These happy little plants, watered and fed, sitting in the warm sun are just that….happy. They’ve got everything they need. Their roots are stabilizing them as they reach their arms to the sky. Or just as they grow and multiply. It’s simple for them, isn’t it? Sucking water up their stems, turning sunlight into energy, it’s easy for them to live simple lives. Humans are so much more complex it must be harder for us. Right?
I’m not convinced.
In fact, I’m not convinced at all.
We need food and water, bottom line. Next step. We need shelter. Next step. Some of us need more sunlight than others. Some need lots of physical activity. Some need space to be alone while others need loads of human interaction. Ah, see that’s where it seems complicated. We see the individuality of each of us and our unique needs and wants and then fly to the conclusion that we are so complex life has to be hard. It has to be hard to be happy.
Except that it doesn’t.
Depression and other mental illnesses aside, it doesn’t have to be hard to be happy. It takes a little bit of effort, sure. But what doesn’t? So does going to work, walking a dog, picking up a child from school but most of us do this no problem. Why? Because we’re already used to it. Doing and prioritizing the things that make us happy is equally as important but we aren’t used to doing that. Society teaches us that our personal happiness does not come first. To me, that’s a sin. Why shouldn’t our happiness come first?
I’m not saying raise your middle fingers to the world and backpack across the country. I’m saying remember that you can’t be your best to others if you aren’t your best to yourself.
Be good to yourself.
This was today’s breakfast. Yummy right? Organic steel cut oats (the quick-cook kind), 1 teaspoon-ish of natural maple syrup, and a little bit of organic brown sugar mixed in. Add some berries and YUM. It really is delicious…. especially with coffee.
Why is my breakfast in this post?
Because today I’m not feeling super great. I woke up early and a little tired. Sore and unwilling to cook up a scrambler, an omelet, or anything else fancy. I was a little chilled (34 degrees this morning). So I went ahead and boiled some water, threw in my oats, and ate a sweet, warm and decently healthy breakfast. I wasn’t obsessed with making some crazy strict breakfast. I gave myself something yummy, something with energy, and something that would make me happy.
I was good to myself today.
The point of this is to say, it’s easy to be good to yourself. It didn’t take me more than seven minutes to make this meal. While it cooked, I practiced some gentle yoga to wake up my body. I was good to myself. It might seem silly that coffee, oatmeal with some sweets in it, a big glass of water and vitamins could be all that it takes to be good to yourself. It might even seem really silly.
But it’s important.
We need to nourish our body and nourish it well. But we don’t need to deprive it of the things we like such as sweets. Fruit! A splash of honey! Some syrup! Anything will do. We need to be kind to ourselves. It doesn’t have to be a 40-minute yoga. It can be a five minute stretch right in the morning. A hot shower to loosen you up. A cold shower to wake you up. We need to be happy too. It doesn’t have to be complex. It’ll take some time to figure out what makes you personally happy, but it’s worth it.
For me, it means waking up early. It means eating something yummy but healthy according to my tastes that day. No restrictive habits. My happiness means a morning yoga with coffee by my side, a day of writing, a run, and a workout or three (I can’t help myself). To be happy, I have to prioritize those things, morning yoga with coffee, writing, and a workout. To do that, I have to prioritize other things like sleep, the healthiness of my food, stress and time management. But as a reward for that, I get to be calm and happy.
Doesn’t that sound amazing? Peace throughout the day?
Think about it. What things do you need? How can you incorporate what you love with those needs (I need good nourishment but I want something warm and sweet)? Broaden your thinking a bit. Encompass your happiest place with your thoughts. We’re busy people. Not always crazy complex. You’d be surprised what one quick little habit would do to your mindset.
Happiness is possible. It might even be easy. Happy journeying.