This morning, I was thinking about how when we all make our thankful lists on Thursdays, we are often mentioning small things that bring us joy.
And that got me thinking about how being easily pleased (or maybe “easily delighted”) is kind of a super power, largely because it vastly improves the chances that you can be pleased on an everyday basis!
If you are only delighted when you eat at an upscale restaurant, you will be delighted pretty infrequently.
But if you can be delighted with some homemade soup and bread, you can be delighted nearly as often as you like.
If you are only happy when you get to go on a brand-new outdoor adventure, you will only get to have that happiness here and there.
But if you can stop and notice the beauty when you walk on your neighborhood streets, or you pay attention to the way that the seasons make your local walking route change, then you can find happiness right outside your front door.
Some small pleasures that came to mind for me are:
- the sun on my face at any time of year
- a cup of coffee at home
- the delicious feeling of a cozy hoodie
- small beauties in nature, all year round (ice, snow, spring buds, flowers, fall colors)
- the luxury of sliding into fresh, clean sheets after I wash them and remake my bed
- the wonderful sensation of falling asleep at the end of a long day (I really like going to bed, if you couldn’t tell!)
- the smell of homemade bread (sometimes I break open a fresh homemade roll and sniff it. So good!)
- a grilled cheese sandwich (ok, most sandwiches, honestly)
- the smell of outdoor air, especially in the spring
- the sound of my girls’ laughter and giggles
- the smell of a fresh bar of soap, especially the handmade ones that organic stores sell
- the joy that I get from helping someone
All of these things are either free or nearly free and they don’t require a lot of time, which means I can experience these happinesses on a near-daily basis.
And that’s why I think this is a superpower. 🙂
You can practice this!
I suppose there are some people for whom this comes more naturally, but I really think that with practice, most of us can become more easily delighted.
And I think we can mainly accomplish this by growing in our capacity to see and appreciate small things. In my experience, the more I keep an eye out for little joys, the more I find those little joys.
A few ideas that might help you in this practice:
- keep a journal with a tiny entry each day, listing a small pleasure or two
- take photos! This single practice has made a huge difference for me; I see the world differently than I did before I got into the habit of taking photos
- use your social media/texting to share small joys; I find that little delights are even more delightful when I share them with others
- communicate appreciation to others when they have been the source of a small joy in your life (“I love your style!” “Your laugh is infectious.” “You crack me up.” “The cookies you made are SO GOOD.”)
I am sure that many of you are experts at this, so:
What practices help you to be easily pleased?
P.S. I think it should probably go without saying, but: there are senses in which being too easily pleased is a problem. For instance, if you are pleased with a terrible boss who is merely less toxic than the one you had before, that’s a lapse in judgment.
Or if you have a spouse who never helps out and then you are are over the moon if that spouse pitches in and does 5% of the work, that’s just you having standards that are too low.
Anyway. That’s not what I’m talking about in this post!