If I had to wager a guess, I’d say that Snow White is probably the most depressed of all the princesses.
Sure, she’s got her looks. And she hangs out with seven incredibly adorable senior citizens….one of which is named Happy.
But here’s the thing. She’s banking on “someday.” Big time.
“Someday my prince will come. Someday I’ll find my love. And how thrilling that moment will be. When the prince of my dreams comes to me.”
Not only does she place all her happiness eggs in the basket of tomorrow….she actually thinks that she can just sit back and let it come to her.
To me, happiness is a state of mind. It’s not something you reach at the end of a long road.
It’s not something you will experience as a result of making more money.
Or meeting that special someone. Even if his last name is Charming.
All too often we think about happiness as a destination. But really, when it comes down to it, happiness is a way of being. A perspective. And an outlook on life.
The way I see it, there are three key steps to happiness:
Start setting goals
I am happiest when I feel like my life has purpose and meaning. Taking daily steps towards my biggest dreams, is hugely satisfying. Especially when I feel like I’m making on impact on others.
But in order to get that “jump out of bed” feeling, we need to know where it is we’re going. Create a vision for your life. Set a goal or two (and get specific here). Then find joy in building your castle, brick by brick.
This is something I am continually trying to teach my kiddos. It’s the way they will rush to get to the end of a book. Or agonize over a Rubik’s cube.
Guys. It’s not about “getting there.” It’s about enjoying the ride.
Stop caring about what other people think
Oooooweee, it is tempting to give weight to other peoples’ opinions of us. In fact, our ego demands it. But let me tell you. When you start to live your life according to what other people want, you rob yourself of true happiness.
I get it. It feels so good to be liked. And I think all of us are probably experiencing some form of PTSD from our junior high years. Jesus. I know I am.
But our souls thirst for things. And when you can get still and quiet enough to tap into that thirst, you can start quenching it.
It can be terrifying to go against the grain. Disapproval is one of our greatest fears as human beings.
But guys, playing it safe will only ever leave you feeling unsatisfied. Dare to let your passion steer the ship. Even if other people call you crazy.
Put gratitude at the forefront
I think all of us, at one time or another, have said to ourselves……I just need to get through “X.” Then I’ll be happy.
But if those thoughts become a way of life? You’re totally screwed.
For me, motherhood has been the biggest test of my will to stay happy, here and now.
There have been so many times over the past few years when I have been tempted to give into the idea that I will be so much happier when my kids are less dependent on me, and I can have a little more freedom. And sleep.
Little kids are fucking exhausting.
But guys, the number one game changer for me in terms of my level of happiness? A daily gratitude practice.
Every single day, I write down a handful of things that I am grateful for. Teeny tiny things like my wool socks. Or the way Liam celebrates a goal he just scored on the ice.
As soon as you start “keeping track” of things you are grateful for, your brain automatically starts scanning your day for things to add to the list.
Our lives are abundant with good shit. But like one of those magic-eye puzzles…..sometimes you just need to look at things a little differently. Or….squint and go cross-eyed and refuse to blink for a solid minute. All at the same time.
You and you alone are responsible for how happy you are. And sometimes you really need to give yourself a little vision test in order to bring happiness into focus.
I mean, you’re welcome to sit there and pine away for someday. Or you can realize that you have it made, because the squirrels do your dusting, the raccoons do your laundry, and the birds wash your dishes.