As children, most of our stories have happy endings.
The princess is saved, Tiny Tim ends up robustly blessing everyone at the dinner table and the cute dog births floppy-eared puppies, despite that scary farmer. We’re taught to expect happy endings in our stories, and sometimes they’ll even have a song and dance thrown in for the viewer. Sadly, this isn’t always how life turns out. Sometimes, struggle has no rhyme or reason, and suffering is just part of the deal. Welcome, Friend–to a Happiness Lie.
One Happiness Lie is that answers are guaranteed.
We’re taught, frequently in 30 minute plot lines televised across our universe, that the good guy will figure everything out in time, and everything will make sense at the end.
In the real world–that’s not true.
In the real world, children die. This crime against logic happens somewhere in our world, every single day. For the parents left weeping over the tiny grave, there will never be answers, much less resolution. Their Happiness Lie is a harsh one, indeed.
Another Happiness Lie is that joy comes from possession.
Sometimes the sense of possession comes from material objects, and other times it comes from the expected loyalty of friends or family. We’re taught the love from others is something we own and are entitled to, but in real life, we can’t guarantee it will continue. Our bodies can fail us, our relationships can fail us, our living circumstances can fail us–the only thing we really possess is our mind, and sense of self. Even those can be taken though, when someone is ravaged by Alzheimer’s, or other forms of cognitive decline.
Happiness Lies surround us, so boldly that sometimes they’re unrecognizable as lies. They eclipse the truth in their brazenness, and that my Friend, is the true tragedy.
Any Happiness Lie, whether it’s one you absorb, or one you create for yourself, is a thief.
It distracts you from the genuine joy staring you straight in the face, and replaces it with someone else’s vision. When you allow yourself to want what you’re told to desire, then what you actually have seems mediocre. Inadequate, even.
We’re told that a two parent family with a dog is the ideal. So longingly, we neglect the people around us who actually provide steadfast love on a daily basis. We scramble to meet someone to provide us with the fairy tale, and miss out on what we already have.
We’re told we need to earn a certain amount of money, have a certain kind of job, or reach a certain status, in order to be considered successful. So we shrug off the genuine changes we make in the lives around us through our less glamorous jobs, because those things go unnoticed. We turn away from the validation that comes from people we see day-to-day, because it doesn’t shade in the template someone else put into our head.
Listen closely, please–this matters a great deal.
A Happiness Lie teaches you that what you have, or where you are right now in life, is not good enough.
Pfffft. That’s rubbish.
Beautiful–it doesn’t matter who you are. Or where. YOU, my Friend, are a glorious individual. You have experiences, memories, talents, and individual goals. Every bit of all that has merit.
Right now, at this exact moment in time–you are exquisite. You, this very second, are the sum of your life’s experiences. Every single thing you have brought forward to this moment has shaped you to be the incredible, dynamic and valuable person you are.
You are a breathing, thinking and emotive human being. You are capable of growth, change and independent decision-making.
Ignore what other people think you should have, or think you should be. What may be right for them could be completely and horribly wrong for you. By trying to fit your heart into their cookie-cutter, you will slice off bits of your soul that matter deeply.
I will never understand the why life can be so harsh and unkind.
I will never understand why some people choose violence as a form of personal expression, or why suffering finds each and every one of us, no matter how diligently we hide.
But it does. Sadly, Friend–it does.
You have a choice, every day that you wake up breathing, to give up, or to push back.
From the moment your feet hit the floor, you can choose to believe any of the Happiness Lies you like.
Or. You can choose to stare every one of those lies down, eyeball to eyeball, and declare victory.
You can choose to find peace in your existence, worth in your being and value in your own desires. Your choice is to narrow down what truly matters most, to you and you alone, and then make it happen.
How thrilling does that sound? To throw off the shackles of someone else’s blueprint for happiness, and create your own?
You (I’m looking you in the face here, Beautiful) have worth. You have value, goals, and dreams that are very important.
Don’t you dare let the world drown all of that out with its garbage, okay?
Today–today!–do something tiny that tells the world you are different. Be kind to the stranger who was rude to you. Dance at your sunny bus stop. Silently pay for the next person’s coffee, speak up for someone who is helpless or wear the purple shirt you love but get mocked for. Do something that quietly allows you joy in our world full of instructions, and express your individual beauty to our world filled with formats.
And then tell me about it, please.
Send me a picture, write me a note, Tweet or Facebook me–simply send your own bit of happy across the universe, to compete with all the pre-programming that’s out there.
Because you matter, Friend.
Don’t ever forget it.
Now go get ’em.
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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.