Happiness! In the United States, we have the Constitutional right to pursue happiness although no one can guarantee that we will find and keep it.
Ask ten people what they want in life, and several will most likely say, “I just want to be happy.” Follow that with the question, “What does happiness look like to you?” or “How will you know when you are happy?” and you may get a deer in the headlights look and a response akin to “I’ll just know.”
Charles Schulz wrote a book in the ’60s titled, “Happiness is a Warm Puppy” that featured that loveable little Beagle, Snoopy, with all his wit and witticisms that made us laugh and wish we could have a pet like that.
So what about it? IS happiness a warm puppy?
Happiness to me is a habit of thought and emotion that creates a feeling of well being within me that is not shaken by external circumstances. It may rain, the car may not start, your best friend leaves, the bank account might be near zero and—well, you get the idea. The core of you knows that everything will be o.k. The feeling of well-being remains despite negative circumstances.
I used to believe that happiness happened to me and that if I could get the right people, things, and finances in the proper amounts, happiness would follow. It is true that I had periods of feeling great. But keeping the right people, things, and finances in the right balance presented a challenge that kept me a little off center. If I lost any one of these things, then what?
My own happiness
When I finally understood that I create my own happiness and it has to do with the “inner” me—what I think, how I react, what I believe, how I love and how I trust and that I have control over these things my life began to change. I’m definitely still a work in progress. I have to be diligent about keeping my thoughts positive, my heart open to loving and being loved (not always an easy feat). I need to direct my emotions toward happiness. (Yes, I still get angry, I even overreact at times and jump to conclusions—as I said, I’m still a work in progress.. Slowly I’m beginning to notice a change within me that isn’t shaken if the proverbial wind blows and the storm hits.
Now—how about that warm puppy idea?
I have a warm puppy named Smarty who is now almost six years old. He is the puppy in the picture, and to me, he is still a puppy. But I remember when he was just a few months old.
Smarty chewed everything he could find to chew. He could run by the trash can and without pause, grab something and get to the living room couch with it before anyone else could react. To say that he had bad manners is an understatement. “No” was a word with absolutely no meaning for him. The point? He was a free spirit who knew what he wanted. And he went after it.
And later, more grown up
Smarty is completely sure that:
- there will be food in his dish,
- fresh clean water always available,
- toys that are just his,
- plenty of time for a nap on his soft bed
- and a lap whenever he needs one.
He isn’t afraid that if he loves me, he will be hurt. Smarty just loves me, and it shows in everything he does. He follows me everywhere I go, gives me slurpy kisses, and sleeps on my feet when I sit at the computer, so he knows I’m close. When he wants to play he brings his toys and drops them in my lap. He eats when he’s hungry and sleeps when he’s tired. If he needs something, he has a way of letting me know. He always seems happy and, in fact, he seems to smile. Really!
Smarty trusts, loves, relaxes and is what he is. He’s a grown dog but still my puppy—A warm puppy, that is. And I would guess that he’s a happy one.
I’m learning a lot about happiness from him, and perhaps happiness is, indeed, a warm puppy. At least it’s a start.
If you have no experience with loving and being loved by a warm puppy or even an older dog, now is a good time to get some. Happiness may be just around the corner—perhaps in a kennel.