Happy People

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Happy people are fun to be with. How can I be one of them?

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We have this interesting dynamic going on at our house. Some of my kids are really into laughing, clapping, humming, dancing. Others? Not so much.

Recently, an older sibling was shushing a younger one for expressing that joie de vivre. I commented, “He’s just happy. Happy people are fun to be with. Be one.”

Off the cuff, I sounded a little snarky. And I was. This was my man child talking who is still dancing that line between childhood and adulthood. He’s feeling his way, and so am I. I’ve never parented an adult before.

But, we joked around and turned the light on the moment.

Perhaps both of us have forgotten what it is to be younger and carefree.Β It’s hard to be happy when the cares of your world are on your shoulders. It’s the same when you’re fifteen as when you’re forty.

Yet the truth is that happy people are a joy to be around.

My friend Jodie is one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. She is enthusiasm incarnate. She juggles home, school, teaching piano, parenting four kids, and a myriad of other concerns, but she’s genuinely enthusiastic and encouraging.

She can find beauty and good in whatever she sees. And then she shares those observations.

It’s a bummer I only see her every couple years. We all need Jodies. In fact, we could all use a little infusion of Jodie in our personalities. Happy people are fun to be with!

I don’t know about you, but I want to be fun to be with. I want my kids to want to hang out with me.

Of course, this starts when they’re little. We can’t wait until we have more time. We need to be pleasant company as soon as possible. Today will become last year before we know it.

A joyful heart is good medicine. Proverbs 17:22

How do we become happier? How do we exude enthusiasm and encouragement to our kids even when we’re weary? How do we balance the cares and responsibilities on our plates and still keep a smile (a real smile) on our faces?

I’d love to know what works for you. Because I want to be a happyier person.

What helps YOU be a happier person?

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  1. I’m going to be following this & coming back & reading more. i was just thinking I need to change to be more positive & ‘glass half full’ on Sunday

  2. I’m working on being a happier person. A few months ago I realized I was feeling angry a lot. I was focusing on all the “things” I didn’t have. By “things” I mean sleep, seeing my husband, a clean home, etc.

    I’m working on counting my blessings, choosing to spend time only with uplifting people, creating more down time (putting less on my calendar), prioritizing. But the biggest help for me feeling joy in a day is when I make my kids laugh. I’ve actually set it as a daily goal. We have lots of tickle sessions lately and it’s AMAZING. My oldest boy (3 yrs) has an amazingly contagious laugh that anyone around him will get out of a funk when he laughs. It’s a wonderful gift he’s blessed with. I’m very blessed by it too.

  3. I actually have a checklist of things I do each day to stay happy. Last year after reading the book by Gretchen Rubin, I decided to do a Happiness Project and had a little discussion group too. This year my theme is JOY. I’m reading books and making changes to add more joy and fun and laughter to my life. It’s something I want to model for my kids πŸ™‚

  4. Sometimes happiness is a choice and sometimes it is not. I once had a friend who was chronically depressed and I actually felt guilty for being happy around her. I think also sometimes people are jealous of people who are happy. It’s what they would like to have, but can’t quite get a handle on it. I love being around optimistic people and try to be optimistic myself. I think if we have those little moments of contentment and happiness throughout the day, the epiphanies follow in time. I’m not sure we can be deliriously happy all the time, 100 per cent, but we can sure as heck try. Sometimes I feel happy on the inside when I look at someone I love, but teenagers balk at the mushy stuff.(peer pressure) I think they think they have to be all grown up and tough the minute they hit their teens. I still do the hugs and kisses even if it isn’t always well received. I think my teen will remember it when he is grown and knows that he has been loved.

  5. I think my happiness comes most when I know what I am doing is right. When I start the day off getting frustrated and loud with the kids, my happiness does not come. When I am being kind and patient and helping them and others, not just happiness comes but really, joy. I guess I am happiest when I forget myself and get over my “woe is me” attitude! Thanks for your thought provoking posts.

  6. love that verse! Have you heard of Songs for Saplings? They do scripture set to music. I think your kids would really like it, mine do. That verse is one of the songs I really love on the album.
    Singing makes me happy!

  7. I definitely know what you mean about certain people just radiating happiness. It’s infectious! I try to find the happiness in each day and not take it for granted. Also, getting the day started on the right foot and being productive really helps too. And exercise! They’re not kidding when they talk about an endorphin high. I’m always smiling after a nice run πŸ™‚

  8. Well, first thing that You could clear up is that what your “happy” means? You can be happy even when not smiling but still being nice and kind to others around you. It doesn’t mean you have to smile, laugh and be silly (who doesn’t enjoy that occasionally, huh? :D).

