“I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles; it’s totally sad. Their smiling faces just point out your inability to enjoy anything.”
This famous line by Paul Rudd in the movie Knocked Up, as he watched his kids play happily with the bubbles. It shows a highly relatable stage in life where we seem to have more entertainment options than ever but a far smaller capacity for joy.
But a theologian once said, “A real Christian shouldn’t be like that.” He was right. Let’s look at six things that can be done to increase our happiness;
Completely be in God’s Family
One of the reasons the children in the movie were so happy is because they were completely secure and contented to be in a family that gave them everything they needed.
We are also in a similar family. God’s family- through the sacraments, which can also be a source of the greatest joy available. Make Mass a real encounter with the living God who adopted you, make confession a place where your pains and sores become entry points of God’s renewing grace, and make your marriage such that Jesus Christ dwells with you and happiness will come.
Talk to God
As we grow older, we continue to lose our ability to wonder and be surprised; that’s why children who still have this ability are easily delighted. However, the Holy Father is an endless source of wonder, surprise, and joy.
Prayer is vital if we want to be happy. You can’t benefit from what God offers if you don’t know him and talk to him. This is why you have to pray to God daily so that you can see the world from his eyes, and the more you do that, the more amazing it will be.
Be a Source of Joy to Other
Children may enjoy being alone, but they feed off each other’s happiness and are gladdened by their company. So they may enjoy bubbles alone, but they enjoy the bubbles better when they aren’t alone. As adults, we can also feed off or benefit from the happiness of those around us. We have to make the extra effort.
The way to get there will be to serve, help, compliment, and assist others in whatever we can. We should try our best to put a smile on the faces instead of criticizing, judging, or analyzing them. Our happiness will follow theirs.
Find Happiness in Every Situation
There are so many situations that we may find ourselves that would have our joy in a chokehold. To find joy in these situations, we can play ‘the glad game’ like Pollyanna from the book Pollyanna. She tells herself, “there is something about everything that you can be glad about if you keep hunting long enough to find it.” Although Pollyannas are people who whitewash uncomfortable truths they do not want to face, Pollyanna did not do anything remotely similar to that.
Finding a reason to be happy even though there are no bubbles in the yard can actually be a fun habit. Spending time searching for something joyous in an overall bad situation tends to distract you from the problem at hand or lack of bubbles in the yard. Pollyanna says, “When you’re hunting for the glad things, you sort of forget the other kind.”
It is a great habit to get into: Trouble at work is terrible, but helps you appreciate what goes right; your new blender breaking is bad, but reminds you not to look to material things for joy; a ruined plan is terrible, but find out what’s good in Plan B.
Walking around carrying the weight of unforgiveness or holding grudges is sure to dampen one’s joy which is why it is easy for children to be so joyous, for they do not have this burden.
Carrying around past hurt or refusing to forgive people can weigh us down like an anchor, preventing us from enjoying the bubbles in the yard. When we practice Forgiveness, we will be filled with great joy. Even if we may feel like we shouldn’t forgive some people, but when we do, we rid ourselves of the burden of unforgiveness.
Ask for Joy
This may seem like the easiest of all the others, but we sometimes forget it. God wants us to be happy, and he is ready to tell us how and where to find it. All we have to do is ask him, and we might be surprised.