Day 18: Happiness is a Practice, Not a Destination

Joy is Contagious

Growing up I believed that love was a limited resource; that it had to be earned; and that it could be taken away.  As a result, rather than celebrating other's success, or filling with joy when someone else received attention, appreciation or praise I felt an intense panic and fear that I would be left out-and that somehow there wouldn't be enough love to go around. Deep down I didn't believe I was worthy of love.

I experienced this internal struggle through my mid 20's. You couldn't always see it from the outside; but it was destroying me from the inside. It was difficult for me to connect to others. The more I tried to horde love and joy and get my share the less I actually received.

In a poem by Kahil Gibran he writes: "Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter arise was oftentimes filled with tears. How else can it be"?

In other words, we can't selectively numb or selectively avoid or discard emotion. Everything gets clouded by these strategies because they arise from the same cup within us.

I know now that joy is boundless and contagious! And do my best to demonstrate that in my life everyday.

The Buddha says this, "Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of that candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared".

By sharing happiness you actually receive much more. You become happier yourself. Share love, joy and happiness today.

Try this: For the next week intentionally praise others at least 5 times a day. It can be something simple to something big. Be mindful and notice how this makes you feel. Happiness is an inside job. We must transform our own outlook and keep our own cup flowing.