32 Things I’ve Learned about How to Be Happy

Someone told me once that I didn’t share or give anything on this blog, that it was more pontificating than giving. I understand where they were coming from – I talk mostly about myself and what I think about happiness – but I disagree.

This blog is my drum song.

What I do, who I am, is someone who soaks up the world around me, someone who seeks happiness constantly. That hasn’t left me with a lot of money or a great skill that I can teach. It leaves me mainly with impressions, ideas, and experiences to share. It’s not much, but it’s what I have to give.

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday. To celebrate, like the little boy who once feared he had no gift to bring, I play my drum; I offer up all that I’ve learned about being happy.

32 Things I’ve Learned About How to Be Happy

1. Happiness is not always an easy choice, but it is always an option.

2. Happiness is not something that has to be earned. We all deserve happiness, even if we’ve made mistakes.

3. Our happiness is our own responsibility; no one can give it or take it away without our permission.

4. Happiness is not something to achieve or find, but something to be experienced and chosen again and again.

5. There is not a universal recipe for being happy. What makes me happy might not make you happy, and vice versa.

6. Our personal recipe for happiness, like our taste palette, can change and evolve as we change and evolve.

7. There is always a reason to be happy, a blessing to be found. Some days we have to look hard, and on those days it is most important that we find something.

8. Gratitude breeds happiness.

9. So does chocolate. And the perfect margarita shared with girlfriends.

10. It’s easier to be happy when you surround yourself with happy people.

11. Unless you’re a mother with young kids. Then it’s easiest to be happy when you have a few moments alone.

12. Happiness cannot be bought.

13. Your happiness is, however, a worthy investment. Don’t be ashamed of sinking your time, talents, energy – and even your money – into happiness.

14. It can be scary to pursue happiness. What if you don’t find what you’re looking for?

15. Seek, and ye shall find.

16. It’s easier to find your own happiness when you trust others to do the same.

17. Happiness breeds good luck.

18. It’s OK to remove people and things from your life if they make it more difficult for you to be happy. It doesn’t make you or them inherently bad, just a bad match.

19. That still doesn’t make your happiness or unhappiness anyone else’s fault.

20. If you can’t find happiness, seek kindness.

21. If you can’t find kindness, seek beauty.

22. If you can’t find kindness or beauty, create it. You will likely discover all three.

23. It’s possible to find happiness without changing a single thing in your life.

24. When you find happiness, you may find making changes in your life is easier. By easier I mean less scary, because the fear is always the hardest part of any change.

25. Happiness makes us brave.

26. If you choose to be happier, some people may resent you and your perpetually positive attitude.

27. Sometimes happiness means letting go.

28. Happiness takes up space. You may need to make room in your life.

29. Loving who you are right now is part of being happy right now.

30. Happiness is infinite. There is more than enough to go around, and always more to come.

31. Happiness can be a very selfish pursuit, something that conflicts with all we’ve been taught about the wrongness of selfishness.

32. Your happiness makes the world better.

Pursue the hell out of it.

Play your drum.

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  1. Mariza says:

    Happy Birthday! I love your blog! I enjoy reading and I'm glad that you decided to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences. I liked your list and number 30 is my favorite "Happiness is infinite. There is more than enough to go around, and always more to come." It's so true. Let's celebrate people's happiness because there's more than enough to go around!

  2. Nanna says:

    So, I would get to one and say THIS! EXACTLY! And then I would come to another one and say, NO wait – THIS ONE! By the time I got to the end, I thought, wow, this is one smart cookie!!! Go you! Baby child, this should be required reading for EVERYONE – EVERY day. It really is that good.Especially the one about the magaritas.

  3. Carly says:

    Happy Birthday! "Your happiness makes the world better." Great finale and loved this post :) I am glad for what you share, it means a lot to me and frequently validates my doubts as well as my happy conclusions, which is nothing less than priceless.

  4. Dawn says:

    Happy (belated) birthday!

  5. Colleen says:

    Great list! Happy birthday!

  6. Megan says:

    I wish I could have hugged you on your birthday; hope you had a good one!I wish we could all get past this idea that anything we do solely for ourselves is inherently selfish. Truth: No one else is going to care as much about you as you do (not even your mother, believe it or not), and more importantly, your life needs to be built primarily around yourself because you are all you really, truly have. Kids will move away, others drift or (God forbid) die. There's only you for always. You have to take care of you or you'll have nothing for anyone else anyway. Happiness is a gift you give yourself and then share with others. Not selfish at all.

  7. Noel says:

    This was a really beautiful gift you have given here. #26 is so very true. I have often referred to myself as the eternal optimist and not everyone can appreciate that, but I refuse to waste time sweating the small stuff.

  8. Shanon says:

    I missed wishing you a happy birthday. Hope you had a good one. With lots of happy!

  9. Suebob says:

    Happy Birthday. You're pretty dang smart for a young whippersnapper.

  10. Janelle says:

    Happy Belated birthday :)

  11. eggy says:

    I'm always interested in what you have to say. I especially liked this one, and have passed it on. Thanks, and Happy Birthday!

  12. snozma says:

    It amazes me that anyone could think that it's always an option to choose happiness, for any person. It's possible. That doesn't mean it's an option.You can't mean this, since you later say 'if you can't find happiness….' I think you are saying what people want to be true.

  13. Amber says:

    I love these. I found myself nodding a lot. To you, to birthdays, and to happiness!

  14. Flawless Mom says:

    I'm hoping it's ok to curse on your blog, because HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!

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