How are you? What does happiness mean to you?
When I was much younger, happiness to me means achieving my goals, getting what I want, being treated well, etc.
As I grow, I realized what real happiness means. Lately, I’ve experienced three setbacks that made me appreciate what real happiness is.
Setback #1: When I got home a few nights ago, I found out that we had no electricity. Normally, I’d be tempted to get upset. Instead, I smiled and said,“Wow! This is going to be a unique experience. It’s camping night tonight. What an adventure.”
Takeaway #1: Happiness is finding something amusing in a seemingly not-so-good situation.
(Btw, our electricity was back when I woke up the next day).
Setback #2: My dear friend and I were supposed to see each other and I was really excited for our meeting. I even adjusted some of my activities for our bonding. At the last minute, she begged off because of time constraints. Normally, I’d get disappointed and sad.
Instead, I smiled and said, “It’s okay, I understand.” I meant every word and I quickly adjusted my plans for the day.
Takeaway #2: Happiness is being able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and trying to see things in his/her perspective. That allows you to be more understanding and to not take things personally.
Setback #3: Last Friday night, my grab ride was late for more than 20 minutes because the driver made a few wrong turns. I was so hungry and in a hurry to get home. Normally, I’d just inform the driver that I’d cancel the ride and get another one.
Instead, I decided to extend my patience. When the driver arrived, he said sorry for making me wait. He reasoned that he was new in his job and he was grateful I waited for him.
I smiled and said, “You’re welcome. It’s okay. I understand.” Then I chatted with him and asked him how his day went. I was cool about it.
Takeaway #3: Happiness is the ability to be a little more patient and understanding. It is making someone else’s day brighter by sharing some of your positive energy.
The more I mature, the more I realize what really matters in life.
The more I mature, the more I realize that indeed, it’s not about what happens to us but how we respond.
The more I mature, the simpler my daily goals become.
These days, my daily goals now look like these:
To always trust and thank God for everything — joys, pains, successes, failures, happiness, disappointments, open doors, closed doors. To believe with all my heart that everything is a blessing even if I don’t understand how a pain, a problem, or a disappointment could be a blessing.
To choose to be happy whether I got what I wanted or not and realize that everything is happening FOR me and not to me.
To treat myself with utmost love, care, kindness, appreciation, and respect every single day. (I do talk to myself everyday. I thank myself, I encourage myself, and I pat myself on the back. Hehe. Do you do that, too?)
To be a little more loving, kind, and patient to my loved ones and the people around me.
Yes, I do get excited when I write a new book, deliver a talk, organize an event, launch an online course, or attend conferences… but all these milestones only become meaningful if they allow me to grow in love, character, and maturity…
Bottomline: Happiness is not what happens to us. Happiness is not about money, achievements, applause, social media likes and comments, material possessions. Happiness has everything to do with the meaning we attach to what happens to us.
Sha, I realize that setbacks are meant to give us opportunities to develop our character and to master ourselves. It means that yes, setbacks are blessings.
Have a great week ahead! 🙂
I wish you success and happiness!
P.S. Recently, I conducted a survey and asked, “What is your #1 challenge when it comes to public speaking? Majority of the respondents answered “stage fright.” So here’s my gift for you. I’m doing a webinar on “How to Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking” on December 13, Thu, from 8:00PM – 9:15PM. You can register for free here.