I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been reading the book “Loving What Is” by Byron Katie. This week I was re-reading chapter two, and something grabbed my attention that I didn’t notice the first time I read the book.
In chapter two it says, “Since the beginning of time, people have been trying to change the world so that they can be happy. This hasn’t ever worked because it approaches the problem backward.” What stood out to me was that “people have been trying to change the world so that THEY can be happy.” THEY.
One of the most important things I’ve learned on my journey is that my happiness is ultimately up to me. AND, if I’m not happy then it’s up to me to figure out why not. What I DISCOVERd is that when I stopped expecting others to live according to my expectations, I was able to relax, let them be who they are, and live my very own life!
When I read those words from Katie, I found myself wondering, “How might the world be different if more people understood this idea?” Think about it for a moment.
Instead of being rude to the cashier who was rude to me, what if I decided this person might be struggling with something unknown to me. Perhaps what they need instead of my counter-rudeness is a kind word or gesture, or a sincere expression of gratitude for their time. Maybe that person is like this all the time, but there’s a reason they are the way they are.
A lifetime of experiences that beat us down and hold us back can create a person who is angry and bitter with the world. It’s nothing I did, or you did, it’s just that the person has perhaps given up. Or it could just be that they are having a bad day. Either way, wouldn’t it be more productive to extend kindness instead of striking back?
When I strike back, it leaves us both feeling bad. But, when I make the choice to extend kindness, I feel better and maybe I have given the other person a reason to feel better too. In this moment, I’ve decided to be happy despite how I may have been treated. Because ultimately, my happiness in any moment is up to me.
It has taken me a long time to learn what happiness means for me. For me, it starts with a choice. I will be happy, or I will not be happy. No one else can make that choice for me.
I DISCOVERed that I am happier when I stop worrying about what other people think. I am happier when I stop expecting other people to do things MY way. I am happier when I extend love and kindness to those who are having a bad day or a bad life. I’m also happier when I find a little cookie dough ice cream in the freezer section of our Spanish grocery store! :o)
How about you? How do you experience more happiness in your life?
With Love & Gratitude,