Do you have people in your life that bring you joy? They walk through the door and you know before they’ve even arrived that they are going to brighten your day?

We talk lots at the Happynesshub about ‘finding your happy’ – things that lift your spirits, warm your heart, give you happiness. We’ve talked less about those who do.

Not all of us are lucky enough to have an abundance of people around us like this.  I find they are rare and special breeds, treasures to be cherished, people to be regularly grateful for in our diaries and journals.

Mariana is one of those precious gems. She’s a very special human being – a giver in life, a person who always makes you smile, someone with an abundance of wisdom, who finds the time to share it. Part of it, I think, is genetic: it’s commonly accepted now that our genes play a large role in our optimism levels and how we approach life. But with Mariana it is more than that – we chat about her childhood: growing up in Romania with lots of siblings and a very strong mother. Always sharing, giving, caring. And that attitude continues to this day. When Mariana is visiting I know if she finds me sad, she will make me less so. If she finds me happy, there will be lots more laughter to come.

If someone’s in need Mariana goes out of her way to help them – and she does it with ease and a smile, wanting nothing in return. It’s just who she is. And unlike many wonderful ‘givers’, Mariana sensibly knows her boundaries. She makes clear and confident decisions, she looks after herself, and most importantly of all (I think for real happiness) she is completely comfortable in her own shoes.

“The moment will arrive when you are comfortable with who you are, and what you are – bald or old or fat or poor, successful or struggling – when you don’t feel the need to apologize for anything or to deny anything. To be comfortable in your own skin is the beginning of strength.” 
Charles Handy

Mariana happens too to be a carer. She could have been many things, but she chose this profession because she knows herself and she knows this makes her happy. It’s tough at times, I can only imagine how much so – but Mariana sees the best in life, the best in everyone. It’s like she’s the ‘walking talking 21-Days’ all in one package!

And happiness spreads happiness. When she bounces through the door (she sometimes reminds me of my adorable Archie – and that’s a big compliment by the way!) I know there will be laughter. And that laughter will spread, throughout the house, the office, the world. The gift of giving.

Interestingly, a study by Professors Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler, which looked into social networks of over 5000 people, found that a person’s proximity to happy people could make them happy too! The study says that if you have a friend who lives within a mile, and they become happy, this increases the probability of you being happy by 25%. In short, happiness can depend on the happiness levels of the people you surround yourself with. (Mariana is less than a mile way, yippee!)

We are all different, and that is what makes the world so magical. Every person has something to give, and for me every connection from a smile in the street, to a conversation at the coffee counter enriches my life. Yet the ‘Mariana’s’ are a rare breed, and a breed that I personally am so grateful for. I once wrote ‘everyone needs a Christine’. Everyone needs a Mariana too!