    Anyway, to me it helps if I stop thinking what I SHOULD do and start doing things – useful stuff around the house or something with kids or something that I feel like (crocheting, knitting, reading etc). Being all the time at my laptop at being angry at everyone for interrupting makes me unhappy. I guess I could say that computer-free time makes me happy πŸ˜€

    1. Yes, you’re right, a clarification is necessary. I’ve written on the topic a lot, and just thought I’d throw it out there in general terms today, and see what kind of conversation it generated. (Personally, I think happy is more an emotion and joy is a state of being. But, that might be splitting hairs. πŸ˜‰

      Since I don’t feel I have it all figured out, I wanted to open more discussion rather than present some opinion. But, here’s a series that I wrote on it before: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/10/be-more-joyful.html

      And yes, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head in terms of doing things and finding what gives you joy.

      1. So true about happiness being more an emotion and joy being a state of being! There are days where I’m not at my happiest, but still joyful and grateful for where I am and what I have. And I like keeping joyful people around me who may or may not always be happy, but who strive to have joy in their life.

  9. Don’t be too hard on your oldest son. He’s on the verge of becoming an adult and he thinks being happy all the time is childish- which it’s not. He’ll grow out of it. If you want to be happy just count your blessings. Learn to appreciate what you have and turn down times into happy times.
    God bless, Kathy in Illinois

  10. We forget sometimes that “all men are NOT created equal” in the sense that we have different personality traits therefore perceive the world around us differently. I have one that will laugh his head off, while another walks away just rolling his eyes. I too, have to work at joy, it does not come naturally. I wish it did. And yes I agree that joyful people are more fun to be with. I have come to accept that I am not she, but rather than feel guilty or sad, I allow myself only a certain amount of time I need to work through whatever may be on my mind…..then choose to lay it aside and look for lighter activity or people. But the anxst of being a teen often overrides their joyride.

  11. Being around people makes me happy. When I’m feeling down, I plan a get together with friends or family. Sometimes a phone call with an old friend works too. I also like to think about what’s fun ahead. I’m excited about fall coming and the nice weather ahead. πŸ™‚

  12. For me, happy is a conscience decision I have to make every minute of every day. I got here 2 ways:
    1-Mom yelled “why can’t you be like your sister?” She was right, harsh but right. My sister is a happy person, and her life is better for it. At the time I was choosing to NOT be happy. Make the better choice.
    2-I took medications for years. They helped and I needed them, but I reached a point where I realized I wasn’t happy or sad, just floating somewhere in the middle. With time and effort I got off the meds and did the work to find my own joy. It’s not big and it doesn’t have to to be fancy — it just needs to be.

    Being happy isn’t a state of maturity or immaturity, but it is a part of the journey we are all on and I choose to be happy.

    1. I think you’re right. Barring hormone/chemical issues, we do get to choose a lot of our attitudes. I find that our choices tend to spiral also. Having a good attitude leads to more good attitudes. Having a bad one, well, better step back. It’ll be a long day.

  13. I like to think about King David dancing before the LORD when they brought the ark into Jerusalem. Saul’s daughter criticized him for it, but if King David can express his joy and not care about appearing silly, so can I!

  14. Waking up early so I have 30 minutes of ‘me’ time before the day starts helps IMMENSELY! I always wake my son first, and we talk about his animals, making up silly stories, then we both do our own thing for a little while. It helps us both get in the right frame of mind to be a little more joyful during the day.

    1. That sounds like a wonderful way to start the day! You are making sweet memories with your boy.

  15. You know, I’m finding these days that happiness is always in there, but it is as if we have trained ourselves not to let it out and get excited about it. The best advice that I ever got was to live in the moment. Don’t think much about the past and the future. Cheers!

  16. I read this in my reader this AM and had to pop over to comment. πŸ™‚

    People like your friend Jodie, and most likely your younger child, it is a personality trait. Hopefully one that your younger child will not out grow.

    I am a happy person. I laugh all the time. Even when I am mad, sad, confused; I laugh! All my life I have been told to stop laughing, to be quite, to calm down. I can “control” it more now that I have matured, but there are still times I can be obnoxious to those who do not have the JOYOUS personality trait.

    At work, a few years ago, I was asked not to laugh at work any more. I was asked to change who I am because it bothered one other person whom I offended with my joy. Again, it was a personality trait. This person was happy, but they were stoic. They expressed happiness is a different way. They expected the world to be full of people like them.

    I hope you older child, who is on the cusp of young adulthood remembers to embrace his own joy. I have a 20 year old and a 15 year old, and I did not remind my older child to embrace his playful side near enough.

    Remember, we are all different. We all have different ways of expressing ourselves. πŸ™‚

    1. You make some great points! Thanks for chiming in. Yes, we are all really different. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

      At the same time, I want to find ways to let people BE them and yet encourage them to be “the best them.” I want my kids to be okay with letting each other BE. That obviously wasn’t something that was working at your job. That’s too bad.