If you’ve asked me if I’m okay in the past two months, I’ve probably started crying or said, “I’m okay.” But a good number of you have gotten an emphatic, “I’m doing good!” and a smile. Apparently heartbreak makes you cry (okay, I already knew that, just not to this extent). But somehow, I also have this outpouring of happiness. How the heck does that happen?
One word: gratitude.
Yeah, it’s probably a cliché at this point that gratitude leads to happiness. But let me explain myself for those of you who are curious enough to keep reading.
No experience is wasted if you learn something from it
This mindset stems from the same idea I have about public humiliation. Whenever I trip on flat ground, I always look around and hope someone’s laughing. If I’m going to experience the pain of a stubbed toe, at least someone should get something from it. But really, we are here on this earth to learn—even from the sucky things. And when you learn something, you are going to feel so grateful for the growth you gain.
Gratitude leads to happiness
When you’re sick and someone brings you food, don’t you feel grateful that you didn’t have to make that food on your own? And doesn’t that make you happy? I think gratitude translates in the same way when we’re going through tough times. When we’re stuck in traffic and someone lets us merge in front of them, aren’t we grateful? Doesn’t it make us a little happier that we might be able to get home a little sooner? Yeah, we have to look for gratitude, and it isn’t always easy to find something to be grateful for—but those things are there.
And now here are the things I’ve been grateful for this year (really just the past two months): God (He is good), supportive friends, listening ears (attached to people’s heads, of course), heartbreak (surprisingly), my crazy family, the temple (and the fact that I can go so often because I’m close to so many), necessary sugar consumption, revelation, the scriptures, flip-flops, music (new and old), art (like film and poetry), jokes and laughter (because laughter is the stuff of life), lipstick (for those days when I felt like a hideous monster), my dumb car that broke down twice already this year, psychology research (because self-help is the way to grow, man), the ability to change (because that’s probably the skill I’ll use the most in my life), time in all its forms and meanings, cool new experiences (surfing, swimming in tidal pools, sunburns, concerts, night skiing, future metal concert, future longboarding, future 5K for cancer, future Questival, future trip to Cali with the homies, future ghost town road trip, future interfaith conference, future caving, etc…..), finally being able to graduate from college, getting someone to believe I’ll be a good intern, the coolest job I’ve ever had, GROWTH, and so much more.
So while I’ve felt a constant sadness during the last two months, I have also felt so much happiness. And for that, I am grateful. And now I challenge you. Find those things to be grateful for, and see how it’ll change things.