Happy People by Little Big Town has been going through my head the last few days, constant, on repeat.
It’s a fun song, an important song. The words recall all of the things that happy people don’t do. “Happy people don’t cheat, happy people don’t lie.” Listen to the song, you won’t be disappointed. But lately my thoughts have been on what happy people actually do.
The world is in nothing other than chaos. No better word I can think of. So much fear, so much sadness, and don’t get me started on the anger. So, so much anger.
When that is all you see, when that is all you hear, when that is all everyone is talking about all around you how else can you feel than unsettled, frightened, tired, and sad?
I used to have the words “Happiness is a Choice” in big bold vinyl on the wall of our kitchen. My kids heard it said over and over, and the saying pointed to numerous times as fighting or grumpiness would erupt amongst one or all of them. It is my motto, my absolute belief, but I also recognize there are some times which are definitely harder than others to make that choice. If nothing else, 2020 has been the year of me reminding myself to be happy. “I will be happy, I will be happy.” But sometimes that is easier said than done. So, how can I do it when everyone, everything tells me, yells to me different?
Here is my list of what happy people do. Take it for what it is, my list. Add to it as it will help you and share it with others. Happiness is contagious with effort.
Happy People recognize God. Happy People see others along with themselves. Happy People count to ten. Happy People listen to all sides without prejudice. Happy People decide for themselves with education and without emotions overriding calm thought. Happy People serve. Happy People look hard for good. Happy People see good in little things. Happy People recognize blessings Happy People try to be other people’s angels. Happy People love. Happy People take quiet moments to reflect. Happy People give themselves time to heal. Happy People hug. Happy People smile. Happy People forgive. Happy People meditate. Happy People play. Happy People work. Happy People exercise. Happy People connect. Happy People eat healthy. Happy People sneak treats sometimes too. Happy People recognize the bad in the world and try to do something about it. Happy People look past the bad and see those who are doing good. Happy People share. Happy People cry. Happy People laugh. Happy People show gratitude and share their gratitude. Happy People get enough sleep. Happy People sing. Happy People have hobbies. Happy People see other’s struggles. Happy People choose over and over to be happy. Happy People see nature’s beauty.
Your list may be different. It may be longer; it may be shorter. It may include all which is on my list or it may be completely different, but I believe there are some universal truths in the lines above. My list is a jumping off point, a reflection and gain more knowledge point. But at some point each of us needs our own list of what Happy People do.
I can’t control the storms in Iowa or the fires in the west. I can’t control the riots or the pandemic. I can’t control the natural disasters happening all over the world and I certainly can’t control the elections or the anger boiling over on both sides, but I can control me.
I can control the happiness I exude and hold back the unrest that threatens to bubble out of me. How I feel can add to the turmoil, can fuel the ever burning fire of contention or it can soften and lighten the tensions and chaos around me.
Imagine if everyone chose to be a Happy People before they spoke, before they acted, before they reacted. Imagine the happiness which would spread in just the action of choosing.
As Little Big Town said, “Happy People don’t hate, Happy People don’t steal, Cause all the hurt sure ain’t worth all the guilt they’d feel.” How are you going to be a Happy People? (Gibson is a Serve Daily contributor.)