I have the secret! Okay, no secret. You caught me. However, I have had some personal insight lately. I have actually been meaning to write this post for a couple of weeks now, but I haven't gotten the chance (or motivation). So, even though I already posted once today, I will put this one up as well. They just didn't go together... I am actually going to be somewhat serious in this post. I have been thinking quite a bit lately about what exactly happiness means. As many before me have already concluded, there is not right answer, secret recipe or magic potion to create happiness. It is a choice, a choice that has to be made over and over again, often minute by minute. Now this is not to say that if you are not happy 100% of the time, you are failing and it is your own fault. Life is hard, and sometimes that choice to be happy is a very difficult one. There are many factors that play into our lives, and I am in no way an expert, nor do I pretend to be able to comment on them. However, in various conversations and experiences over the past couple weeks I have come to the conclusion that there are two large factors that we CAN control that contribute to happiness!
1. Faith. I know, hard right. It is hard to have faith, hope and patience when trials seem to stretch on forever and have no end. It is hard to have faith when the future is scary. It is hard to have faith when there is uncertainty. However, the knowledge that our Heavenly Father has a plan for us is comforting. Sometimes I wish he would give me a bit more of a sneak peak, but even knowing that there is a plan is helpful when it is hard to see my own plan. I just need to have a little more trust, and chose to know that it is all going to work out better than I could ever plan. To borrow a line from Bishop Edgley "Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism." It is a choice. I chose to be happy and have faith.
2. In keeping with the current season, the second secret is gratitude. Being grateful really does make a difference. We were talking about happiness in one of the group therapy sessions that I was in at clinicals. I wish I could remember who had written the article (a non-LDS affiliated article by the way) but he made an interesting point. The article said that no grateful person is unhappy and all happy people are grateful. This really struck me, and I realized exactly how true it is. When we take time to realize just how blessed we really are, the problems don't seem so big. Life really is Beautiful :) Who knew the song "Count your blessings" was right!