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Just dropping by ... Happiness for the New Year

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairyman Published on 29 December 2017

OK. It’s 2018, and I’m not perfect yet. That’s all right. No one would like me if I was. I found that out when I was perfect. Well, at least I thought I was. It was one of those delusional phases of my life when I thought I knew most everything that needed to be known.

Life has a way of popping the pride bubble and putting us in our place. I am far from perfect, and I don’t have even a fraction of the answers I thought I did.

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Life has taught me it is much more fun just to be happy. That is what I am looking for. Happiness – just peaceful uncluttered happiness. I don’t need to be a size 10 with a willowy body set off with makeup and fashions of the movie stars and magazine cover models.

I don’t need a house that looks like it came out of Better Homes and Gardens. I just want to be me. I just want to be happy.

In Rodgers and Hammerstein’s hit movie The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews sings a song we probably have all had running through our heads at one time or another: “These are a Few of my Favorite Things”

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

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Silver-white winters that melt into springs

These are a few of my favorite things

She sings of all the wonderful things she likes and ends with the reason she loves to think of all those things.

When the dog bites

When the bee stings

When I’m feeling sad

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I simply remember my favorite things

And then I don’t feel so bad

We all have dog bites and bee stings that bring us to our knees, but I want to share a few of my favorite strategies that bring me happiness in those moments when “I feel so bad.” I have learned these strategies bring me back from the doldrums and downright depression.

Create your own day of the week and be your own weatherman. Many get up in the morning saying, “Ugh, it’s Monday.” They go through the day attributing every misfortune to the fact it’s Monday. Yippee! It’s Friday. Everything is wonderful and going great because it’s Friday. The only difference between Monday and Friday is attitude. We listen to the weatherman in the evening and decide what kind of a day it’s going to be tomorrow.

We look out the window on a cloudy day and dub it “dreary” even before we walk out the door. We mope and complain because the wind is blowing or the sun is too hot. It’s as though we are a slave to the changing seasons. It’s magical when you realize cloudy can be as wonderful as sunshine.

You decide. It just takes an attitude adjustment. An attitude adjustment is a decision, not a mandate. You are the creator of your destiny, not the weather or the day of the week.

Your thoughts determine your attitude. Many do not realize the power attitude has on outcome. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you thing you can’t – you’re right.” You have a magnificent power to control your thoughts. The trouble is, so few of us think about thinking. We just turn on the morning mind and let it play non-stop until we go to bed at night. We allow our mind to take in whatever comes our way.

The music we listen to, the words we hear from other people, even the traffic noise is recorded in our minds. We listen to the news and swallow it as truth without even weighing it on the scales of logic. What is worse, we often hear or perceive what we think are facts and allow them to shape our attitude – only to find out we were totally mistaken.

Our minds are designed with the ability to start on a subject and, in the blink of an eye, shut off and move to a different subject. We don’t have to entertain one thought over another. We get to choose. Unworthy thoughts may come into our mind, but we don’t have to invite them to sit down and spend the day. Learning to control our thoughts is vital to happiness.

We have the power to control our self-talk. Shock! We can control what we talk to ourselves about. If we get up in the morning and bemoan the pounds on the bathroom scales, how hard it is to zip our pants, or see the gray hairs that are lacing our hair; we are incrementally robbing ourselves of happiness.

We can’t spend the day beating ourselves up for the way we look and expect to be happy. Does it really matter to anyone how much we weigh? Does it really matter if our hair is brown or gray? What really matters? Were you able to get out of bed? Were you able to see your gray hairs? It is only a matter of perspective. Choose to be grateful. Choose to count your blessings instead of your cursings. You will find happiness will follow you around like a lost puppy.

Og Mandino, a famous motivational author, said, “Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life God intended for you with grace, strength, courage and confidence.”

Mandino continues, “Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.”

It is easy to compare yourself to others and give yourself the short end of the stick. We go around frowning at our mistakes and making believe we are not worth much. We see perfection in others and see only our faults but, in reality, we are valuable beyond belief. In his book The Greatest Salesman, Mandino suggests we are “nature’s greatest miracle.” He gives this excerpt as a mantra to be repeated night and morning until it becomes part of your thought process.

“I am nature’s greatest miracle.

“Since the beginning of time never has there been another with my mind, my heart, my eyes, my ears, my hands, my hair, my mouth. None that came before, none that live today, and none that come tomorrow can walk and talk and move and think exactly like me. All men are my brothers, yet I am different from each. I am a unique creature.

“I am nature’s greatest miracle.

“Although I am of the animal kingdom, animal rewards alone will not satisfy me. Within me burns a flame, which has been passed from generations uncounted, and its heat is a constant irritation to my spirit to become better than I am, and I will. I will fan this flame of dissatisfaction and proclaim my uniqueness to the world. None can duplicate my brush strokes, none can duplicate my chisel marks, none can duplicate my handwriting, none can produce my child and, in truth, none has the ability to sell exactly as I. Henceforth, I will capitalize on this difference, for it is an asset to be promoted to the fullest.

“I am nature’s greatest miracle.”

When Andrews belted out the beautiful notes of “These are a Few of My Favorite Things,” she probably didn’t know how many thousands would have those words playing in their minds. The composers probably didn’t calculate how their music would touch the hearts of millions, but they had a passion to create, and they did.

They overcame their self-doubts, their negative self-talk and took an opportunity to bless the world with happiness.

We all have that power within us. We were destined for greatness, not mediocrity. Bob Moawad said, “The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”  end mark

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