Beth and I did not always choose happiness. There were times in our lives when happiness was not something we thought about or strove for. We saw happiness as a lucky by-product of living. A feeling you could get if things happened to go your way.
As we grew up, we did not stress happiness in either of our households. Beth was raised to believe work should come before and be separate from fun. For Peter, happiness and joy were interspersed with anxiety and depression.
Together, we’ve had lots of good times and a few difficult times. We’ve had plenty of conflicts about the role of fun and happiness in those years. When do we have fun? When do we work? We planned for emergencies, but not for fun.
Many people don’t plan for happiness; they are just pleased when it shows up.
We realized over the past few years we can plan for and choose more happiness. We learned happiness is not an accident. It is not something that happens to us. Happiness is something we think about proactively. It’s now part of our daily routine. We check in with each other frequently and strive to catch each other being happy.
We especially focus on starting off and ending the day with smiles and appreciation.
It’s been so much more fun to make our happiness a priority in our life. By doing so, we recognize when we are happy and enjoy it and, as importantly, recognize when we aren’t and do something about it.
When one of us is not feeling happy, instead of feeling empathy and lowering our energy level, the happy one will remind the other that happiness is still here for them.
That doesn’t mean we are cold and unaware when the other person needs help. You can give more when you’re happy yourself.
We are also especially good at letting go of things quickly so we can get back to where we want to be – our happiness.
We’ve both learned it’s better to be happy than to be right.