When I started the Society over a decade ago I remember chatting with a therapist at a conference who asked why I had started the Society. I responded with something like, “Our culture seems to reward us with positive reinforcement when we talk about our problems, but if we talk about being happy, people really don’t know how to respond. The room gets silent.” His response, “What’s wrong with that?” still causes my heart to skip a beat. I could only think, “I’m so glad you’re not my therapist.”
I guess he was into job security. What’s wrong with his comment is that the point of self-help is to find more happiness. The assumed by-product of being happier would be talking more about happiness. Happy people know that at best you’re happy most of the time, but not all of the time. People who are mostly happy seek to find silver linings in their challenges instead of seeing them as obstacles destined to make them forever unhappy.
If you seek silver linings, you may find yourself being the happiest person you know. Not because you only experience happiness, but because you choose to see challenges as opportunities.
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Being the happiest person you know can sometimes feel lonely – especially during the holidays. I mean, if the majority of the people you know see the glass half empty, then it dissipates the joy of sharing happiness because you can predict that the other person will just rain on your parade. Although happiness is scientifically known to be contagious, so is gloom. If you’re the one happy person in a group of five, you probably won’t be able to elevate the group mood to happiness. Some people seem to define happy as being chronically cranky. They carry their “what’s wrong” magnifying glass with pride. Also to clarify, a chronically cranky person isn’t someone who’s having a bad day. Unhappy moments happen to even mostly happy people. You can figure out who’s happy being cranky and who’s just having a cranky moment.
How do you keep your happy if you’re the happiest person you know?
- Connect with other happy people. This may mean making new friends to create a “keep your happy” support group. This group needs to be made up of people who are at least as happy as you are (not people you are trying to cheer up).
- Make new not-so-secretly happy friends on our blog posts and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. We have an even better happy connection solution launching in January ~ more to come soon.
- Do not try to make a chronically cranky person happy. They are happy in their own way being unhappy. Protect your happiness by responding to their “what’s wrong” chatter with a smile and a response like “that’s one way to see it”.
- Encourage happy sharing. When someone makes a comment about something that makes them happy, be genuinely happy when you respond. Ask questions, get the story, and smile big with your borrowed joy. Then this person will mostly likely want to hear your happy story, too.
If you’re ever feeling like you’re the happiest person you know, remember that you are not alone. There are thousands of not-so-secretly happy people in our community to share in celebrating happiness with you.
In the spirit of sharing happiness, what’s the happiest thing that’s happened to you today? Please share below – we really want to know.