Updated: Jul 20
Many poeple, when asked what they want from life, will tell you they just want to be "happy". What exactly does that mean, though? Do they mean a general sense of contentment or do they expect their lives to be filled with excitement and joy all day, everyday? We will all face difficulties in life. Is it possible to be happy even through adversity? If so...how? Can we generate our own happiness through our thoughts and attitudes or is it all dependant on outside influences?
I have been thinking about this lately so I thought I would share a couple of examples of things I have heard or read that help me during the more difficult times.
The first is a lovely story I came across a while ago that was written by a lady called Cheri Fox Musick. It has stayed with me since I first read it and so I thought I would share it all with you.
Life Lessons From A Very Old Lady
A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.
After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room yet… just wait.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”
She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories Thank you for your part in filling my memory bank. I am still depositing.”
According to Mrs Jones, the five simple rules to be happy are:
1. Free your heart from hatred. 2. Free your mind from worries. 3. Live simply. 4. Give more. 5. Expect less
Life Lessons From A Very Young Lady
The second story I would like to share today is a valuable lesson I learned from a four-year-old while I was teaching my Reception class many years ago. I often think about it to this day.
Little Annabelle had been crying for her mummy for around half an hour and my teaching assistant and I had both tried everything we could think of to distract her and cheer her up. At last we gave up and left poor Annabelle on some comfy cushions in the book corner while we got on with teaching the rest of the class.
After a few minutes I noticed another member of the class, four-year-old Maddie, approach Annabelle and gently put an arm around her. What she said was very simple and so true.
"It's OK to be sad. Sometimes I get sad and cry but that's OK. If we were never sad, how would we know when we are happy?"
After saying this she gave Annabelle another little hug and then happily wandered off to play. Little Annabelle dried her tears and followed after her.
Such a simple life lesson from one so young!