I had a strange encounter a few weeks ago.
While at an event, I was introduced to a woman. After some small talk, the conversation took an interesting turn. She asked me if my husband and I were thinking about having kids.
We are at that age where people ask that question a lot; I’m used to it. And in fact I’m happy to share with people that we do want children, it’s an exciting time in our lives! But I wasn’t prepared for what she was about to say when I happily told her, yes!
Usually, when someone asks me that question, they proceed to tell me how wonderful motherhood is. Or they offer some encouraging words.
But that’s NOT what this woman did or said. She told me that she had kids and it was a DISASTER.
I laughed awkwardly waiting for an “I’m just kidding” or some funny story to follow. I mean a lot of people have told me that having children is challenging at times, but they usually follow-up with a “but it’s so rewarding,” or “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Nope, not this lady. She told me how she’d given her kids everything, a big house, pool, cars, whatever they wanted and that they didn’t appreciate it. And now that they’re grown up, she didn’t talk to or have a relationship with any of her children. The entire conversation oozed of negativity and resentment and just downright unhappiness.
Cue the crickets. This was a first for me, and I wasn’t sure how to respond. Thankfully she was doing most of the talking anyway.
When I did get a chance to speak, I told her I was sorry to hear that and tried to change the direction of the conversation. I was trying to find something that would make her light-up, perhaps a hobby or something she enjoyed doing. (That’s a good tip if you notice someone stuck in a negative state, try to find something to talk about that they enjoy) But alas, she kept coming back to the topic of her kids and stories about how ungrateful they were.
I got the feeling that she just wasn’t happy about anything in life.
In my desperate attempt to lighten up the mood I told her that maybe my husband and I would rethink children and just stick to our dog since she’s always grateful for the simple things in life like food and water and the occasional treat. (It was my attempt at a joke).
That at least made this lady crack a smile. She looked at me and said something I’ll never forget. She told me, you seem really happy… don’t lose your happy.
Committed to choosing my state
As painfully awkward and uncomfortable as that conversation was, I will never forget those words she said to me. Don’t Lose Your Happy.
Those words echoed in my mind long after our conversation. It scared me. It made me consider that my happiness is something I could lose. I had never thought of that before.
I pondered on this.
Why was I so happy, and why was she so unhappy? That’s a super complicated question, right? Or is it?
I heard a talk from Dr. Wayne Dyer on a podcast the other day. And he gave an analogy so simple, yet so profound that it answered my complicated question with ease.
“Pressure doesn’t create negative behavior. Think of yourself as an orange. If an orange is squeezed, if all this pressure is being applied from the outside, what happens? Juice comes out, right? But the only thing that comes out when the pressure is applied is what’s already inside the orange.” Wayne Dyer
That’s when it hit me.
I realized I wouldn’t lose my happy because I’m consciously committed to filling myself with happiness and love every day. Even if it’s just for a moment, a glimpse of sun, a kiss from my husband, the wagging tail of my dog, perhaps a moment of gratitude just for being alive.
When the pressure of life squeezes you, what comes out?
Ok, I know we aren’t oranges, but there’s no denying that the thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes that lie deep inside of us make up the state in which we live (our juice, if you will).
So let me ask you, what are you filling yourself with every day?
When life gets messy, hard, unfair, and squeezes you, what comes out?
If you aren’t practicing the things you want like love, happiness, joy, forgiveness, etc..This my friends is where unhappiness, anger, resentment, regret, and negativity oozes out if we haven’t committed to higher standards for ourselves.
I don’t want that for my life; I don’t want that for you. And I don’t want us to be like the woman in this story.
I’m going to share with you exactly how I’ve instilled a daily practice into my life that ensures I’m filling myself with the states that bring happiness into my life. It’s been a blessing to me and I know it will be to you too.
You need to ask yourself the same question that Tony Robbins asked himself in his book Awaken the Giant Within.'what states would I be in if I were my highest and best? What states will I commit to being every single day, no matter what? Regardless of the environment, regardless of whatever challenges break loose around me, I will be in these states at least once every day'. Tony RobbinsClick To Tweet
Tony went on to explain what he calls his “code of conduct” where he lists out 7-10 states that make him happy. He lists with each state a sentence of what living in that state looks like for him. He’s committed to being in these states every day, no matter what, no matter how small.
I did the same thing for myself. And it’s exactly how I’m going to ensure I NEVER lose my happy. It takes baby steps and a commitment, but I know you can do it!
I look at my list every morning. And throughout my day, I take opportunities to live them out!
Jenna’s “code of conduct.”
1.) Grateful – Reflection and being present in the moment.
2.) Loving – Showing kindness, support, and encouragement to people around me.
3.) Happy – Smiling, laughing, loving
4.) Generous – Giving away something & wanting nothing in return.
5.) Connected – Praying, meditating, listening intently to others, husband, co-workers, family, friends, and strangers.
6.) Energetic – Moving, exercising, fueling my body.
7.) Patient – Not saying anything without taking a breath and connecting back to love.
8.) forgiving – Verbally and internally.
9.) Passionate – Sharing authentically for the good of others.
The key to never losing your happy
The reality is that we have a choice as to what kind of “juice” lies within us. And there’s no denying that the pressure of life will squeeze it out.
So what’s the key to never losing your happy? Having a desire not to. Exploring the states that make you happy, and committing to living them out every day, in some small way.
I encourage you to take 10 minutes and write your own code of conduct. Think about states bring you happiness, and list a sentence for each one of what that looks like for you. Look at this list every morning, and practice it.
Happiness is not reliant on our circumstances, rather, our ability to create and choose it regardless of our circumstances.
Take one small step today,