“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~Anne Frank
I have a confession to make: The last few weeks have been some of the hardest I’ve lived through in my entire life—but not for the reasons you’d think.
Thankfully, all of my family is safe and sound. Today is actually my grandmother’s 80th birthday, and we’re having a wonderful dinner to celebrate her life.
My husband and I have just moved into a beautiful new home and are ecstatic to finally have a little nest of our own. I have my health, my family, and my life—so what could possibly be missing?
The puzzle piece I have lost is what makes me most proud: the results of my intellect and mind.
In January of this year, I left my corporate job to launch a startup. The business grew, and I achieved many interesting goals. I hired a staff, met amazing new people, served great clients, launched a platform, and even published a mobile app.
Ten months later, I am now left with only a fraction of what I built. What makes this devastating are not the reasons that things went sour, but the fact that it was all my fault.
In the aftermath of a very strenuous episode, I can now see that what I feared would happen did actually happen, and the world has not crumbled. My life has not been stripped out from under me, and I still have all that I find precious.
I have felt anxiety, yes, but it was my own choice to create and suffer it. I have left that behind.
I choose to let the negativity float away, along with all the thoughts of what could have been, because those are the ones that bring me down.
In finding the balance between a harsh reality and a smiling heart, I made a list of what I find amazing about life, even when it hurts. Here’s what I came up with:
1. Courage grows when we choose to open up to another person in a way that creates more connection.
2. After rain stops falling, dewdrops sprinkle our gardens with incredible beauty.
3. A gesture as simple as holding someone’s hand slows our heart rate to a calm and peaceful state, as if by magic.
4. As much as we teach them our ways, children represent an immense learning experience for all adults to find more play and joy in life.
5. Simplicity in communication, design, and thinking will always win out over the complex, both in business and personal affairs.
6. When forming our emotions and actions, how we speak to ourselves within our own minds is much stronger than what anyone else can say to us.
7. Every single morning represents a new opportunity to live the life we always dreamed of.
8. Every single action we choose to take—like when you chose to read this—is a representation of our priorities in life.
9. The power of a shared connection can change our entire outlook on a problem, through empathy, support, and a comforting hug.
10. Moments of sadness and loss are the times we feel most appreciative for our lives, like a pick-me-up that is hard-coded into our brains to alleviate pain.
11. Our bodies are automatically programmed to reject all kinds of extremes (including drinking water), leading us to a path of moderation and balance.
12. While material goods might create momentary happiness, our best moments as humans come from joyful experiences.
13. As each of us grows and changes, we build layer upon layer of amazing personality traits and expertise, which creates new, improved versions of ourselves as time goes on.
14. Even fear can be helpful. The activities and experiences that we fear are usually the ones that provide us with the best experiences.
15. Our minds and bodies are responsive to the care we give them. If we exercise both, they will both improve. If we don’t, they won’t. It’s in our hands to choose.
16. The key to closer human connection is giving more of one’s own self. A material gift could never bring us closer together than a conversation.
17. As time passes, the human connections we make—friends, family, acquaintances—flow in and out our lives. The choice to reel them in when we need them is completely ours for the taking.
18. Learning comes strongest when it is derived from a mistake. Sometimes, the worse the mistake, the better the learning.
19. Each person has a distinct way to overcome personal obstacles. For some, comedy helps ease the pain, while others might choose music or sports. Each of us can find our own way to happiness.
20. While finding never-ending joy may be difficult, finding happiness is much easier—through peace of mind and mindful choices. When we change our perception of happiness, it is obvious that it’s ours for the taking.
What else would you add to this list? Let’s help each other find happiness in the face of difficulty.
Photo by PhilKu