The Happy Club
A friend and I were talking about the childhood universal trait of forming clubs. We supposed it directly fulfills the essential need to belong on Maslow’s famous hierarchy. I had a bike club, among others. She had a happy club. Yes, it seems to be a universal need…. wait… did you say A HAPPY CLUB? Yes!
Wow. A Happy Club. I want to belong!! And here is the kicker: their HAPPY CLUB, consisting of four little children, went around the neighborhood offering good deeds. They even had a song called “what can we do for you”? Now my question is did they offer the good deeds because they were happy, or did offering the good deeds make them happy? Probably both.
Have you ever noticed or thought about how it feels to be kind? Little children know! They’re not defended, offended or judgmental, and if we observe, they will teach us alot about being kind, AND about being happy. There does, indeed, seem to be a direct relationship between the two.
I truly believe we are born happy and stay that way for at least a few years… Life events, internalized messages (particularly shame) can scramble our coding, cause us to forget we’re ok, and the result is depression, anxiety or both. We manage THOSE conditions in variety of [often unhelpful] ways, seeking approval, spending money to buy a shiny object, over-medicating. We’re trying to be happy, but we’ve forgotten the essentials!
How to be happy? A thousand authors offer a thousand recipes for happiness. And we certainly know the advertisers promise that cars and trucks, clothing, electronics and cleaning products will make us happy.
Complaining or criticizing will not make us happy. Controlling or policing others’ behavior doesn’t make us happy; as a matter of fact, it is crazy-making. Buying a shiny object gives us a short-term chemical rush, but does not cause happiness.
Happiness is fundamentally linked to thoughts and behaviors. If thoughts are habitually on judging what is wrong out there, you can expect continued hits of stress hormones. Good luck with that. If thoughts are trained to find what is right, now we’re onto something. If behaviors are intentionally, consciously consistent with values, you can expect a hit of serotonin, particularly if you adopt a non-judgmental attitude.
If you want to be happy, try focusing on all that is going well. Focus on improving yourself before you determine others’ wrongness. Try making a habit of expressing gratitude for what you do have. Try forgiveness. Try taking care of your self, your body, your environment, your life’s work, your family.
And try kindness. Welcome to The Happy Club! What Can We Do For You?