I can be as guilty as the next person when it comes to getting annoyed by petty things. Let’s face it, being human and living in America, we can be a little spoiled. It’s easy to focus on small things that don’t matter, forgetting to step back and view the greater picture. It ends up, how to be happier is much simpler than you think.
This was made very clear to me one day when I was sitting in the front yard of our home with my two year old granddaughter Alyssa Mae. We lived in the most beautiful area with our small house situated on top of a hill and completely surrounded by trees, so much so that you couldn’t see any other houses or even the road below. It was a truly magical spot.
As Alyssa and I sat there enjoying nature and the peacefulness of the day I began to feel a low thumping in my chest. What caused it slowly grew louder until I realized that someone was driving down the street below us and had their windows open. They were blaring rap music so loud I’m pretty sure their own eardrums had long since disintegrated. I was immediately pulled out of my peaceful state, and thrown into anger… “How dare someone ruin my peaceful time with my granddaughter! What kind of jerk has such little concern for everyone else around them? People are so stinking rude…”
As my brain took a breath in it’s tirade against this horrible injustice I glanced over at Alyssa. She was sitting there with her little legs dangling over the edge of the lawn chair swaying back and forth joyfully in time with the music. It brought me up short.
The car was gone in a minute along with the beat and Alyssa stopped swaying as if nothing unusual had happened. But the lesson in that tiny moment stuck with me. Now, whenever I find myself getting upset at small things, that vision of Alyssa pops into my head and I’m reminded to step back and choose to view things differently.
Big lessons can come in small packages and that little girl reminded me that perspective is a choice. We just need to retrain ourselves to look at things differently and be more aware of this miraculous world we live in and of the wonderful things we do have. I promise you that there is not a more powerful tool that allows you to live a joyful, peaceful life. By practicing it you just might be the perspective that someone else needs.
This topic was humorously and effectively illustrated by comedian Louise C.K. when he visited Conan on the The Late Show one night.