“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” ~Brother David Steindl-Rast
Lately I’ve been forgetting a basic fact of life: the energy we send out comes back to us. And my energy has been low. I’ve been starting my mornings with low energy even though I understand that the first energy we bring to anything, a greeting or conversation, a task, or our morning, it sets the tone. If we start with low and slow energy, feeling a bit sad, heavy, focusing on the worries in life, then our day (or conversation, work project, anything) will continue along in that vein.
But if we can muster the highest and happiest energy possible, it will set that higher tone. A much nicer place to be at! There’s an old adage of ‘Fake it ‘til you make it’ which has true merit. Jim Rohn was an inspiring speaker whose tapes I enjoyed years ago. He’d encourage us to do just that. He’d suggest when someone asks how your day is going or how you are doing, if you have to: fake it! Give a huge smile and enthusiastically say ‘Great! Thanks for asking. How are you?’ or something like that. He’d stress this point again and again. Whenever anyone asks you how you are, say ‘I’m doing excellently. Couldn’t be better! It’s a wonderful day.’
Now sure there are pros and cons to every idea, and I know sometimes we feel blue and we mustn’t hide or bury all our sadness. But that’s what therapy is for. Not our coworkers. Not the cashiers and clerks and people we interact with daily. Another saying I enjoy is, ‘No matter what the weather is, always bring your own sunshine’.
That’s my point! If you are blue or times are horrible and you can’t see the silver lining beyond the clouds – Fake it! Give it a try. Pretend you are happy. Pretend you are bursting with gratitude for all the blessings you still have, rather than focusing on what you don’t have, or the things in your life that are going wrong.
It’s a common mistake that I’ve often fallen into, but whenever I remind myself that I can do certain steps to feel better and start to take action, I’m amazed at the results. Truly consistent results! I feel better almost immediately. And all I changed was my perspective. I decided to act ‘as if’ I was really happy and grateful for my life. And the miraculous thing is, once we act cheerful and start to smile, we begin to feel better. In an incredibly short amount of time we forget we were ‘acting’ or faking it at all. We just feel happier.
Remember… whatever we send out into the world, whatever energy we are radiating, we are the first ones to step into it. So what do I want to feel? What type of energy do I wish to step into? Gratitude. Acceptance. Joy. Love. Just a few words to describe the uplifting feelings I want to generate in my life.
Will I feel that by sulking about the horrors of political stupidity or trying to understand the motives of terrorists or worrying about natural disasters? I’ve been there. I tried that. It doesn’t work. I can see now that no matter how bad I feel about a horrible situation, it doesn’t help. It doesn’t help the world, and it sure doesn’t help my own life.
So, as Voltaire wisely stated, I have decided to be happy because it’s good for my health. And that’s the type of good energy I want to step into.