Ways to Be Happy With Everything

“I ain’t got nothin’. Just look at me. Sittin’ here at a homeless shelter, but I have the whole world, baby. I ain’t goin’ hungry tonight. I’m happy.” – A homeless man at Presbyterian Night Shelter in Fort Worth, Texas.

Some people are happy with everything, yet others are never happy. Have you ever noticed that some people who seem to have it all and should be happy, are living miserable lives? As an example, the homeless man I interviewed in the quote above, was grateful for the meal he had been served and he was happy. He told me he was happy to not be hungry. It was such a simple thing that most of us, as Americans, take for granted every single day, yet many people here in the United States, are starving.

As a College Professor, I taught my students Service Learning in Psychology. One of the main goals for many semesters was to help them understand the psychological impact of what it was like to be homeless and hungry. What they learned was so much more. During our service work and interviews with residents at three different homeless shelters, we all learned there are many ways to be happy, even when others may view you as being miserable. The following is what we learned about ways to be happy:

1. Be grateful for what you have. It could always be worse. I have never been without a meal, but met people who had been hungry for days. When I interviewed the homeless man and he told me he was happy because he was not hungry that night, I was dumbfounded. Here he was, in shabby clothes, looking like my grandfather could have looked if he had been working out in the fields, yet he was just happy and thankful to be full and not hungry. The gentleman told me he was always grateful for what he has. We repeatedly heard these stories from many of the residents, “Be grateful for what you have.”

2. Learn to appreciate the beautiful things in life. Have you ever stopped to listen to the birds sing, the rustling of leaves on trees as they blow in the breeze, observed a gorgeous sunset as it fades in the west, or smelled the fragrances of a freshly picked bouquet of flowers? None of these beauteous things cost one penny. Do you stop and take a moment out of your day to find this happiness?

3. Give value to the important people in your life. In our hectic world, we become so busy with day-to-day activities and responsibilities that we forget to place value on what matters the most. In each person’s life, value must be demonstrated to the person or people who matter to you. Perhaps these are family members, a close friend or several friends, colleagues at work or in school, neighbors, mentors, or others. Nothing lets a person realize they are appreciated, loved, and important to you more than for you to tell them they make you happy and that they are valued.

4. Never give up on hope. Hope seemed to be the number one “unseen” factor for happiness. Some hoped for a job, others hoped to find their families, while some people just hoped for brighter tomorrows. We could all learn lessons from this. When one loses all sight of hope, they have lost it all. Without hope, we have nothing.

As a believer of people and after these experiences, I realized once again how deeply blessed my life is. Some of these people changed me forever because of their positive outlooks on life and their expressions of knowing how to be happy with everything. Would you have the same optimistic outlook on life if all you had was a pillowcase crammed full with all of your possessions, and that was it?

©Copyright — Gayle Joplin Hall, PhD.  All rights reserved worldwide.  None of this material may be downloaded or reproduced without written permission from the author.

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  1. hi

    • Dr. Gayle J. Hall says

      To Crimit: Not sure what to say when all you said was, “Hi” to a blog post. Peace to you.

  2. Dr. Gayle J. Hall says

    Working at the homeless shelters in Fort Worth, Texas, was an amazing experience each and every time. I saw the same faces who greeted me with hugs, and then other times, there were many new faces who needed those hugs. I am just a “hugger.” What can I say?

    My students learned so much, I learned so much, with the homeless society becoming our teachers. If you want to learn “Ways to Be Happy With Everything” like my blog article states, then speak with a person who has no material things, but says he or she has it all. Then, come to me and tell me you have “nothing to be happy about.”

    If you feel you have nothing in your life to be happy about, please consider using my professional services so that I can guide you to find your purpose in life. Just read and then click all of the links in the navigation bars at the top of my home or “landing” page on my website.

    What ways can you think of to be happy with everything? How do you try to be happy with things, even when you are not? How would you handle life if you were to be homeless one day? Would you have the same optimistic outlook on life that most of the homeless people in the shelters did? Honestly? Please leave your comments and share with others so we can get a blog going and flowing.

    Blessings always.

    Shining my love your way, Dr. Gayle J. Hall.