A Simple Guide to Happiness

A Taste of Happiness
A Taste of Happiness

Happiness Starts with You

Be hungry for the best life has to offer

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called. ~A.A. Milne

When I know that I am going to be eating a gourmet meal, I make sure that I am hungry so I will really enjoy it. When people fall in love, many will tell you that the courtship was one of the happiest times of the relationship. Like Pooh, we need a goal to be happy and the more we anticipate and work towards a worthy goal, the more happiness follows. When I read what others write or see what draws people to an article, I think: "Maybe I should choose those kinds of topics and write like that." After trying to go in that direction, I find what everyone who craves happiness ultimately realizes---Your life flows from your own passion and in living it your own way even if you are the only one who can hear the beat of that different drum.

Be aware of what is important and eliminate the rest

The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things. ~Epictetus

Before you pursue your life goals, be sure what really matters to you. One of the best ways to know what is important to you is to get rid of a lot of material things you can do without. While some things have sentimental value, most things can be replaced. If you wouldn't have to replace it if it were gone or if someone else would get a lot more use out of it, you probably don't need it. If it has been stored for two years or more, you definitely need to get rid of it.

Try to see the activities that occupy your time and energy in the same way. Maybe you don't need to be doing a lot of them. Try delegating, sharing, eliminating or just plain saying no to free up your time. A few minutes at the beginning of your day to meditate or sort out your thoughts can also help you eliminate a lot of wasted time.

Someone has said that simplicity is the secret to life and while it may not be the secret, it is a good place to start. Getting rid of the clutter and activities that merely take up time can be enormously freeing. To reach the sky you have to let go of the earth and ask any bird, the lighter your load, the longer you can stay there.

He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Approach life with openness, humility and assurance

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less ~ C.S. Lewis

At my company a young man was hired because he listed emptying the garbage as one of his duties at a previous job. He had a jaw defect that hindered his speech but was consistently cheerful and proved to be one of the most diligent and capable employees. After surgery, his looks and speech dramatically improved and he is now rising steadily at Disney, "The Happiest Place on Earth." If you have true self esteem and confidence, you don't have to prove anything to anyone. Your happiness does not depend on what others think about you or how you are treated. The self actualized person does not need to get defensive or angry because their worth is not made up of what others believe about them, but is made up of what they know about themselves and the calm assurance from within. I can be happy even when someone is angry with me without a cause since I know it is not about me but it springs from something they are going through. I can even try to understand what feelings are behind the attack and speak to that without feeling hurt or defensive.

There is no limit to the good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit. ~General George C. Marshall

There is something in humility which strangely exalts the heart.~Saint Augustine

Be merciful when you have every right to lower the boom

If you're going to insult me, you're going to have to say it in such a way that I can't possibly take it as a compliment.~"Uncle Bud" Robinson

One of the finest gifts we can ever bestow is giving others the benefit of the doubt. When you have been cut off in traffic or almost hit by someone or were delayed by a bad driver or been honked at, insulted, taken advantage of or otherwise treated badly the temptation is to angrily get back at those who threaten to ruin your day. I have a suggestion: Don't.

Let me give you two of my own experiences. I used to hate it when someone started talking about extremely gross things at the table when I was eating. To make matters worse, it seemed to happen more often because I was so upset. One day I decided to turn the tables. When it happened again I said "Wait, let me get a bite ready." Then as they were saying the gross thing, I would eat the bite I had held up, waiting, and say "Mmmmmmm!" Somehow, the reverse pleasant sensation completely shut out the irritation and introduced humor into an otherwise resentful and awkward situation.

The other situation involved the traffic rage I have described above. One day a particularly obnoxious driver cut quickly in front of me, went into the left hand lane so that he could turn left, cutting others off as he did so. I started to get angry and give the universal hand gesture of appreciation, when I remembered myself once being almost as rude when I nearly missed a turn-off. I said to myself with a chuckle, "There goes someone after my own heart." Now whenever any driver, no matter how rude, does something that would have otherwise ruined my mood, I say the "...someone after my own heart" thing and laugh it off.

In both of these cases, I passed on the opportunity to put people in their place, choosing instead a more friendly response and ended up with a positive attitude and a better day. That doesn't mean I don't still have times when I want to bite someone's head off, but that would only leave them and myself unhappy, Taking the high road can often change the offender's behavior, but even if it doesn't, others will notice and be encouraged.

Before you put someone in their place, you should put yourself in theirs.~David Denotairs

Be compassionate and feel the pain of others

Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone. ~Joni Mitchell

As odd as it sounds, the way to happiness is often through an experience of grief. Those who have felt sadness can more fully appreciate the presence of joy. Learning to empathize with those around you or learning to feel sorrow for the plight of many in the world is like exercising the heart. Nothing is more joyful than a heart released from a period of pain or sorrow. Don't be afraid of opening up your heart because you may be hurt. Most of us have been. That is how we grow, how we learn what love is, what cruelty is. Once we learn, we can choose to love, to be kind, to feel the happiness that life can bring.

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked...
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
~Kahlil Gibran


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Comments 36 comments

sunflower1 profile image

sunflower1 6 years ago

Thank You! Enjoyed....


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Quite insightful. Cheers! May want to read "Happiness is overrated".


JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 6 years ago from Midwest

Very insightful. A good read for me today on the brink here of another New Year. Thanks!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Appreciate the encouragement Mr. Happy---I'll check out the article.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thanks for stopping by sunflower1 and JBeadle. J enjoyed your "Try Again."


