Most people think that if they are rich and famous they will be happy. Wrong. On the contrary, if you are happy, you have more probability to become rich and maybe also famous. What is the key for happiness? It’s simply: Enjoy what you have. And this is an attitude we can learn.
Appreciate what you have
I read today in a French women’ magazine, the letter of a reader: “I separated from my child’s father one year ago and now I am sorry. I was wrong to take off from my son his father. I tried to make an approach and ask him to come back, but in the meanwhile he met another woman, he lives with her. He seems to have turned the page…”
Often, we don’t understand we have valuable persons or things in our lives. They are there, under our eyes and nose, but we don’t see them, we aspire to things or people we don’t have. Huge mistake.
Learning to see the value of what we have already is the key to happiness. Our significant one has defaults, of course. So have we. But why not seeing what she/he has good? And appreciate those qualities, and tell her/him we appreciate them.
Living in a cage
Even if we perceive our life as a cage, we must decorate that cage with the best and try to do the best of it. You will say that a cage can be opened and that we can flee away. Its is true. But there are also cages that are opened and we simply CANNOT flee away. I don’t speak about the unhappy situation of affective dependence that some people have the misfortune to experience, but of real situations. For instance, you have 4 children, they came one by one in your life, and now they are there. You feel overwhelmed by the situation: They came so fast, you didn’t have the time to turn around.
Or, your significant one is suffering of a long and hopeless illness. In this case too, you feel powerless and overwhelmed. In both cases, you cannot go away. You are unhappy, you feel to be prisoner of the life, but you cannot go away, you have responsibilities. You feel in a cage.
In that case, decorate the cage. First of all, with beautiful feelings. The children are a part of you, they will live with you only a limited period of time (18-20 years) then they will live their lives, maybe elsewhere, far from you. Enjoy them now, try to do the best of them, in order to be proud of them later. Don’t vent your anger and frustration on them, you will regret later. Just watch them growing and do the best for them, they will be part of the society later.
The second case is different, it can be sad and difficult. But in that situation too, make the best of the circumstances. Take care of the ill person, with love. Think you are happy to be healthy and to be able to take care of her/him. Every day you live at her/his side may be the last one, so try to live it well. Tomorrow her/his illness may take her/him away and you will regret for the not said or the not done things.
In both cases, create a space for you and only for you. It can be a corner in your sitting room (or in the ill person’s room), but that corner must be yours. In situations like this, the personal space is a major spiritual asset. Put a comfortable armchair and a small table where you can keep your book or your cup of tea, your rosary or another thing that is important for your relaxation and meditation. Learn to meditate, to think at each single moment you live, observing the details one by one, slowly, breathing deeply. Listen some music, baroque is wonderful, or relaxation music.
You will feel better, the “cage” will be more friendly.
A greener grass
Often, people think that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. And this can rot their life.
Try and see how beautiful the grass in your garden is, water it and keep it clean of weeds. Enjoy it, it’s yours and you have not another one.
I use to help two priests who accompany terminally ill people. Every time I ask one of the dying persons what would they change in their life if they had the possibility to live it again, almost everybody says: “I would enjoy more what I had”. For me, this is a huge teaching.
When we wish things we don’t have, we risk to waste our life. That is why, we must learn to enjoy what we have, doing the best of it: it is the key to happiness.