Do you know WHAT makes you happy? Think about it.
Can you describe "happy" using other words? Try it.
The sad fact is that most of us have no clue what makes us happy. If we did, doesn't it stand to reason we would do ALOT more of it? The reality is that we think we know what makes us happy, and so often times we expend energy pursuing the things that we think make us happy only to discover that once obtained, either they do not, or the feeling is short lived. Maybe its a new car, or a pair of shoes, or a trip. How often have you planned a really super special awesome vacation, and think about or dream about lying on a beach....and when the vacation comes, maybe the shuttle to the hotel is late, maybe the AC is broken the kids or the significant other is complaining....and the reality did not live up to the expectation.
The reality is that Happiness seemingly very simple yet very tricky to define. One key is that the brain, and I talked about this before, is an "anticipation machine". Which is to say that man, seperate from all other beings can think, and dream and anticipate the future. When a squirrel stores away a nut for the coming winter, that may seem like he is anticipating the future, but he is operating more on autopilot, like a mini computer program. Once the amount of daylight diminished each day to a certain level, the program kicks in and he goes about storing nuts. So its looks like he is anticipating, but not really.
But human dream, think, anticipate, savour.......and the reverse is that they fear, worry, dread. As I wrote last time about taking things day by day, because all of the fears and worries and stresses in life come from thinking about "what will or might happen in the future" so to, do alot of pleasures......in anticipating what a new dates might be like, or a great dinner, or an exotic location......we dream up all the perfect details, go over them again and again, and they are awesome...delectable.
So what happens? Why does the reality often not live up to the anticipation? Well it could be that in part we become so fixated on the specifics of our anticipation, that when the actual thing happens and doesn't match exactly we get disappointed. Maybe you bought a new dress and you went over in your head 100 times what your spouse or new date is going to say, how we will compliment it, and each of those 100 times it put a smile on your face....then the 101 time, the times he shows up, and says "hi, we are running late, you look great" AWE! What an idiot! you think, doesn't he know what he was "supposed" to say? and you get disappointed, and then he is confused. But lets turn it around......maybe he was anticipaing something different......He made a reservation, tipped the maitre'd to give you the best table, he has been imagining that you walk in get impressed by his choice and how they treat you at this fancy place, but for him, that big anticipation is in jeopardy because you both are 15 minutes behind....now you drive kind of quiet....and he is thinking, Jeez, MY anticipation of this big night is ruined.
So whats the solution? Well I wish I had the easy answer. I would say that of course there is much pleasure in anticipation.....but when it comes to reality, dont affix to much preconception, be open to enjoy the moments as they unfold....DON'T WORRY SO MUCH ABOUT THE SCRIPT!
Countless volumes have bee written on the pursuit of happiness. One book that I return to again and again is actually called "Stumbling on Happiness" by Daniel Gilbert. I have read it maybe 50 times. It is not a guide to how to be happy but a fun scientific explanation of some of the things that have been learned about happiness, and many things that will surprise you and challenge your thinking.
I continue to try and grow and learn what makes me happy, and I resolve to to do more of it. Yesterday it was this gooey mac and cheese in the self serve section. Totally gross, but totally yummy. I am trying to lose some weight So i was picking up some fresh vegetables and a lo-cal frozen dinner.....but this pan of mac and cheese was calling out to me.......so what did I do? Grabbed the smallest container, filled it up with only one or 2 spoons worth, and took it home....smiling. That's Happy
Be Well !!!
I write about things that I myself need to be mindful of. ways in which I would like to improve. It is not from the perspective of preaching - but rather writing helps me work out what I myself need to do - we are all in this together.