Reece Gardner column: Secrets to attaining happiness

Reece Gardner column: Secrets to attaining happiness

I want to follow up on my recent column concerning happiness and how we can attain it. As a Dale Carnegie instructor for more than 40 years, I have had the opportunity to listen and respond to comments about life from the perspectives of those living it.

Marc Chernoff summed it up well when he said, "Happiness is not something you postpone for the future - it is something you design into  the present." So let's look at some things that happy people DO NOT do:

1. They do not mind other people's business. They forget about what others are doing and stop looking at where THEY are or what THEY have.

Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else's public highlights. I remember my dad, John Gardner, commenting many years ago about how some people would talk about how they would love to be like someone else.

He said, "I just want to be myself, because while that 'someone else' might be tossing and turning at night, John Gardner will be sleeping soundly." We don't need to listen to the noise of the world; we just need to listen to our own inner voice and mind our own business.

2. Happy people don't seek validation of self-worth from others. When we are content to simply be ourselves, without trying to impress others, most everyone will respect us.

3. Happy people don't rely on other people and external events for happiness. Unhappiness lies in that gap between what we have now and what we think we need. The truth is we don't need to acquire anything more to be content with what we already have. We don't need anyone else's permission to be happy.

Your life is magnificent, not because someone else says it is, or because you have acquired something new, but because YOU choose to see it as such.

4. Happy people don't hold on to resentment. Let today be the day you stop being haunted by ghosts from the past.

We've all been hurt by our own decisions, as well as by decisions of others. Forgiveness is the remedy. Without forgiveness, we can never be healed. It doesn't mean we're erasing the past, or forgetting what happened. It means we are letting go of the resentment and pain and choosing to move on with our lives.

Now is the moment of power we have to be happy. All hopes for the future, and memories of the past, only exist now. Happiness is all about making others happy, and it doesn't require "money" to make this happen. It can be done with expressions of love, a smile, a hug or just a kind word.  

So, let's be happy today!

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