Are you on a mission to find happiness? We search for happiness everywhere and we often come up empty. We think that special someone will make us happy and they do for a while but the initial excitement soon wears off and we start looking for someone else. We think that new job will make us happy and it does for a few months but then it gets too difficult, so we quit and look for another job. We think that expensive dream vacation, new car, new house or new trinket will make us happy and it certainly does for some time but then when the bills come in and we have trouble paying for them, we soon lose our happiness.
Why do we have so much trouble finding happiness? It is because we are looking for other people and things to make us happy. This is a selfish desire and when that person or that thing doesn’t provide us with the happiness we want, we just give up and look for something else. It is like an addiction. We crave happiness so we look for a quick fix somewhere. This is why there are so many relationship and marriage breakdowns today.
If you want to find real happiness, you have to bring happiness to others. Instead of thinking about what someone can do to make you happy, think about how you can make their life better. Instead of believing that ‘stuff’ will make you happy, think about what you can give to someone else to make their life better. When you bring happiness to other people, this is how happiness comes to you.
We live in a selfish world. One that teaches us to think about ourselves first and try to fill our lives with things that don’t matter. Loving others and trying to spread happiness around is the only way to find happiness.
We all know that Christmas is a time for giving presents and that can be a good thing if the presents are simple and come from the heart. However, many people believe that they have to spend a lot of money on extravagant gifts so they will be loved and appreciated. A big screen TV, a new expensive designer outfit, gold jewelry, the latest gadget or gimmick. Doesn’t it mean you love someone more if you spend more money??? No, this is certainly not true. It is just a false belief that tricks you into parting with your money, makes you feel bad and often puts you in debt.
It is far more important to give your PRESENCE on Christmas rather than PRESENTS. Think about it.
- Is a child happier when they are surrounded with piles of new toys and have nobody to play with OR are they happier when they have one game to play with someone they love?
- Is a wife happier when her husband gives her a diamond bracelet and then works overtime to pay for it OR is she happier when her husband gives her an inexpensive pair of earrings and then spends time watching TV with her every evening?
- Is a friend happier when she gets the newest I-phone from her friend and doesn’t see her for 6 months because she is too busy OR is she happier when her friend takes her for coffee once a week and spends time chatting with her?
Spending time with people spreads more happiness than spending money on people. What are you giving this Christmas…..Presents or Presence?
Have you ever stopped to consider how powerful our words can be? Everything that we say can have a huge impact on other people and even ourselves. Just one little word or phrase can heal a person’s life or it can destroy it. When we use words that are kind, loving and supportive we can lift people up and make them feel good. On the other hand, when we say words that are mean, nasty and vindictive we can tear people down and make them feel bad.
Think about words that people say to you:
- When you felt lonely and a family member said something loving to you, how did it make you feel?
- When you were feeling down and a friend said something encouraging, did it lift you up?
- When you were having a bad day at work and your boss told you that you did a good job, did your day go better?
Remember those times when a family member spoke to you in anger or someone at work criticized something you did or a friend told you they were too busy to have coffee with you. How did those words make you feel?
We should always be careful with our words and choose them carefully. Don’t let unkind, careless or cruel words come out of your mouth. Think before you speak especially when you are stressed, tired, angry or upset. Those are times when even the nicest person can be thoughtless and let words slip out that should never be spoken.
Saying unkind words to ourselves is also a bad thing. We can be very cruel to ourselves, speaking words we have heard other people say to us or about us. We need to challenge our self-talk and make sure we are not hurting ourselves with our own words. What other people say is only a reflection of who they are and not who we are. We believe a lot of things that are just not true.
We need to understand how powerful our words are and make sure we use them to lift people up, encourage them, support them and show our love.
We do many things in our lives that we wish we hadn’t done or wish we had done better. Too often we put off doing something with the intention of doing it someday but that day never comes. Or we do things quickly with little or no preparation, thinking that we can do it better the next time. Even worse we do something knowing that it isn’t right and it may even cause problems but we still do it anyway.
Time is precious and we should never waste it. We only have so many hours in a day and we really don’t how many of those days we have. In the big picture of life, we should try to focus on what is important and invest our time wisely.
When a loved one passes away, we are reminded that we can’t go back and do things over again. Our lives are NOT a dress rehearsal for some future event. Our lives are happening RIGHT NOW! We can’t go back and tell that person the things we forgot to say. We can’t go back and do the things we wanted to do with them. We can’t watch the movies that we said we would watch with them and didn’t. We can’t buy that gift that we always thought about getting them.
Are you living your life like it is a dress rehearsal? Stop rehearsing and start living! Time is precious. If you waste your time, you are wasting your life. Make some positive changes:
- spend time with the people you love
- go to your children’s school play or special event
- take that trip you have been planning (just don’t go into debt to do it)
- build meaningful relationships
- take that course you always wanted to take
- tell your spouse that you love them
- manage your time wisely
Everyone wants to have friends. Friendships are important. Good friends help us learn and grow, they help us build confidence, they help us enjoy life. When we are surrounded by people who care about us, we are able to navigate through life’s ups and downs and feel their love and support.