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 6 years ago from Michigan

Winsome, Great Hub and very motivating. Learning not to take yourself so seriously is very important in life .. I love your new way of thinking about drivers and road rage .. there goes someone after my own heart ... I'd say a perfectly winsome way to enjoy life and not allow circumstances to control you. You have a way with words that drew me right in. I really enjoyed the quotes too - many of which I have not heard before... Keep Writing Winsome - you have a real Gift! Blessings to you


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you Mekenzie. I truly appreciate your words and support.


myownworld profile image

myownworld 6 years ago from uk

Such an inspiring hub....with some great advice (loved the quotes too!) 'Learning to feel sorrow for the plight of many in the world is like exercising the heart.'...yes, I couldn't agree more. You write very well....keep it up!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

So delighted you enjoyed it myownworld. It's easy to see from your hubs that you have exercised your heart. When words touch hearts there is power to change the world.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

another great hub, winsome. I love reading a wise perspective about happiness~~ such deep wisdom in realizing happiness truly does come from within, and recognizing life without purpose provides only the flip side of happiness, a lonely, sad road. loved the example of Pooh, anticipating eating the honey!! even one simple goal for the day gives purpose to the day. well done. :]


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you R Elle. You are ever gracious and encouraging. You are right about the difference a simple goal can make and in honor of that, I will begin today what I had been putting off---a series of 52 hubs that will eventually be the first book by Winsome Publishing. (I publish a line of greeting cards under that title which are found in serendipitous stores across the country) I would love to have your input as I go. :)


IslandVoice profile image

IslandVoice 6 years ago from Hawaii

Very well written, i enjoyed the read. Keep it up!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you IslandVoice. I appreciate the values you list on your profile. Our happiness often depends upon the core values we select and how often we revisit them.


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago

Indeed, happiness starts within ourselves. You have demonstrated positive insights in your article. You have also cited wonderful quotations/ sayings to ponder.

Nice hub. Have a good day!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Glad you stopped by Tina. Thank you for your kind words. It is interesting that happiness comes often from lessons learned in dealing with challenges rather than from a life free of them.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

I like that goal, winsome. what a great project. I will definitely stop in to read and comment. :]


QuincyDaWonderDog 6 years ago

dis ams a very great hub! may I add rolling in some good clean earth in the flower garden too? dat always makes me feel happy :)

'k, bai. ~Quincy


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you and of course Quincy, you may add--and I bet a little massaging behind the ears makes you happy too. I'll be happy to scratch your ears any time you stop by. =:)


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

coming back to visit this hub and see how the winsome publishing is coming along. I'm curious about your greeting cards.. where may we find them?


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

Nice job!I agree. We have to "let it go". Yes,it is a struggle, but over the years I have become more of a type B personality.Certainly makes for a better road trip!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Ha ha, do I want Plan A and a trip to the ER or Plan B and a leisurely stroll through paradise? The things we often think will make us happy are the last things we think about when time is short. Thank you BL for your lovely road trip through my articles. =:)


kai777 profile image

kai777 6 years ago from Chicago

Another great article! Thank you for speaking to my life and situation (again). I have been attempting this for so long, but could not get past feeling like I was thinking too little of myself and that I deserve more. It gets hard sometimes and can really get you down when you are always the bigger or "better" person. You have just confirmed that I am truly following my destiny. I will continue to be humble and give people more of me, even when I do not get the same in return. God Bless.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

I applaud you Kai as you do so. I often think that it is not what we give up when we take the high road but what we don't have to carry. The more you give, the lighter the load and the more freely you can pursue the things that make you truely happy. Blessings to you on your journey. =:) You might get a kick out of "I Decided to be Myself..."


kai777 profile image

kai777 6 years ago from Chicago

Thanks Winsome! I am well on my way... Now, with even greater strength ;) I will definitely check out " I Decided to be Myself." Be Blessed!


Ana Louis profile image

Ana Louis 6 years ago from Louisiana

wow! To quote someone I read just recently, "There goes someone after my own heart."

You must be a very old man...

wisdom is so rarely found in the very young.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Ha ha you know it's not the age it's the mileage. They say that experience comes from making mistakes and wisdom comes from experience. I knew we were kindred spirits when I visited your hubs. So glad you came by. =:)


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

..... a simple guide to happiness - easy one - just come here to your hubs and enjoy a wonderful world courtesy of You!!!!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Kind of you to say so EG. There is a mystery in this hub that I have not shared. Maybe someday someone will discover it. It will wait. =:)


MarieAlice profile image

MarieAlice 6 years ago from Peru

Great hub, full of comments to make us fell good...Thanks a lot for sharing!!!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi MarieAlice, it is a great pleasure to share what is given to us so freely. Thank you for stopping by. =:)


RichERich1175 profile image

RichERich1175 5 years ago

very well-written. Loved the famous quotes. Undoubtedly, these are concepts we should all follow. Well done, sir!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Rich, thank you so much for your comment--we don't always plan how to get to happiness, we mostly just try to make it through the day, but I wonder what kind of world we would have if we all followed some guidelines like the ones above. Imagine.... =:)


Bri Gee 5 years ago

Thanks Winsome, neat writing. Some individuals choose to surround theirselves with things that make them happy. Happy is the person that is in that state of mind. Voted up


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Bri, thank you for the read and the gracious comment. You are so right about the state of mind. Abraham Lincoln said "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

I tried to show in this article that while it is a choice, the happiness part comes from a lifetime of such choices through situations that sometimes test all the mettle we have. As I quoted in the title of another hub, If you have a why to live, you =:)


Bruce Clark profile image

Bruce Clark 4 years ago

If you chose to be happy, then you will really be happy. It all depends on you. Thanks for the additional info you've shared here. Great hub for a nice topic. Voted up.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Bruce, I agree with you. Wasn't it Abe Lincoln who said "I think folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

Happiness is an elusive thing, I have opted to pursue joy most of the time instead. You might enjoy the hub about my experiences called "Joy for you and me"

Welcome to HP Bruce, you seem off to a really good start. =:)

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