I was surprised to read yesterday that viewership of the Hallmark Channel is up 9% this year, which does not include Christmas when viewership is WAY up due to those great (yes, I love them) Hallmark Christmas movies.
It got me thinking that people must just want to feel better.
I wonder if drug and alcohol usage is up? Or if people are eating more? Or exercising more? Or doing whatever they can to feel better?
For most people this has been a tough year. The vast majority of employees in this country want to be working elsewhere. Politically, as a country we appear divided. (I’m not sure we really are but I keep reading and hearing that we are even though almost all of us want the same things in life.) There have been moments when it felt like we were on the brink of WW III, no one seems to be posting any of those great cat photos on Facebook any more, and fights seem to be breaking out daily on Twitter and Instagram.
Lately I keep seeing anti-hate groups fighting against hate groups which makes me think there’s way too much hate going around.
And, now, with the breaking news that viewership is up at the Hallmark Channel, well, it makes me think that the one thing most of us have in common no matter what else is going on in the world is that we just want to be happy.
I used to think that there was a road somewhere that led to happiness, but my spiritual journey has led me to believe that Abraham Lincoln was right — most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
I think what it comes down to is this: we all have been given the gift of choice.
We can choose to stay in a crappy job because we delude ourselves into thinking it provides us security.
We can choose to start each day listening to the War of the Pundits on TV discussing their perception of the latest happenings in the world.
We can choose to numb ourselves by watching more Hallmark TV, or eating more, or drinking or smoking or pill-popping more.
Or we can choose to be happy.
Even though as a Certified Financial Planner® professional I need to stay up on the latest happenings in the world, I watch far less news than I used to. None of it seems to be good news, and most of it is irrelevant within a week or two. Frankly, the only result of watching the news is it raises my blood pressure.
And thanks to technology, if anything major is happening, I get this little beep on my Apple Watch or iPhone. There are days I’d like to turn those off too, but I do want to stay informed, just in case the nukes start flying and I want to search out one more cat picture on Facebook before the end of life as we know it occurs.
But until that day, I intend to be happy. And I believe that you want to be happy too.
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971), an American theologian, is credited with composing what is best known as the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.” For me, whenever I read this I always feel a little bit happier.
There are things happening all around us that we cannot change. And there are things we can do to effect change when we feel called to do so. As for wisdom, you have far more than you think and I have great faith that you will always be able to “know the difference.”
Keep in mind that life is short. We all owe it to ourselves and others to bring as much happiness into the world as we can.
Change the things that are making you unhappy. Whether it’s escaping from your crappy job, or turning off the news, or refusing to participate in political arguments, you can choose.
So let’s all vow today to be happy from this moment forward.
Or, I guess we could join the Hallmark movement, but I have a feeling you already know many better ways to feel happier in your life. (Nothing personal Hallmark.)
So decide right now to be happy. And don’t hesitate to spread that around. It’s contagious you know, and the world needs a dose of the happiness disease, don’t you think?