A couple months ago my brother in law, Josh, posted this video about happiness. The everlasting question of ‘what makes you happy?’ always perplexes me so I tuned in to view another perspective.
I’ve learned over time that happiness comes from within – and always will. It is not something that can be chased and tied up. It cannot be found on a globe or bought in a store. It is conceived within you, grows by the strength of a warm heart, and is born in your smile and eyes. A truly happy person glows. They radiate such natural beauty, a beauty that Photoshop cannot match.
There are many ways we can feel happy. Perhaps a night out with friends, a new book to read, a large family gathering, a romantic date, a sincere embrace, or booking a ticket fills you with warmth. However, looking back on moments when you are consumed by utter joy and find yourself smiling wide – what were you doing?
When I recall these moments of sheer happiness I am thanking the people I love. I am telling them how much they mean to me and the influence they have on my life. I am singing their praises and cheering on their triumphs. These messages, whether in person or not, are conveyed from a grateful heart.
This is my second holiday season away from home - and no, it does not get any easier. On a day that is solely about gratitude among family and friends, it is hard not to be there returning their warm embraces, laughing around the table, sharing stories of touching memories, and enjoying leftovers the following day.
Nevertheless, I feel like I have even more to be thankful for this year. I have been blessed with a life of travel that keeps my feet wandering forward, but my body upright by my backbone of incredible family and friends. I am surrounded by people all over the world that love and support me. They encourage the journey that I am on, keep me in their prayers, and send me love from thousands of miles away. I don't know how I got this lucky.
I cherish the ridiculous iMessage group chats on my phone that make me feel as if I still live across town from my friends. I tear up whenever I think about my sister’s pregnancy. I smile whenever I say Bubby’s name because his heart is so pure. I laugh when I think of how wild games or Catchphrase can get around the family dinner table.
I can brag about my family and friends because God granted me with an amazing support circle. They run marathons, beat diseases, score promotions, ace classes, and raise intelligent children. They are my idols and luckily my mentors as well. I do not wish to follow in their footsteps, but rather make their path wider by striding alongside them, carrying the same values as my torch.
They are fiercely loyal - a quality in people that has fallen to the wayside. Whether I am towns or continents apart, they unfailingly hold my hand. They know exactly when to push me, encouraging me to excel, and when to fall silent, allowing me to force my path.
So I thank all the souls who have loved me, fought for me, pushed me, broke me, healed me, and supported me – I wouldn’t be the woman I have evolved into today if it weren't for all of you. This Thanksgiving I express absolute gratitude. I am eternally humbled by the kindness shown to me through the selfless acts of friends and family. With all my heart, thank you.
So let us all take the time, not just on Thanksgiving but every day, to tell the ones we love just how much we do. Tell them you are grateful for their unconditional love. Tell them you are thankful for their support. Tell them your heart misses them. Tell them that you care. There is no shame in honest confessions.
We must pass on their light by sharing with others how special these souls are. Reveal their story and praise their achievements. You will be surprised by how happiness will surge through you from explaining how great your loved ones are.