I’ve never been a big fan of step programs, be they a 5 step, 7 step, 12 step, or ‘give me three steps mister’. I will say that there is a lot to making things simple, and having an outline, or definition.
The chase for happiness is everywhere. We check how we ‘feel’ about things, we measure words, actions, and perceptions. Advertising bombards us with messages on how the product will change our dreary lives and make us happy. Travel, buy, go, do, run, walk, eat, drink, it’s exhausting!
In the decision making process to buy a motorcycle, one thing keeps popping up in my thoughts….it won’t make me any happier than I am right now. There might be a few weeks of wow, and focus on my skill building, but in the end it will be a motorcycle, and I will still be at the same level of happiness that I’ve always been in.
In a sermon I heard last year from Keith Moore in Branson, MO he said “Expect Nothing from people, be thankful for everything”.
It got me thinking. Placing too much expectation on people causes a good deal of unhappiness. People are just people. Most of them can’t read minds, most have their own needs, desires, and agendas, and most (all, really) are not destined to be the source of anyone else’s happiness.
Placing too much emphasis on things for happiness can go downhill just as fast, if not faster.
Step 1. Free your heart from hatred. Let the people off the hook for disappointing you, doing you wrong, hurting you. Hating someone is like you drinking poison and wanting them to die. Your hate won’t change their life, it will just hurt yours.
Step 2. Free your mind from worry. That’s a tough one, sure, but it’s YOUR mind, take control of those worries, and focus on something else. Sing a song, write down things you are grateful for. Focus outside yourself.
Step 3. Live Simply. No, you don’t have to move to a 10×10 room and chant all day long. Just keep things simple. If you find things getting complicated and too involved, take a step back and try another way.
Step 4. Give. I like this one, because I have experienced how much fun it is to give, especially something unexpected. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Smile at someone. Open a door for someone. Pay a compliment to the person ringing up your groceries.
Step 5. Expect less. I pondered this one, truthfully. My take on this step is Don’t expect people and things to make you happy. Let the people you have been mad at for letting you down off the hook, and be happy anyway. Don’t expect a new car, a trip, a meal, or anything else to make you happy. Enjoy those things yes, they are meant to enjoy. Remember, it’s just stuff.
Be grateful and the happiness and contentment we all need will grow.
Go be nice to someone today!