The Alphabet of Happiness: F

I hope you found yesterday’s post regarding Exercise and Environment to be helpful. If you just joined this journey, be sure to take the time to go back and read from the beginning. Without delay, let’s get to it and discuss the letter “F”.

Forgiveness and Flexibility


One of the first phrases that most likely comes to mind is, “Forgive and Forget.”Let me be perfectly clear, that is not what I’m talking about. I’m not suggesting you forget anything as I don’t believe that has anything to do with forgiveness. So, be rest assured we’re talking about something else altogether. Let’s move forward.

Often times when we refer to the word “forgiveness,” we are referring to the action of how we treat another individual. And in fact, forgiving someone means to stop feeling anger towards or to stop blaming another individual. But, have you ever considered treating yourself with forgiveness?

There is a saying that states, “You are your own worst enemy.” It is so true. You treat yourself more harshly than anyone else ever would. You can’t possibly feel any happiness when you are “beating yourself up” about things. We all make mistakes. We all make poor choices. We all have things in our life that we regret doing. But none of this needs to prevent you from being happy.

forgivenessForgive yourself like you would forgive someone else. Think about your best friend who has just wronged you in some way. The two of you have been friends for a very long time. You adore this person. Even though you are upset with them, you will forgive them because your relationship means so much to you.

Well, you have to think about yourself as the friend in the above example. You are just as important and just as worthy of forgiveness as your best friend. Forgive yourself for the things you say and do that aren’t in your best interest. Be kind and tender. Be loving and sympathetic. Allow yourself to take a step backward, knowing you will be able to move forward again. If you are able to treat yourself with forgiveness, you will be a much happier individual.


When I think of flexibility, I laughingly conjure up the image of Gumby and Pokey. They are rubber, bendable, and flexible characters from a popular television series. I remember spending hours playing with these toys. They are the consummate definition of flexibility. But, I’m not referring to your body’s ability to move and stretch. We’re talking about being flexible with yourself.

Too often we find ourselves and our lives dictated by a tight schedule, high expectations, and countless rules that we have assigned to ourselves. How many of these actually ruin your day and your mood rather than improving it? I’m guessing most of them.

What if you learn to be more flexible? Consider this example. You need to make a trip to another city for an appointment. You have been given the address. You have been given a map. Your car is fueled up and you’re ready to go. Your journey is expected to take you an hour.

You’re listening to music and enjoying the scenery. You look at your clock and note that you are right on time. You continue joyously down the road as you hum to the music. Suddenly, the traffic ahead of you begins to slow down. The traffic becomes congested and before you know it you’re at a standstill. There is an accident many miles ahead and traffic is being detoured. At this moment, you look at the clock and realize you may not reach your destination on time.

If you stay on your current route, you will remain stopped in traffic until the accident is cleared. Once this happens, you will travel quickly once again. However, you don’t have any idea when the accident will clear. If you take the detour route, you will be able to advance forward right now, but it will take you extra miles and more time. You only have these two choices available. Which one do you choose?

In your life, you encounter many situations of which you have no control (like the accident). You can be angry, upset, frustrated and even complain. However, none of this helps your current situation. It only contributes to your feelings of unhappiness and anxiety.

What if, instead, you learn to be more flexible. Consider how much easier it would be to go about living. Consider how much happier you would be. Be the driver and take the detour. Life is so much easier and more enjoyable when you can enjoy the scenery.

As we continue this journey together, I encourage you to keep reading. If you have yet to find your own how or why to happiness, I strongly believe you will. Please come back tomorrow as we explore the letter “G”.


4 thoughts on “The Alphabet of Happiness: F

  1. You are just as important and just as worthy of forgiveness as your best friend. This really resonated with me.

    As for flexibility, your words reminded me of the time I headed to Alicante airport for a trip to the UK. My clock at home was on UK time and I was horribly late. I set up the sat nav to take me to the car park so that I wouldn’t have to think too much – just follow her voice. Lots of her directions didn’t make sense so I continued on the motorway. Why would I turn off?

    Long story short I followed her into the countryside… I looked at the clock on my dashboard and realised that I didn’t have much time to get to the airport. I stopped and breathed, looked at the sat nav and decided to follow my intuition. In stopping I realised that my new strategy might not get me to the airport in time, however, there was always another flight. Just be flexible and everything will be ok.

    I headed off, found the car park with 15 minutes to take off. Stayed calm. At the airport and there is a happy ending… the plane has been delayed and I had over an hour to chill.


  2. Self forgiveness is hugely important. In her book Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers says that when we look back, one thing to accept is that we were doing the best we could at the time, even if that meant we were acting in a way we knew full well was non-optimal.
    Forgiveness for ourselves allows us to take reponsibility and lessons.
    Nice post!
    Cheers, Gordon


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