The Key to Happiness?

We’re in last stretch of the holiday season, everybody. Thanksgiving’s out of the way, Hannukah’s over, and Christams and New Years are just around the bend. And as with every holiday season, there seems to be a this exhausting mix of exhilaration and trepidation within each one of us. Yes, it’s a time of great cheer, but then it’s also a time when many, many people find themselves feeling lonelier and more bitter than ever before. And while the reasons are as varied as the emotions we feel, it did get me thinking a lot about what it means to be happy.

Happiness: Give or Take

Author Chris Brady loves to say the only way to be happy is to give happy. While I’ve never disagreed with him, I don’t know how often I’ve really thought about our taken to heart what his statement actually means. And I think it breaks down to one question: are you inwardly focused (taking happiness), or outwardly focused (giving happiness)?

I’ve found that self-absorbed (inwardly focused) people are rarely happy, while people working for a cause (outwardly focused) are almost annoyingly “up.” And since I’ve found myself playing both these roles at different points in my life (though I am ashamed to admit that I’ve spent far more time as the self-absorbed character than the one who focused on helping others), I can safely say it’s a lot more fun playing the annoying “up” person than the one who just complains all the time.

I’m not in anyway trying to imply, by the way, that all unhappy people are selfish, egomaniacs, but I know from personal experience the longer I spend by myself thinking about my life and all the troubles I have, the more inclined I am to try just about anything to make myself stop feeling that way. And let me just tell you, I don’t always pick the best method to feel better. (Can someone say back-to-back TV marathons?) The worst part about my self-medicating is that typically, when all is said and done, I feel just as empty, if not emptier, than I did before. I was so busy trying to make myself feel happy that I didn’t have time to do anything else, and I was miserable. And so the cycle continued.

Breaking the Cycle

Breaking the cycle of misery (at least for me) starts with igniting the spark within us. I find the need to return to one of my older posts, Why Are You Waiting? The irony of me having written that post when I did is that right after I finished, I spent the next 6 months waiting to find out what gets me going. If I had read the post that I wrote, my response to the question would have been, “I’m waiting til I feel better, dagnabbit!” Guess how well that played out?

Well I can officially say that I’m done waiting. I found something other than myself to focus on, and I’m running with everything I got! How about you? And remeber two things: 1) You were born to be great, not mediocre, and 2) it’s never ever too late hop on the path you were made to walk.

God Bless,
Catherine Crichlow

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4 comments

  1. Awesome article – I love the inward focus (taking happiness) or outward focus (giving happiness – aka serving others) analogy.

  2. Rob Crichlow · · Reply

    Great post and spot on. I needed reminding to stay focused on outward thinking. Thanks.

  3. robbyandemily · · Reply

    That was wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing. Been thinking on this a lot lately. Was very good insight. I believe choosing up is just as easy as choosing down. It’s seriously a time chart, of how much time you allow negative, or down thoughts to occupy your mind, verses the positive. Pattern interrupt those negative thoughts and replace them with good ones! Yay!!

  4. Another great post Catherine!! see u soon in louisville!

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