My Neighbor’s Secret to Happiness, Even After Losing His Wife and Dog
Easily Attained, But Difficult to Accept
Walking in nature, a neighbor called out to me from another trail. Keeping socially distanced, he told me about his new girlfriend.
Man, I thought, here was a senior citizen playing the dating game in the middle of a pandemic. He already met a couple of women online, but it was a librarian who piqued his interest. (Not surprised, librarians deal in books containing humanity’s deepest insights, of course they’re interesting!)
I was happy for him, especially after he lost his wife not long ago, and more recently his dog. Yet, he kept on going, kept on smiling, working out (in the park, for now) and finding romance with a dealer in books.
His vigor and confidence amazed me. I didn’t have to wonder what his secret was, he revealed it most simply:
“Nobody else is going to take care of me. I have to take care of myself.”
It seems like we spend a lot of time in life looking for people who can take care of us, to validate us, but in the end we are truly our best friend or our worst enemy.
The simple fact is, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of others. To be truly compassionate for the people around us, we must be compassionate toward ourselves.
To be kind to others, we must be kind to ourselves. You see the pattern here.
As we let go of this most challenging year, let us remember not only to treat others as we’d want to be treated, but to treat ourselves the same way.
Here’s a few ways to be more kind to yourself:
- Let yourself off the hook. Tell that beast, perfectionism, to take a hike.
- Release expectations. Everything happens for a reason, and everything that already happened is how it is. Accept and let it go.
- Do what you love, even if that means nothing for awhile. Out of stillness comes great insights and ideas for future growth.
- Trust the great cosmic force known as God knows better than you. Once you let go of trying to control everything, that higher source can flow more freely.
- Just be grateful, for the air you breathe, the people you’ve met along your journey, the magical soul that animates your existence.
If anything, you’ll reduce the suffering in the universe by one person. And in 2021, instead of worrying about a contagious virus, we can spread our own contagious happiness.