Questioning Happiness



Yesterday I came across Karen Salmansohn’s article, 10-Happiness-Boosting Questions to Ask at Day’s End, and I did what I usually do when I find an article that resonates with me.  I forwarded it to my special friend and thought about how to incorporate what I had read into my own life, but then, I did something decidedly different.  I actually followed through with incorporating an idea from this article into my life, more specifically, into this blog.  I confess that I devour articles and books about self-improvement, spirituality, and what not, and I usually learn something from them, but that acquired knowledge often is left on the pages of the books instead of finding its way into my life.

Happiness is a topic that absolutely fascinates and confounds me, though, so, this particular article captured my attention and did not let go.  So, I decided to share the questions posed in the article, along with my answers and invite you to do the same.  Perhaps this exercise will help me continue to discover what makes me truly happy and how to be happy, but if nothing else, it will provide the fodder for tonight’s blog.

1. What did you learn today?

Thanks to helping my pre-teen daughter prepare for her upcoming science and religion tests, I learned more about the ecosystem and ancient Egypt than I could have imagined.  I am glad that she is taking the tests and that I am not, as she proved to be the far superior student tonight.

2. What made you laugh today?

My oldest daughter tried on Halloween costumes, a hotdog and a banana, that turned a routine trip to Target into one of the funniest moments of the day.  Watching her pose and dance in those silly costumes made me laugh hysterically. 

3. What surprised you today?

I was pleasantly surprised at how well a hectic day at work went.  As you can imagine, there is always a great deal of hustle and bustle at a day shelter for homeless men, especially when were short-staffed, like today.  In all honesty, I approached the work day with great trepidation, but thanks to two of my incredible colleagues, Dearl and Sarah, who spoke in positive terms about the work day, I changed my attitude and had a productive and good day.  Attitude really is everything!

4. What made you proud today?

It made me feel proud when one of the volunteers at the day shelter told me, “You really do a great job with these guys.  They relate so well to you.”  I take pride in giving these men my best on a daily basis, because that’s what they deserve.  The men are “my guys”, and for someone to think that I work well with these special men made me quite proud indeed.

5. What loving action did you do for someone today?

Today at work, one of the older gentlemen who is homeless came to me for help, and he became tearful when he recounted some of the issues that he is struggling to resolve.  Unfortunately, I could not fix his problems before he exited my office, but I could offer him some comforting words and a hug.  Sometimes, when you are hurting, you just need someone to reassure you and show you that they care.  That’s what I set out to do in this situation, and I hope that I did just that.

6. What loving action did someone do for you?

Another gentleman at the day shelter for homeless men is fond of writing me some of the sweetest notes on scrap pieces of paper, and today, I was the lucky recipient of another such note.  It has been a very long, stressful week professionally and personally, so, to receive his note thanking me for my assistance and letting me know that he cares about me was a sweet salve for my bruised heart and weary mind.

7. What do you feel especially grateful about today?

As both of my daughters curled up on the couch with me, and we laughed and chatted about our respective days, they both told me that they loved me and were glad I was their mom.  In that moment, I thought my heart would burst with joy, love, and gratitude.  I have often felt like I am not loved or accepted unconditionally, so, I was especially grateful to be reminded that they love me dearly and that I am worthy and deserving of their love.  I am immensely thankful for my two extraordinary daughters today and every day.

8. What did you do today to move a little closer to a goal/dream?

I overcame every excuse in the world to apply for my first ever freelance writing job, which is a positive step to bringing me a little closer to my dream of being a professional writer.  Recently, I realized that my fear and self-doubt sometimes prevent me from doing what is necessary to reach my goals and dreams, and I give up without really putting in the time, energy, and effort it takes to bring a dream to life and to see a goal through to its completion.  It is the crazy rationale that if I don’t take a risk and try to succeed, then I can’t fail.  The reality is that the greatest failure is to give up on goals and dreams without doing everything in your power to make them come true.  Today, I chose to move forward, and tomorrow, I will do the same.

9. How did you stretch yourself further today?

 Often, when I feel the anxiety and depression take hold of my thoughts and mood, I succumb to them, but today, when I felt them begin to emerge, I acknowledged their presence and then intentionally took steps to deal with them.  I refused to allow them to hijack my day and to cause me more pain by their very presence.  For me, that is a great stretch, especially since I have so many things on my mind and some important decisions to make.  I discovered that I am capable of more than I thought, and I will keep stretching further.

 10. What made you feel excited/inspired today?

I picked up Joel Osteen’s latest book, “Break Out!”, and was immediately excited and inspired by what I read.  After a week of battling fears, doubts, and insecurities, I found myself feeling very motivated and reassured by Pastor Osteen’s words and stories.  His message helped me to reprogram the negative messages and thoughts that I allow to take up residence in my head, and after reading the first two chapters, I felt more hopeful and confident. 

So, there are the questions and my answers, and I know that there will be more to come.

That’s another story . . .

Categories: That's Another Story

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8 replies

  1. Happiness is an action…it is a path we “walk” thru our actions and we develop a practice…a happiness practice that produces medicine that feed our soul….I find it to be that way in my experience….becomes a habit that I cannot live without….a choice.

  2. I am so, so excited for you to have applied for a freelance job!! I have no doubt you will reach your goal in professional writing! 🙂

  3. This is a timely post for me. I believe that often people chase ‘happiness’ as something to “have” (ie to be given to them on a plate) whereas ‘happiness’ is actually something to “be” and to “do”. You have definitely made this a “doing” word in your post and provide some wise ways of incorporating actions of happiness into your life (and great ideas for me). Thanks 🙂

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