Children especially need friends to help them grow emotionally, socially and morally. They need mainly people their own age, although children can become friends with those who are older or younger. Many parents try to be a friend to their child, thinking they are being loving, but this will only stop a child from becoming independent and responsible. Parents should be a parent, a mentor, a teacher, someone who is there to guide them, support them, discipline them and mostly love them. Parents should be a good example to their children, helping them learn how to become a good friend to others and encouraging them to find positive friendships. Without friendships, children may easily become depressed, lonely and lack ambition which can result in poor health, poor performance in school or work, failed marriages and difficulty coping as an adult.
What does it take to be a good friend? It comes from a combination of teaching and experience. Good friends are able to :
- communicate their feelings in a positive way
- understand the feelings of others
- show empathy
- be trustworthy
- not gossip or spread false rumours
- take responsibility for their own actions
- solve problems and resolve conflicts
- forgive easily and not hold grudges
- distinguish right from wrong
- make good choices
- stand up for what they believe
- withstand bullying and understand that bullies have their own issues to deal with
- be loyal even when a friend is hurting physically or emotionally
- get along with others even during difficult times
- accept differences in people
- own up to their mistakes and not blame others
- have fun and enjoy life
If you want to have good friends, you have to be a good friend. Be a good example to your children and teach them to be a good example to others. Discourage them from having friends who continually hurt them through gossiping, excluding them, ignoring them or trying to get them to do things they know is wrong. Even having 1 good friend is better than having 20 bad friends. You are the biggest influence in your child’s life so make sure you are influencing them in a positive way.
If you want someone to love you more, you should start loving them more. It can be hard to step out of your comfort zone but don’t just wait for the other person to show their love or you will likely be disappointed. Be the strong one and show others that you care. Show love to your husband. Show love to your wife. Show love to your kids. Show love to everyone around you. If you are a vessel of love, it will start to make other people feel good and they will likely return your love. Love is powerful. Use it as a tool to create closer relationships.
Everyone has regrets. Being human causes us to say or do things that we wish we hadn’t said or done. This can cause relationship problems with our families, friends, co-workers and any else we come into contact with. We have to think carefully before we speak or put our words into actions. We can also regret NOT saying something to a loved one or NOT doing something that we dreamed about or following a goal.
In different studies, people were asked what their biggest regrets in life were. Many of these people were older or dying and they all seemed to have similar regrets. Here are the top five listed:
- I wish I hadn’t spent my life trying to live up to other people’s expectations. We all want other people to like us and we will do our best to fit in even if it takes away our own uniqueness. We believe the lie that if we make other people happy than we will have lots of friends and be happy. Our childhood dreams drift away and are forgotten.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so much. We all need to make money so we can survive, but money doesn’t buy happiness. Working long hours robs people of valuable time they could have spent with their family and friends. Sadly all the money they accumulated does not replace a close, loving relationship.
- I wish I had told people how I felt about them. Many people try to hide their feelings or don’t know how to show their love to others. This can send a wrong message to their loved ones that they don’t care which will cause them to go through life feeling unloved, unwanted and unappreciated.
- I wish I had worked harder on my relationships. Life can become so busy that we don’t take the time to keep in touch with family and friends. Special occasions often get missed because people can’t find the time to get together. Even families can have so many activities going on, that they rarely share a meal or spend much time together. As we get older, we have more time, but it may be too late to re-connect with people that we have pushed aside for so long.
- I wish that I had made the choice to be happy. Many of us don’t realize that we have the choice as to whether we will be happy or unhappy. Of course, life happens and there are situations that will cause us pain and misery. But even during difficult situations, we still have the choice as to how we can react. We can remain in our pain and dwell on the negatives in our life or we can deal with the pain and move on with a positive attitude.
The problem is, many people live their lives, not paying attention to the fact that life is passing them by and soon they will have regrets. Start this new year right, think about what is important in your life and then take action.
- Work hard, but not so hard that you don’t have time for your loved ones.
- Live up to your own expectations and follow your dreams.
- Tell your family and friends how much you care about them.
- Build strong relationships.
- Choose to be happy.
Make 2016 a year of fewer regrets!
If you want to have the best possible Christmas this year, try the following:
- spend lots of time with your family and friends (and not lots of money on worthless presents)
- give thanks for what you have (and don’t be unhappy for things you don’t have)
- show love and kindness to everyone you know (even those people you don’t particularly like)
- forgive people who have hurt you (and forgive yourself for hurting others)
- think the best of everyone (not the worst)
Most importantly, remember what Christmas is all about. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus and praising God for His wonderful gift to the world. May you all experience peace and joy in this Christmas celebration.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas!