November 24 – The joy of happy people

November 24. “You seldom come across anything more enjoyable than a happy person.” (Frank A. Clark)

I love being around happy, positive, upbeat people. Don’t we all? When I am around happy people, I feel happier. I find that when I am surrounded by people who have a positive outlook on life, my outlook improves. Even if I am already in a positive place, being around other positive people is a boost.

When I was teaching the Dale Carnegie class, one of the things I loved most was the positive energy of the room. For four hours, once a week, I was immersed among 20, 30 or 40 people who were all looking to make positive moves in their lives. Even when some of the topics were difficult, the mood in the room generally remained upbeat.

I am not saying that I want to be around Pollyannas. There are some people who seem always to be in a positive place in their lives, and it comes off as fake. They may mask, or outright hide their true feelings. They might bury their worries and issues rather than deal with them and move forward. These are not the kind of people I am talking about. I am talking about people who are genuine with their feelings, who acknowledge their difficulties, shortcomings and issues, but then choose to take a positive outlook on their lives. They don’t do this in spite of the issues, they do so with full acknowledgement of them.

Today I had occasion to be at a doctor’s office with my daughter. She injured her ankle and needed a ride to the doctor for an evaluation. While I was there I had an opportunity to do some people watching. We sat off in a corner of the waiting room, so I had a good view. In the space of about 10 minutes, I saw two different pair of people come in. One pair looked to be a mother and daughter. The mother looked to be in her upper 60s, and the daughter in her 40s. The mother had a cast on her leg, and judging by the number of signatures, it had been there a while. I don’t know what may have been happening in their lives, and I certainly don’t stand in judgment. What I saw were two people who seemed very down on life. They had dour, frowning looks on their faces. I didn’t hear their conversation, but their tone was stern, or even a bit angry.

Not long after they arrived another couple came in. This looked to be a married couple in their 70s. The wife had on a cast, and was using one of those knee scooters to get around. She arrived with a smile, and as they sat and waited their turn to see the doctor, this couple exchanged many smiles and shared a private laugh or two.

In that brief time I saw two women, both with broken legs, who appeared to have opposite attitudes about life. Again, I have no idea what either pair’s story might be, I can only speak to how their energy had an effect on me. When the first pair arrived, my mood darkened just a bit. When the second came in, I found myself smiling again.

Happy people are indeed enjoyable people to be around. And I know from past reflections that happiness is a choice. A person can choose to be about as happy or unhappy as they like. And when they choose happiness, it radiates from them like a beacon in the night.

Today my reflection is on how strong my happiness beacon might be. Do I often enough shine that light out to others? Or do I let the cares of the world impinge on me and make the choice to be unhappy?

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