Digging out of the dirt. Climbing up from the hole. Prying open a window [to let in sunlight] during a moment when everything seems [or is, for real] dark and contrary. My Happy has been temporarily displaced.
Most days I’m in a pretty good mood. If I don’t start out that way, I’ve learned a few tricks to flip it around. But sometimes… sometimes, the gray cloud seems to seep into the pores of my body and invade the warmth and sunshine of my cells and spirit. Ugghhh.
Then the piling begins. You know… I remember this sad thing and this stupid mistake. I think about this weakness and that ugly conversation – whether it was out loud with another person, or with myself. Pretty soon, I’m overwhelmed and underneath a pile of stupid, negative thoughts, concepts, or memories. I’m counting icky, ugly, things-that-don’t-matter instead of blessings.
There are a few little tips I’ve been given, have used [mostly, with success], and have actually written down for the times when I feel cloudy inside. Once I wrote a song that included these lyrics:
More than meets the eye. Searching for stars in a sunlit sky. Don’t always see it- or understand why. But there’s more – more than meets the eye….
There was a lot going on in my life. A lot of it was ugly, hard, and dark. One day in the studio, pondering over that principle of not seeing what’s right in front of us, it hit me. [And the beginning of a chorus was born] that sometimes I have such tunnel vision for the light of a star, I don’t see the brightness of the SUN that is beaming down on me. Caught up in tough stuff, or preoccupied with temporary difficulties, my heart and soul seem to cast a blind eye.
There’s always more than meets the eye. If I’m willing to dig out of the hole of self pity, climb out into a place of more logic and reason and feeling, or pry open my own heart to more, better, sweeter, brighter.
Does that make sense?
So – here a a few simple [but effective- even though they seem too easy] ways to flip it around and breathe more clear, happy, sunny air:
1- Sing to yourself. I often choose this one –
Don’t worry – Be happy.
The fact that I am a worry wart makes this song a perfect/ridiculous one for me. Somehow, though, repeating the lyrics over and over brings a smile to my heart. And It ups the joy quotient. Seriously!
2- Wave at people. Whether you know them or not. Wave with a smile. Growing up, my dad did that every single time we were in the car. I used to think he did it just to be silly. Wow, was I underestimating my dad. He knew a thing or two about working at being happy.
3- Look for One Good Thing in everyone. Including yourself. It has been harder for me to smile upon myself than other people. I was one of those slow learners when it came to realizing that God loves me perfectly. That my weaknesses don’t make me useless – they make me humble and teachable and open to more good.
Goodness is all around. Especially when we’re on the lookout for the open faces and open hearts of children.
A less critical eye – turned toward myself- became a blessing in allowing me to feel better, be better, do better. It took too long for me to understand the adversary loves to skewer our life path with negative feelings about ourselves. Ewww… Just toss them, and ask in prayer for continued help in seeing our own goodness. Then LOOK FOR IT. It’s there in abundance. All the world looks sunnier – and so do most of the folks in it.
4- Smile. There’s something about smiling on the outside that eventually translates to the inside. It is painful to do it, when it’s the last thing I want to do! And I feel like a stubborn child, kicking against the pricks. But oh, smiling is a wonderful thing! It seems to work like scrubbing bubbles to my heart and soul…. washing out the sadness!
5- Have a list of tools for digging and climbing out of the hole:
Gratitude is always a great tool for growing goodness.
Set goals – attainable ones – and celebrate each success
Remember one good thing. Hang onto it until you can add more good things. [They’re always there, even if they’re hiding in the back corner of your heart’s pantry.]
Call on the power of prayer. However we pray, prayer is good. Father in Heaven is aware. We gain strength and the happiness quotient rises. Smile power is awesome.
These ideas may seem silly. During a particularly hard time, they may seem too elementary or useless. I understand. But I hope that we each can continue to find the tools – however simple they may be – to grow our Happy. To climb up and out of the holes that would keep us from a good life. Because goodness includes sunshine and allows us to get past hard things.
And goodness matters.