The Alphabet of Happiness: 'F'

Happiness has many entry points. Some are simple, like appreciation, and others, like forgiveness are more complex. Today, let's look at the letter "F" covering fun, focus and forgiveness.
05/14/2013 03:57 pm ET Updated Jul 14, 2013

Randy Taran, Founder & CEO of Project Happiness, producer of the award-winning Documentary and author of The Project Happiness Handbook talks about ways to be happier with small changes that yield big results. Below is a post from her Alphabet of Happiness, exploring happiness expanders from A-Z.

Happiness has many entry points. Some are simple, like appreciation, and others, like forgiveness are more complex. By exploring different facets of happiness, you blast open your capacity for greater joy. Even when facing challenging times, you will discover your portals to inner happiness. Today, let's look at the letter "F" covering fun, focus and forgiveness.

Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game. -- Michael Jordan

In this fast-paced world, with all its responsibilities and challenges, we can forget one important thing -- to have fun along the way! For some, fun is relegated to weekends or even retirement, but what If you were lucky (or determined enough) to find the work that made you lose track of time. In the words of Thomas Edison, "I never did a days work in my life. It was all fun." What a concept -- don't we all want some of that?

Fun returns us to who we are. Laughter and fun bring out the child in all of us. It gets us into the zone, where creativity flows and alignment is effortless. It recalibrates our essence to our circumstance, and feels like freedom and joy wrapped into one delightful package. Fun is connecting with others, and feeling fully alive inside and out -- that's hard to beat. Fun is one of the catalysts for some of the closest relationships we develop, and it helps to create the most precious memories of a lifetime. At the end of the day, isn't that what it's all about? Dr. Seuss said it best, "Fun is good." What is fun for you?

We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what's wrong in your life, or you can focus on what's right. -- Marianne Williamson

Focus is a powerful way of influencing your happiness and directing the course of your life. Like the water you sprinkle onto a sprouting seed, whatever you focus your attention on tends to grow. It's like that with feelings too. If you keep your attention on how angry you are at a particular person, they will often sense it and react with more of the same. If your choice of focus is kindness, and you make an effort to speak and act with that in mind, then not only do others respond with kindness, but that warm feeling expands within you. If you are mindful of what you appreciate in life, you'll soon notice more of the good stuff showing up.

Consider shifting the focus of your daily attention, and you may be surprised to find yourself in a state of well-being. Try to focus on the good you have in your life now rather than on what is missing. Focus on what makes you happy, instead of what brings you down. Focus on your strengths, rather than on your weaknesses. Focus on the opportunities change provides, rather than the fear of change. Focus on the potential each day presents, instead of yesterday's issues that are beyond your control. Focus on how amusing life can be if you look at it through that lens. Focus on what makes you awesome and unique, and be prepared to watch it grow. Focus on what inspires you now.

When you forgive, you in no way change the past -- but you sure do change the future.
-- Bernard Meltzer

Forgiveness: such a tricky subject... if someone has hurt us deeply, do we just want to let them get off the hook, to continue with their negative patterns, and potentially cause more hurt? The reactive, natural response to this is a big resounding "NO!" Where's the justice in that? Ideally, we can influence that person, and help them become more self-aware, so as to learn something and go forward. But... what happens when this is not even in the realm of possibility? What happens when the person is too set in their ways, a pathological liar, or simply stuck in a severe state of denial?

Though each situation is unique, there is a point where choice comes in. We can hold onto the resentment and wallow in its bitterness, or we can be proactive and choose to step up to a place of peace. Make no mistake -- this is not for the other person's benefit or to discount the hurt; the purpose is to get on with our own lives. Feelings of anger towards the other, keep us imprisoned in that very emotion. "Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else: you are the one who gets burned." -- Buddha

To look at the situation from a different vantage point, ask yourself, is that someone "out to get you" personally or are they just splattering their inner pain onto anyone they can lash out to? Your change in perspective does not necessarily excuse their behavior; but it is a reminder that everyone expresses suffering in different ways.
Forgiveness is not:
• accepting unkindness
• saying that poor behavior is OK
• forgetting that something painful happened
• denying your feelings
Forgiveness is:
• about your healing and freedom, and not about the people who hurt you
• the peace you feel when you look at yourself as a survivor rather than a victim
• a way of taking back your power and taking control of your future
• a choice

What are you willing to let go of?

Whether through fun, focus or forgiveness, a more expansive happiness is closer that you may know. What are some other facets of happiness that are working for you?

For more by Randy Taran, click here.

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