Many years ago, I was enlightened by hearing dr Stephen Covey say ‘love is a verb’. Love is something you do. This was an utterly alien notion to me at the time, but I was willing to give it a go. Being desillusioned by the fairy-tale concept of love that makes great movies but awful lives, and with my marriage on a slope, I committed myself to little acts of love on a daily basis. Thinking of my husband in a loving way, waking him with a cup of coffee and a newspaper, sending him an e-card at work, cooking a meal he loves. These simple actions have changed my perspective on marital bliss a 180 degrees. By loving each other and by extending that love, we have created a strong and lasting love. Our life together is not hollywood material, but our love is the stable background to everything else that goes on in our lives.
The same is true for happiness. Happiness is something you do. Being miserable, and with my life on the line, I decided I’d better find happiness in my life and be grateful for it, soon. At the end of every day, I would write down 5 things I was grateful for, and at least two of them had to be about me. At first, it was so hard. All day long I would be in alert mode, scanning my surroundings for something I could be grateful for. As with everything, finding happiness in my own life got easier with practice. Looking at my life differently, I learned to find happiness in the smallest of things, birds singing, clean sheets, a stranger’s kindness, the sparkle in my eyes, the flexibility of my mind. Nowadays, I only write the list now and then to remind myself of its purpose. It’s a simple list, but it has turned around my perspective on life. By bringing happiness, gratitude and awe to everything I do, I have created an eternal source of happiness in my life. Make no mistake, I have my off days, but happiness is always within hand’s reach.