During a recent visit to speak for a group at Rough Creek Lodge and Resort in Texas, a woman spoke to me as we passed. “This place is amazing…except for the humidity!”
She put a condition on amazing which really translated “not quite amazing.”
She could have stopped at “this place is amazing.”
She did what I too often as well: she qualified her happiness and qualified happiness is happiness diminished.
Rough Creek Lodge is the kind of place where the humidity is far outweighed by the facilities, the hunting and fishing and shooting, the food and service. But it is easy to focus on the tiny ant of annoyance instead of the overwhelming amazing.
A manager speaks of a team member: “She does an exceptional job. I just wish she didn’t talk about her kids so much.” Why not focus on the exceptional work and not bring up the children chatter?
I recently heard this dialogue: “How are you doing?” “Pretty good but it is only Tuesday.” I guess the respondent thought there was a chance the rest of the week would suck.
Or “I’ll be happy once I leave for vacation.” Some parse it more specifically. “I’ll be happy once I am lying on the beach with a cocktail in my hand.” (Which precludes the chance of enjoying the journey to the beach.)
I never advocate denying reality: humidity is uncomfortable, too much chat can be annoying and sometimes getting to a vacation destination is challenging. But we can understand that without being reminded by the happiness qualifiers.
Think about the ways you qualify and–intentionally or not–diminish happiness.
Here’s the challenge: next time you speak of something good, positive–something that makes you happy–don’t qualify it. Just say, “This place/person/event is amazing.”
Accept and enjoy the good without diminishing it and you will live a life of unqualified happiness.