What makes you happy?

Yesterday, I attempted to share, via my post, some of the things that make me happy. A long time ago, I decided to make an effort to see my world in a positive manner. It’s too easy to be negative.

This doesn’t mean I don’t slip once in a while and get negative, but I am not nearly as good at complaining as I once was.  Practice makes perfect, and as one sage said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Becoming happy, was no small task. A chronic depressive who once took “happy” pills because she suffered all kinds of awful experiences as a younger person, I could easily wallow in morbidity. At one point in my life I read the memoirs of Holocaust survivors to “cheer myself up.” That was before I saw the Woodie Allen film, Annie Hall.

You might recall in Annie Hall, Woodie sees the 10 hour 15 minute film Shoah about a hundred times. Along with everyone else in the theatre, I laughed when he kept taking Annie to see the film over and over. I saw myself in Woodie, and I am not  Jewish. He was trying to make sense of the world around him. So was I.  I began to think there must be a better way to do it.

Around then, one of my dear friends took me to my first Al-Anon meeting. Later she took me to an open AA meeting. I thought these people were nuts. They told the most awful stories and then laughed.

A former Trailways bus driver named Earl (now deceased) told the best story. Earl became famous making Trailways commercials 1960s. He was the dear man who leaned from his bus window and said “Leave the driving to us.”

Seems Earl lost his bus one day…outside Los Angeles. He had been drinking, and he simply parked the bus on the side of the road, got off it and hitchhiked along the highway until he was able to flag down another bus driver. The driver said to Earl, “Earl, when we left LA we both had buses. I still have my bus what happened to yours?”

Yes, I laughed and I cried, and I got better. When I realized how traumatic other people’s lives had been, and how they still kept on and learned to be happy again, I knew it was time for me to ‘get off the pity pot.’ From that point on, I began to focus on the positive things in life.

Deutsch: Viktor Frankl

Deutsch: Viktor Frankl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Viktor Frank, author of From Death-Camp to Existentialism (Man’s Search for Meaning), wrote about how people survived the Holocaust by focusing on positives. Frankl, best known as a representative of the third school of Psychotherapy, led the way in the modern Humanistic movement.

From Wiki:

Viktor Emil Frankl, MD, PhD (26 March 1905 – 2 September 1997)[1][2] was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of existential analysis, the “Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy“. His best-selling book Man’s Search for Meaning (published under a different title in 1959: From Death-Camp to Existentialism, and originally published in 1946 as Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager) chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate which led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most sordid ones, and thus a reason to continue living. Frankl became one of the key figures in existential therapy and a prominent source of inspiration for humanistic psychologists.[3]

It takes effort to have an attitude of gratitude. 

12 thoughts on “What makes you happy?

  1. I remember hearing once that you should keep a journal of five happy things that happened each day. I did it for months until I just stopped. I wish I kept it up because it does make me happy to read it.

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  2. http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/hq_building.shtm

    Wonderful find. One of a pair, the site tells me….”
    This sculpture, one of a pair found outside of the Federal Trade Commission Building, is entitled “Man Controlling Trade” and was completed for the FTC Building in 1942 by New York sculptor Michael Lantz. ”

    Off to work to shoot the new show. 🙂 Yes, thrift shops have shows. 🙂

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  3. Oh yes laughter is a saving grace in many ways. I learned early on that I could deflect my Mother’s anger and save myself a slap in the face if I could make her laugh.. one of my favorites was when she was making me crazy I would click my heels together thrust out my stiff arm and yell “Seig Heil !!”

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  4. I had a wonderful childhood , a loving family and later a loving husband and children. Yet I, too, had to learn to choose happiness and an attitude of gratitude. My relationship to Jesus Christ kept me together until I grew into new patterns of thinking and choosing.

    I try not to dwell on the fact that I was a slow learner. I am just glad for the lessons learned. It’s a lot more fun and satisfying to think about, savor and share the small and large blessings that surround me.

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  5. It really does.

    Whenever I’m having a pity party, usually when I’m lying in my nice warm bed in my centrally heated house with my freezer full of food, my running water, my healthy children and my loving husband, I think about Holocaust victims. Then I feel ashamed of myself, and grateful for everything I have.

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