Are you living within your happiness? It’s a question you may not have considered. We are taught from a relatively young age to live within our means, though I realize some of us don’t, but what does it mean to live within our happiness?
I have been thinking a lot about this question lately and what triggered it was a Facebook post my wife shared with me from one of her high school friends. Her former classmate had just put her home up for sale. My wife was surprised she bought the home in the first place. It was over-priced, and a lot of house for a single person. Her job, while paying well, is in a risky area of hi-tech. My wife explained to me that one of her motivations for making the purchase was that she said on Facebook that she was “so deeply in love,” and “this was the one,” after only a courtship of three months. In another post, she is seen happily hugging a big white puppy with a caption, “Life is Great!”
I learned the relationship is over, the hi-tech job is teetering and after she sells the home, she plans to move back to her hometown. Whereas my wife and I feel bad for her, I am not surprised. We are in an era where so many people live outside their happiness.
Pearls of Wisdom
What did we ever do before we had the social media to boast about how happy we are? I think that people lived their lives, quietly accepted what came their way and found that happiness always comes from within. As Dabo Swinney, the Clemson football coach says, “Let the light that shines in you be brighter than the light that shines on you.”
My grandparents were hardly wealthy. They lived through the World Wars and the Great Depression, yet they found happiness. They instilled in me a particular view of the world that has served me well. I realize that many younger people today are not fortunate enough or blessed to have such mentorship so I would like to share a gift.
If my wife’s former classmate were to abandon the “happy posts” on Facebook and ask older generations for advice, I believe they might tell her the following seven things about “living within your happiness.”
- Don’t try to buy it. No matter how much you make, it will not buy happiness. An enormous house, a BMW and a Mercedes in the garage, a closet full of Armani and Versace, will not fill your heart. Your greatest joy will come from the simplest pleasures.
- Live within a budget. I am amazed by how many people try to convince me that we are living in a new era, with a new type of economy and where debt is not important. Economists sharply differ. They mostly agree with my grandparents. Throwing away a budget for expensive restaurants and extravagant vacations will quickly come back to haunt you. No one is saying, “Don’t have fun,” what my grandparents might say is, “Have fun within your means.”
- Don’t be fooled by fame. Choosing friends just because they are wealthy or high-powered professional people are no substitute for good, ethical, spiritual, and caring people. Popularity doesn’t fulfill you. It warms you a bit, but that warmth is temporary.
- There will be pain. Our modern-day messages, be it on social media, reality TV, internet postings, podcasts, or movies, often convey a picture that we can have everything, we can do and be anything, we can make everything into something it is not. Sometimes we must face the fact that we can’t always avoid pain. However, pain and adversity can make us stronger and better.
- Nothing replaces friends. My grandparents used to say, “At the end of the day, if you have two good friends, you have a treasure.” They were right. The friends, followers, and connections of social media will never replace a hug, a shared tear, a voice of encouragement, or the incredible feeling of knowing that someone has your back.
- Don’t blather. There is a reason why gossipmongers are unhappy people. For we can never feel elevated and happy if we are busy demeaning others. The most content people I’ve ever known never had a bad word to say about anyone. My grandparents were kind and accepting people. When we learn to accept others, even those with faults and flaws, we learn to accept ourselves better as well.
- Care for yourself. A new boyfriend or girlfriend, a baby, an expensive house, or even a puppy cannot replace self-love. I don’t mean “selfishness,” I mean self-caring. Living for others, or other things, cannot replace respecting yourself and respecting the things you need to make you happy.
Spend life with who makes you happy, not who you have to impress. Live within your happiness.
For more information about Hall of Fame speaker and bestselling author Steve Gilliland and the Gilliland Foundation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org / 724-540-5019 / www.stevegilliland.com.