Watching a romantic movie just makes you sigh in sweet hope or satisfaction. The high we get from these making us feel all fluttery or expectant leads us to longing for those amazing feelings. The surprises, the sweet embraces, the loving words and the dream of having someone by your side, all joys from having feelings towards someone, make us feel warm and as if all can be okay.
Sometime ago I was reflecting on how movies and shows make us think that the standard of love is constant extasis. The woman always looks amazing, the man always has the right words. Together they overcome because their love is stronger than anything they face. Even companies persuade us that having that thing makes life so much easier and the thought makes our smiling muscles automatically go upwards. The job we dreamed of makes waking up early not a problem, and our sweet family always behaves in public. Aah, the lies we are fed.
My goal today is not to burst your bubble but to bring perspective that will help you hold the happiness in your life. Marriage isn’t like what you would see in the movie the Notebook and passion for work might not be as fulfilling as we see in President Jed Bartlet from the West Wing. That is because what we are getting from the media is a glimpse in a life with unrealistic expectations, and not the whole process people go through to have a successful relationship, career, family, you name it. The smiles and love we see are the fruit of something else. That might be late nights studying, communication, trust, networking, etc., but many times, it doesn’t come on its own. We have a say in our happiness.
In the life of regular people, there are many pockets of happiness, waiting to be uncovered. They may be as simple as a sunset or a piece of chocolate, to as weighty as a family reunion or recognition at work. It isn’t always guaranteed but it is can be an easy thing to find. There are seeds that we have already put into the ground in the form of work and planning. We just have to know where to look for the flowers and appreciate each one of them as they are.
I had heard that “the key to happiness is low expectations.” The lower our standards are, the easier it is to meet them. I’m not one to settle for anything, but take a minute to think about this. If I am going out with friends, hoping to have an amazing meal, great pictures, and very funny jokes, I will probably come home frustrated because the possibility of all of that happening isn’t fully in my hands. Even if it was, something else could go wrong. Yet if I leave my home focused more on what’s important, which is spending time with my friends, it doesn’t matter what we do, I will be happy because we are together.
Putting in the time in a relationship, in the family, in a calling, will bring us fruits that will be sweet to our lips and make us happy. Recognizing what is truly valuable to us and only looking for it in its purest form, will help us be satisfied more often. Being aware of what we are feeling and desiring can clear our vision for what we truly want, and we can feel free to go after it. The time reflecting on our life is the price we pay for our own smile.