Take Your Medicine
When my boys were young and they were sick, they would get a dose of medicine. It was typically some type of pain relief or cough suppressant that came in grape, cherry, or bubble gum flavor. It wasn’t hard for them to have the one or two teaspoons recommended.
But occasionally, there would be some prescription they had to have that wasn’t able to be flavored. They would reluctantly and dutifully take the prescribed amount and immediately suck their face up into a ball. It was like a black hole formed right where their nose used to be.
Despite the distaste, they still took their medicine. Most of us take our medicine even when we don’t like it. Why? Because we know the value of it. If only we were that good at taking a dose of happiness, because it’s something that has as much value as seeing a winter wonderland.
Dirty Snow or Pristine Winter Wonderland
A few years ago my kids were complaining about this and that, all the while missing the bounty they enjoyed. It was not uncommon for them to spend an entire car ride complaining about how bad a video game was not realizing how lucky they were to have video games and how many options they had. On one particular snow-covered trip I decided to show them the wonder they were missing.
“Look out there! Look at that field covered in beautiful snow!” The car became silent. “Of course if you look over there you see the dirty snow from the plows. You know, you really can’t look at both. You can either look that way at the dirty snow, or that way at the beautiful, unmarked snow. They’re both there, regardless of which one you look at. It’s just a question of which you would rather see.”
As I explained to my kids that day there will always be things to complain about. Just as there will always be things to be thankful for. But while we are complaining, we can’t enjoy the things we are thankful for, and while we are enjoying our blessings, it’s really hard to complain.
It also helps us see opportunities we would have missed because we are looking at possibilities instead of problems. It gives us strength to make it through challenging times, and with an attitude that can often make the situation seem enjoyable instead of difficult.
We need a dose of happiness each day. We need to focus on the positive. We need to enjoy life. We don’t have a problem taking medicine because we know it can make us better. We need to feel the same way about our dose of happiness. And with happiness, there is no bitter aftertaste.