Wishing Happiness (#63)

“I just want my ___ (child, spouse, employee, etc.) to be happy” is something we often hear, but don’t often see demonstrated with equal conviction. In reality, these words tend to default to our own judgement and definitions of what happiness is and means. If we truly and authentically wanted the people we cared about to be happy, we would support them more, judge them less, and accept them for who they are.  In the words of a Miracle on the Hudson survivor, we also might choose “happiness” over being “right.”

The inspiration for this week’s Friday Forward came from an incredibly moving piece written two weeks ago, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It is titled, “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” In September 2015, Amy was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. In her beautiful article, she managed to write a tribute to her husband that was also an open advertisement for someone to make him as happy as he had made her after she was gone.

Sadly, Amy passed away this week, but her story taught me an invaluable lesson about what it really means to wish happiness for others that we care about; selfless happiness, without strings attached and without making it about ourselves. Her story is also a powerful reminder that life is short. Choosing to live via a “deferred life plan” – putting off embracing opportunities and happiness until a later point –might not work out as we planned.

Whether or not it was a coincidence, shortly after reading Amy’s article, my family and I made some decisions about how to go about tackling some items on our bucket list this year. I’ll be sure to share those with you as our plans come together.

So, the next time you say “I just want ____ to be happy,” think about Amy and her story and truly ask yourself if your actions match your words.

Quote of the Week

 “All the happiness there is in this world comes from thinking about others, and all the suffering comes from preoccupation with yourself.”

Shantideva

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