Finished? Are you able to complete the 20? If not, you can exchange paper with your partner and find out if there are things you can copyÂ which for you should be part of your happiness list.
Now, from your list, I want you to encircle those that you can do on your own. Find those things that do not require a partner or other people for you to be able to do it.
After encircling, put a price tag for each. If to you it has no price because it does not require any amount, then put zero beside it. Now, add the total amount. How much is your happiness cost?
Mine is P100,500. That of my wife is around P20 thousand something. But there are only two things in my list which have price tags; travel and reading. Travel cost P100k and reading is P500. All the rest are zero.
Same goes with our teachers in Bohol Child Head Start. We did this during our teambuilding workshop last Thursday. Only a few from their list have price tags too. The rest were for free.
If I am not able to travel or read a book, would I still be happy? Absolutely! Because those I encircled I can do on my own and were for free, outnumbered those with a price. These included smiling, praying, silence and meditation, breathing, sharing, serving, and volunteering.
After this activity, our facilitator shared that most of us are unhappy because we focus much on the things that have price tags. Since we need to acquire, maintain, and sustain the amount necessary to get that which can make us happy, more energy is spent and Â the struggle can be tedious and draining.
We also like to put price tags on our happiness partly because we are never satisfied with what we have. And when we look at our neighbors and friends who seem to have much, we get envious and we define our own happiness based on what they have, not on who we are.
Take for instance our teachers. Those who were single were quiet worried that they did not have a love life because everyone (especially on Facebook) seems to have a partner and their posts show that they are having a life of bliss. But they had their eyes opened when our facilitator said that at 30+ years old, she is not searching because at the moment of her birth, she believes that God has made her complete and that a man in her life is only a bonus and not a necessity.
True enough, at the end of the day, our worth and level of happiness is not measured by how many things we own or how much they cost, but on the depth of our contentment and satisfaction. And what facilitates this is choosing and celebrating those that are available and free.
So, choose to be happy at a very low cost. You can look at the stars tonight, marvel at the mountains and the seas, hold hands with your love one, play with your children, worship your God, do gardening, run, sing, dance, etc. And believe me, this will bring more health and wealth, and of course happiness in your life. (By Kit Nemenzo Balane)