So how Happy are you? Yes, that’s a deep question isn’t it for a Saturday Morning? So I hope you’re on your second cup of coffee. But I’m serious. Are you happy? Do you feel joy and fulfillment every day? If you answered yes, congratulations! But if you didn’t, do you know why not? And are you looking for that “Secret Sauce” that would finally help you love your life more than anyone else’s?
In my job and personal life, I deal with so many people every single week in all different cities and even from different countries. And it is easy to see that many people just aren’t that happy. People are grumpy and stressed and cynical and sad and definitely insecure. There are a number of reasons I think people are generally unhappy, but I think the main reason is often that they are comparing themselves to others. You know, the Grass is Greener syndrome?
Insecurities and a general lack of confidence is epidemic these days in both children and adults. I’ve always had a healthy dose of confidence which I credit to my parents because they gave me so much unconditional support both as a child and now as an adult. They are my biggest cheerleaders for sure. But I know that so many people don’t have this kind of support system and it really takes a toll. Everyone needs someone to make them feel like a million bucks. But what everyone needs even more than that, is to learn how to make yourself feel like a rockstar all by yourself.
And no, I’m not kidding or being funny. I am telling the truth. But more about this novel idea of being responsible for your own happiness in a bit.
First, nothing makes people less happy than to compare their perception of themselves to their perception of others. And yes I said perception because I know very few people are able to be honest and objective when comparing their own lives to the lives of other people they admire or are inspired by or are jealous or envious of. Honestly, doing any sort of comparing at all usually doesn’t pay off.
I’ve talked about this before but social media definitely makes not thinking of what other people are doing, where they are traveling, what their homes and bodies and spouses and children look like, very difficult. It’s always in our heads. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE social media for many reasons. But it’s hard on you sometimes if you are not very confident and happy in your own life and your own skin to see the successful “version” of life being played out for everyone on Instagram or Facebook.
But here’s the thing. Everybody has something. EVERYBODY! Everyone has the GREAT in them and everyone has things they would love to change. And Happiness and Joy (they are different you know) come when you focus on your gifts and your talents, your strengths and your skills, instead of focusing on other people and what you think they have.
If you want to be truly happy, then you have to believe that it doesn’t matter what others are doing. Focus on your own stuff. Period.
Now that doesn’t mean not to be happy for others or ignore them all together. I find that the happier I am for everyone whether it’s my friends or my competitors, it always comes back to me in positive ways. Jealousy is the #1 killer of Happy. So first be happy for others joys and successes. But mainly, happiness comes from striving to be the best version of you that you can be.
And yes! Learn to be happy for yourself. Learn to give yourself what you need to feel good every day. It may sound silly but I do this all the time. If I design a gorgeous room for a client, I stand back and smile and say “Dang I’m good! I should have been a designer” and then I laugh because I am one. But I feel all warm and fuzzy and proud inside. And I know I am good at what I do.
And when I cook a great meal or bake a yummy cake and I take a bite, I don’t say “this is so-so, I’m not that great in the kitchen”. Nope, I usually say, “Wow this is fantastic. Man, I’m a great cook” and my family all smiles and says “and a humble cook too!” and we all laugh. But you know what? I believe it. I am a good cook.
It’s not arrogant to give yourself validation. It’s not stupid to tell yourself where you are remarkable. It’s not conceited to toot your own horn as long as you are kind to others in the process. It’s called confidence. And if you don’t believe in yourself, who else is going to?
So here we go–what are you great at? Cooking, singing, grocery shopping, being a friend? What are your skills? Negotiation, conversation, design, entertaining, sports? What do you love to do? Knit, travel, collect, organize, work, golf. You see we are all so very different and we are all great at something–actually lots of things, even when we think we’re not.
And if we practiced reminding ourselves of what we are great at on a regular basis, instead of feeling inferior all the time and comparing to others, think of how far we could go towards reaching our potential. And think of the happiness and joy we could find. And think of how we could influence others for the good.
You have to find happiness and joy in the day to day. There isn’t a magical day when you will be standing on the other side of the fence and the grass will suddenly be greener. You see what you haven’t noticed, is your grass is already green. And when you water your own grass the possibilities are endless.
I know my grass is green and I am grateful. I know I work in my “Sweet Spot” as a designer and consultant everyday. I know that I am good at cooking and entertaining so I do it often. I know that I am a pretty good writer, and a great organizer, and good business person. I know where my strengths are and I keep them honed by using them. I enjoy being me and I enjoy using my strengths and talents to benefit and share with others. And that gives me confidence. That makes me comfortable in my own skin. That makes my grass green.
The more you sit around and think about how inferior you are to everyone else, the more miserable you will become. And the more you take action using your strengths and talents to make the world and other’s lives better, the happier you will be. My daughter and I cooked every single day of her Winter break and we shared dozens of meals and baked goodies with others. It made us happy. We were proud of our food. And it tasted great! When is the last time you took action with one of your strengths or talents to make yourself proud and bring joy to others too? That’s the secret sauce for Happiness. It’s where the grass is as green as can be.
So here’s my question again…Are you happy? And if not, what could you do today to find joy while using your gifts? Can you cook a meal for others like I love to do, that you can be proud of? Ok you hate to cook and you actually can’t boil water…no worries! Can you help your child learn a new sport that is your forte? Can you organize your closets and stand back and look at your handy work and have so much less stress because you and your family will know where everything is? Can you volunteer or teach or lead others? Can you write a blog or a book? Can you take photographs, or be a good listener, or help someone move to a new house? What can you do?
Good luck using this secret sauce to make your own pastures as green as they can be.
And speaking of green, today’s recipe is for my green smoothie. I drink these every morning before I go face the world to share my gifts and talents. So give it a try.
Tobi’s Favorite Green Smoothie:
1 banana sliced and frozen
1 cup of almond milk (unsweetened, 30 calorie, non GMO)
1/2 cup of blueberries (you can add other fruit–strawberries or peaches work great too!)
2 cups of fresh baby spinach (not frozen)
1 Tablespoon ground Flax seed
1 Tablespoon ground Chia seed
Mix well in your favorite blender (which for me is a Vitamix) and enjoy making your health a little greener too. Cheers!