I believe the key to being happy and healthy is having a loving attitude. Every truly happy person I know is a loving person. They are thoughtful, considerate and kind in their words and actions. They are humble in victory and gracious in defeat. And when tested by life and other people, they respond with love. Very few people are born with this skill. They cultivate it over time so it becomes a part of who they are.
I thought I was a positive and loving person until I met someone who truly was. I was considerate and kind to my friends. I was polite and engaging when I met new people. And I approached new experiences with a fairly open mind. I soon learned that my seemingly positive approach was conditional. If people did not respond to my acts of kindness the same way, I judged them or reacted negatively. If someone asked me to consider a different idea or experience from the one I had in mind, I didn’t always give it much of a chance. My behavior was the opposite of love and openness. I would have continued life this way if I hadn’t met a friend who approached each person and every situation with love.
My friend Sharon is so kind and loving. She teaches an incredible cycling class for our community. It’s a challenging workout. The way she encourages new people to take on the challenge is remarkable. They go beyond what they thought was possible. And for advanced riders, she pushes them to the next level by motivating them with her soft, determined cadence that makes you want to ride harder. Occasionally someone will resist the support. This doesn’t effect how Sharon treats them. She thanks them for training with her and giving the class a try. And she congratulates them on finishing even though it was difficult. Sharon is amazing.
Watching Sharon at the gym and in life, has helped me elevate my game. A few years ago, I was training with a group of friends. Another gym member, not with our group, began using the same equipment without asking if they could share. I made several attempts to share with him. He refused and made rude remarks to me and our group. I reacted and we started arguing. I allowed myself to engage in negative behavior which impacted everyone’s workout.
Five years later I was at the gym with another group training. The same thing happened. Someone began using the equipment we were on. I asked him if we could share. He said, “No, you can’t.” He then pushed me and made negative remarks. This time I walked away. My group and I finished the workout in a different part of the gym. My response was one of love and gratitude. Because I love the group of friends I was with, I chose to preserve the fun spirit of our workout by not getting into an argument. We continued and had an awesome session. And I was grateful for the opportunity to respond with love when confronted with a potentially negative situation.
I have learned that love is the key to happiness. Choose to see love and goodness in everyone and everything. This is how I live my life now. John Lennon said it best. “Love is the answer. What was the question?” Love is always the answer no matter what the question is.