Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. Benjamin FranklinIn the forward to Daniel Gilbert's bestselling non-fiction book, "Stumbling on Happiness," he writes, "The mistakes we make when we try to imagine our personal futures are also [like optical illusions] lawful, regular, and systematic. They too have a pattern that tells us about the powers and limits of foresight in much the same way that optical illusions tell us about the powers and limits of eyesight."
When I was a little girl I imagined myself as many things when I grew up. No matter the profession, no matter which stage I was on, or in, I always imagined myself 'Happy!'. Not the angst driven, where is my life, what have I done? kind of happy, but rather the blissful, living the dream, living it large kind of happy of mythic proportions of my childhood thinking. In my childhood imaginings of 'the future me' there were no bumps in the road, no knocks in the dark and no darn prince of darkness hiding behind a prince of the charming kind.
As I aged, my imaginings of my future self, had to get in line with reality. I never did become a star of the silver screen. Never even tried to get there. I never did marry Prince Charming, though I did try to get there! Doesn't seem to make a difference though to my happy quotient today. Today, I'm happy being me, whatever stage I'm at.
Who I am today is not who I imagined myself to be when I was a child. Back then, I never thought about my happiness being based on contentment or peace of mind. I always imagined it being founded on what I had and what I was doing in my life. I imagined it came wrapped up in the mansion, spread out over thousands of feet of living the life with servants and chauffeurs and a career that had my name plastered on movie theatre marquees around the globe.
So, it's a wonderful feeling to wake up and know, I'm Happy. Doesn't mean I don't imagine my future filled with prosperity, love, joy and little trauma. Nope. My happiness is of the inner variety. A deep contentment, a satisfaction, a knowing that I am being all I'm meant to be. I'm giving my all, sharing my unique gifts in a way that will create the life of my dreams, that will add value to the world today. I am happy because I know I don't have to be making a difference to make a difference in my world. I make a difference by being me.
Happiness isn't a destination, nor an illusion. It's an inner way of being. An attitude. A belief. Happiness is a bowl full of gratitude served up on a platter of love sprinkled with toasty laughter smothered in smiles and hugs.
The question is: How are you measuring your happiness today? Are you eyeing the future, dreaming about some day soon when you will have it all, know it all, be all? Or, are you measuring up to yourself, counting your blessings with a belly full of laughter and a cup running over with love?