A Hundred Days to Happiness #31: Tough Times and Difficult People

Tinkerbell Crashlands

The dark and dull areas of my life enhance the parts that sparkle.

My natural reaction to my greatest failures, lousy luck and rude people was to be miserable myself. I might give up, withdraw or react with anger myself.

But somewhere along the way to growing up and growing older, I’ve gained a little perspective. It is the contrasts in life that give us its greatest joys.

Some of those contrasts may be neither good nor bad in isolation. A warm blanket hot out of the dryer feels so great on a cold winter day. Likewise, a cup of hot chocolate at the ice rink hits the spot. After mowing the lawn on a hot August day, a glass of ice tea and a cool breeze provide welcomed relief .

And it is people acting indifferently, dismissively or aggressively who enhance my appreciation of those who sparkle. I think you know who I’m talking about.

In each of our lives, there are people who make a big difference in the many lives they touch. They shine and sparkle like diamonds in the crowd. They do their best to make a positive difference where they can – with a cheerful smile, an encouraging word and just the way that they do more than what is expected of them.

They are the few who happily give more than they get. What they give is happiness.

Now, if everyone sparkled that way, the world would be unimaginably brighter, but we might not appreciate each of those special people quite the same. People going about their business looking after themselves at the expense of everyone else really help me enjoy the sparklers.

I’ve actually become grateful for people who are really rude because it’s made me appreciate others who make a positive difference in my life. It has almost reached the point that if someone cuts me off in traffic or honks for no good reason, I smile inwardly and say “thank you” to myself.

Instead of the more customary hand signals, I’ve been tempted to give angry drivers a thumbs up in appreciation, but I’ve held back, realizing that my happiness was not their original intent and not wanting to add fuel to their fury.

Your happiness exercise for today: Think of someone who sparkles in your life, and notice how much they stand out from the rest of the crowd.  You may be inspired to sparkle a bit yourself and tell them what a difference they make.


About Davidicus Wong

I am a family physician. I write a weekly newspaper column, Healthwise for the Vancouver Courier, Burnaby Now, Royal City Record and Richmond News.
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