When I look around the world, I see people putting effort into creating a happy place. People want to be happy. Happiness makes us feel good. After finding our happy place within we are more likely to manage adversity. We can then travel life with a steady and quiet optimism? So, how do we find our happy place within? What if everything around us is not working in our favour?
Sometimes we can experience ordinary days that turn into the mundane. Or ordinary days that turn out wonderful. Yet how do we get to the point of feeling okay when life is ordinary, and things are not going as well as we expect or desire? Have we built our resilience over years of living? How do we rise up as strong individuals when life’s circumstances try and rob us of our happy place within?
What if our freedom was taken away from us? In many ways the coronavirus COVID-19 has done that. It has taken away our liberty to live life the way we choose. There have been lockdowns across the world that has robbed us of our freedom. Through the lockdowns our freedom was controlled by others more powerful than us. We could not do the things we used to do when we wanted to do them.
Then there are many people who will, despite the odds, move outside their comfort zone, take a risk, to discover they are living an extraordinary life of success. Yet does this take individuals to their happy place within? It might for some, but for others the path of success is a rocky road of unhappiness. The search for their happy place within eludes them.
I like to take wisdom wherever I can find it. Mother Teresa was known for her kindness and compassion. She lived life with a quiet serenity that I identify as a state of happiness within. Mother Teresa lived her life in an ordinary way with extraordinary outcomes. She explains that she lived her life due to the call, within the call.
Firstly, Mother Teresa had the call (that quiet voice from within) to become a nun. She joined the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland. Then there was the call to care for the disadvantaged living in Calcutta, India. She lived a life demonstrating enduring compassion. An ordinary life with extraordinary outcomes. In 1950 Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity. This group of religious sisters put aside their ambition and personal success to serve the poorest of the poor.
One of Mother Teresa’s saying is ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.’ That is the opportunity that life gives me. I can do small things with great love. Is that how we find our happy place within?
While Mother Teresa did not look for success and recognition, it found her. In her lifetime Mother Teresa received over 120 prestigious awards and honours. But did she find her happy place within? Her letters, published after her death, shows that she spent 50 years feeling the absence of God in her life and questioning his existence. She wrote ‘The smile is a mask or a cloak that covers everything.’ So, can we tell when others are happy within? How do we know that we have found our happy place within?
Our journey of life is a complex kaleidoscope of changes – new things, new people, and new challenges. However, there are a few simple signposts that show we are happy within. You might have more but here are a few to get us all thinking and a few for me to practice!
- Do NOT chase happiness through ambition, success and money. These things are great, but they do not define us, unless we let them build our character along the way.
- Do NOT sweat the small stuff. What if someone pushes in front of you to get served first? What if you spent 30 minutes early in the morning preparing lunch for work, only to leave it at home? What if your colleague has a glass of milk and there is none left for your coffee? It may be annoying, but we must let it go, if we want to keep our happy calm within.
- Live life in the moment. But, do NOT let an unexpected moment of trouble live within and upset our happy calm. Once again, let it go!
- Show appreciation to others, even when it is not deserved.
- If feeling stressed, look for way to find calm within the situation.
- Spend time with those who make us smile. This will only add joy to our lives.
- Spend time doing the things we love; with the people we love.
- Savour the simple pleasures of life.
- Find meaning through helping others.
And lastly, find a quiet place and listen to our heart. This is when we are most likely to find the pathway to our happy place within.
P.S. As it happened Mother Teresa was not the extraordinary person I planned to write about this week. But with life there is always something unexpected around the next corner. For you, I hope it is an expected moment of joy. A happy heart that gives you a quiet knowing that all is well.