Dress- LuLaRoe by Karlie (she always has new styles to grab)
Photography by: Eunice
I don’t want the title of this post to deceive you. It’s 11:25 in the morning, the day is not even close to being over, and I’ve already had a handful of events that have caused some internal anxiety. In fact, last night my husband was getting tired and said let’s go to bed. I turned to him abruptly and exclaimed, “No! I can not face that right now! Going to bed means having to wake up tomorrow morning to start the craziness all over again, and I am just not ready to do that right now. Right now, I just need to sit here, and have you rub my feet and do nothing!” So, my good husband did just that because he knows when I am in a mood not to contest anything even if I am not saying rash things. My feet were rubbed and I sat for a while longer and then said, “Okay, I am now ready for bed.”
I needed to throw out that behind the scenes visual because I don’t want to trick you and make you think that I inhale sunshine and sparkles and confetti every morning for breakfast and then blow it out throughout the day, prancing around like I’m at Disneyland without a care in the world.
One time, actually a couple of years ago, a not so happy anonymous reader emailed me and said,
“STOP BLOWING SUNSHINE OUT OF YOUR A**!!!”
I couldn’t figure out what they were referring to, maybe that I think everything should be perfect all of the time? Because obviously the person offended hadn’t ever fully read anything I write about how I am disheveled and burn every dinner ever and cry from time to time about the sad things I see everyday in the lives of people I love, and the list goes on. And then I thought how cool it would be if I could actually blow sunshine….
I’ve learned something over the years.
People want to be happy, I want to be happy. But sometimes it feels really hard to be. It’s hard because of pain and suffering, it’s hard because of actions of others beyond our control, it’s hard because of injustice and loss and difficult trials not making sense in our minds that can’t always comprehend the bigger picture of life. It’s hard because of jealousy and envy and gossip and backstabbing and evilness and being pulled in ten directions at the same time.
And in my struggle with trying to make sense of what happiness should look like, I met a woman.
This woman had nothing in the eyes of the world. She lived in government subsidized housing, couldn’t go grocery shopping if her food stamps ran out, lost the love of her life decades before, and was at the mercy of others to get her places that she needed to go because she could not drive.
This woman is one of the happiest people that I have ever met. Because despite her outside circumstances, she chose to be happy on the inside. She chose to be grateful and loving and spent her time serving and uplifting people around her.
I do not claim that I have all of the answers,
but here is what I have learned about the art of being happy:
– When you are sad, and feel like there is no way to climb out of it, choose to get up and go serve someone else. It is almost impossible to feel unhappy when you are loving and giving to someone who needs it more than you. The art of happiness lies in sharing it with other people. If we worry too much about ourselves, we miss the point of where genuine happiness actually comes from. It’s the times where we feel the the worst that we need to go and muster out our best for other people. You’ll gripe and moan at first, but when it’s over, I promise that you’re heart will be full of all those things that you were searching to find all day.
– A lot of people are unhappy, so they will try to make you feel bad about your own happiness. This comes in the form of jealousy of your accomplishments, or trying to stomp your positive attitude down, or gossiping about you… or anything that they can do to make you as miserable as they are.
I have learned a lot of things from these type of people. The first one is that they need love too. I know, it’s hard and one time I actually wanted to punch someone square in the face for something that they said to me. Knock on wood but I haven’t actually done that to anyone… yet 😉 There’s a reason they are unhappy, sometimes it goes deep and we have no idea the battles they have fought and how hard it is for them to just keep on marching. So remember that, and find it in yourself not only to love them, but to let them know that you love them. Another thing I have learned is that no matter what you do, there will always be a critic to say something about it. Laugh it off, brush it off, or as my girl Taylor says… “Shake it off”. Sometimes that’s the only answer… run away from the negativity and don’t give it anymore attention than it’s already taken from you. The art of being happy lies in loving and shaking things off.
-You can’t save the whole world, but you can sure have a drastic affect on the lives of those around you. Like I said in the beginning, I was feeling a little down and out this morning. Then out of nowhere, I got a message from someone I met years ago saying how something I did back then has now helped play a role in her daughters life, and she thanked me. When we live in a world where children are starving and abuse is rampant and every bad thing exists, it’s very easy to be weighed down by the fact that we alone can’t change everything. The art of being happy in an unhappy world lies in understanding that it’s not your responsibility or ability change it all, but that you can have a positive influence in the sphere of people around you.
– Someone once told me something that I have never forgotten. Which is a big deal because I honestly can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday…. In fact… I don’t know if I remembered to eat anything for lunch yesterday… They said to me, “Ashley, there is no room for unhappiness in a grateful heart.” The art of being happy lies in being grateful for the things you have and the experiences that you go through. A couple of years ago I was getting ready one morning and really frustrated with how “bad” my hair looked. I went on Instagram, and happened to see a post of a girl who I had recently met who was diagnosed with cancer. In her picture, she had no hair. My perspective of my so called bad hair day changed, and I became grateful for what I had. Finding gratitude can happen by changing our perceptions of our lives, and focusing on the good that we have in them.
Be happy. Love those who aren’t. And find something every day to be grateful for.