Sometimes I don’t know what to count first. My blessings—or the little moments in life that make me stop and want to count my blessings. It was the second or third time I’ve used this particular cashier at a local shop. It’s the type of job that garners little respect or attention, no matter how frequent the customers or how pleasant the small talk. But this guy has grabbed my attention on more than one occasion for no better reason than he is completely, contagiously, happy. So many visual cues tell me this guy has a lot he could be frustrated about or unhappy with, but instead he bubbles over with such contentment for the life he’s been given that I have yet to walk out of the store without a smile.
After I leave his small glow of happiness, the real work begins to wear on me again. I hear negative comments from all around. People will yell when their phone isn’t working, complain about their job or become sarcastic when someone suggests an idea they don’t like. There’s a time and place for every emotion, but why do we first seem to resort to the negative reaction to a situation? I’m reminded of a phrase I’ve seen displayed in various ways that reads:
The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything.
It seems that some of the happiest people I have ever met are the ones who have fairly average lives. Some of these people have even dealt with major struggles and setbacks that would leave most of us feeling frustrated and pitiful. Instead, they’ve (knowingly or unknowingly) mastered the art of making the best of everything. These people aren’t naive nor are they complacent, they are simply happy, and what else is more important? If a magic genie came to grant you just one wish, I would say we’d all be smart to wish for happiness. Everything else is really secondary. Unfortunately, the people who have yet to figure this out are obvious. We can likely all pull up a real life example in our minds of a person, who on paper, is wealthy and successful, but knowing them deeper allows you to also know most of their life is spent feeling stressed, angry and unfulfilled. In contrast, are those who have learned that happiness is not having the best of everything; it’s making the best of everything.
Slowly, I too am learning to make the best of everything. Even the most unexpected and outrageous situations can be a reason to smile if you loosen up long enough to realize you’re simply not in control. Whether my career continues to excel or one day I have to take a different job to make ends meet, knowing that I have the power to be happy through anything makes any outcome okay. It’s an incredible realization that the stress we place on being happy can become the cause of our unhappiness.
Thinking back to that contagiously happy cashier, I would love to one day know that he finally got the life he dreamed of. But who am I to say that he hasn’t already?