As most of you who know me understand, I am a pretty positive person – a “the glass is half full” kind of guy. I enjoy accomplishing goals that make me, my family and my friends happy. I encourage others to dream – to create bucket lists and challenge themselves to do things that make them happy.
There is a great deal of advice, articles and books, and even movies that can help us find our path to happiness, however each of us defines it. I do believe that happiness is a choice and that our choices lead us toward or away from it.
Upon reflection of my daily choices, I often find that I am so eager and excited to choose happiness that I often block out or dismiss my faults and failings, misses, sadness and brokenness. Instead of dismissing my imperfections, it may be that I need to lower my “protective shield” and consider where I could either improve or embrace my failings.
Evaluating our less than perfect aspects can be challenging, so offering ourselves some grace is an important aspect of the process. We need to understand that our faults, real or perceived, are part of what makes us unique. We also need to remind ourselves that happiness is not what social media so often attempts to define it as these days. I believe that figuring out what feeds each of our wholly imperfect selves leads us down the path of authentic happiness. I also believe we can learn so much from our failures and shortcomings, from our sadness and our grief. They offer us the opportunity to grow and be better versions of ourselves.
So, as we work to become better or even the best versions of ourselves, maybe we should not just focus on trying to be happy, rather take the time to embrace our complete selves – our wholeness. It could be that doing so will make us happier in the long run.
Let’s enjoy life’s journey, embracing the current seasons and concentrating on how we are living for ourselves and those who mean the most to us. I’ll finish by sharing a poem that a dear friend of mine, Gary Hendrickson, shared with me recently. I feel it is a wonderful reminder of the importance of reflecting upon happiness, completeness and living a whole life.
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end. He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years. For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth. For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash. So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.
To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while. So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?
By Linda Ellis, Copyright © Inspire Kindness, 1996, thedashpoem.com