

Maybe happiness begins with an almost ridiculously simple choice.

Happy people don’t have better, easier or more problem-free lives than unhappy people.  Happy people just see their lives through a different lens; one where they focus on simple things to be thankful for.  A soft bed.  A sunny sky.  A warm coat.  A brave smile. The taste of real butter or homemade jam.

The focus leads to the feeling.

The feeling leads to the expression.

The expression leads to happiness….

…for everyone involved.

“Thank you honey, for working hard for our family.”

“Thank you sweetheart for being so kind to your sister.”

“Thank you Lord for a home for my family, shoes for our feet, dishes left in the sink, and food for my children.”

The possibilities for gratitude are endless.

Do you want to be happy?

Look up.  Look around.  Look out.

And whisper your thanks.

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”

1 Thessalonians1:8

 

P.S. for a great blog on the power of expressing gratitude, check out Ann Voskamp at www.aholyexperience.com . She’s the author of “One Thousand Gifts.” You’ll love it.

 

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