20 Dec 11 Questions To Help You Own Your Happiness
via Forbes by Michelle Braden
I remember a story my Dad used to tell. It goes like this:
An older gentleman and his granddaughter were sitting on a bench outside the city market, enjoying a soda and the sunshine, when a stranger pulled up. The stranger asked the older gentleman, “Can you tell me a little about this town? I am thinking about moving my family here.” The older gentleman, replied, “Well, welcome. We are glad to have you. Tell me a little about where you came from.” The stranger then replied, “Oh, we loved our community. There were lots of friendly people. My work was meaningful, and it is sad to leave. However, I have been offered a new position in this town, and I am here to check it out.” To this, the older gentleman replied, “That sounds exactly like our town. I believe you and your family will love it here.”
A short time later, another stranger pulled up and said, “Hey, old timer. Tell me a little about this town.” Again, this older gentleman replied, “Welcome. We are glad to have you. Tell me a little about where you came from.” The stranger began his story, “To tell you the truth, I hate where I live right now. The people are not friendly, and my work drives me crazy; however, I am interviewing for a job here today, and I thought things might be a little different here.” To this, the old gentleman replied, “It sounds like the town you live in is exactly like our town.” The stranger got in his car, and as he began to drive away, he said, “Thanks, old man. I figured it wouldn’t be any better.”
The older gentleman’s granddaughter looked at him in bewilderment and asked, “Grandpap, why did you tell each stranger a different story about our town?” The older gentleman replied, “Because, honey, everything is exactly what we make it!”
I doubt that anyone would outright voice the demand, “I want you to make me happy.” Yet, many people live a life that reflects this very statement. Remarks such as, “My boss is ruining my life,” or “Life would be great were it not for [fill in the blank].” Despite knowing that happiness begins internally, many people still rely upon other people, things or circumstances to make them happy. When — or if — they find what they thought they were looking for, they are often disappointed to discover that the things they sought did not bring them the happiness that they had hoped for. What is it, then, that makes a person happy? Better yet, what personally makes you happy?
I am no longer surprised when the responses are centered around material objects, titles, jobs, ages, the place a person is in life or other people’s behavior. While we need to strive to fulfill goals and ambitions in order to keep ourselves growing, happiness is learning to be peaceful where we are. It is being aware of the things that bring you joy and contentment despite other events that may be occurring in or around your life. Or, as Denis Waitley is often credited with saying, “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” Happiness, by definition, is a state of well-being and contentment.
So how does a person find happiness?
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