Are you happy?
Am I happy?
What makes you happy? What makes me happy?
What is this thing we call happiness?
- the state of being happy.“she struggled to find happiness in her life”
That’s what the dictionary says. It is still a little bit wishy washy isn’t it? A state of being happy? What is happy?
- feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.“Melissa came in looking happy and excited”
So based on that definition if I (or Melissa) walk into a room laughing because my baby did something cute or I heard a joke then it is assumed I am happy?
That assumption would be incorrect. Maybe I (or Melissa) was just retrenched or maybe the car just broke and there is no spare money to fix it or maybe a family member is sick or maybe you suffer a deep dark depression and were just faking the laugh.
It is such a difficult thing to define this happiness thing and an even harder thing to achieve. I am not talking about feeling pleasure, that is easy to feel in the moment but to feel a sense of contentment and pleasure continually, that is a little bit harder. It is hard because life isn’t all about happiness. Things happen, bad, negative, frustrating things happen that make us feel unhappy. We find ourselves in abusive relationships, soul destroying jobs or caught up in family dramas. This is the nature of life – we need the good with the bad, how then do we manage to reach a state of happiness?
We embrace it!
We focus on it!
We find the happy in the everyday, in the mundane, in the negative!
I joined a group on Facebook last year called Embrace Happy. It is the brain child of Karin and I am enjoying the group so much. One of the quotes Karin shared was “Not every day is a good day but there is good in every day“, this was my light bulb.
I have a slight flair for the dramatic, I had a whole blog post in my head about the walk into school yesterday morning in the rain. It was a 5 minute little trip but I could have written a 400 word post about it. I do tend to focus on the drama of a situation. I feel sorry for David sometimes, I think I exhaust him. Like Tuesday, my car wouldn’t start, I was at the kids school, Cam was at home with Emma (it should have been a 10 minute trip). I phoned David in a state shouting “My car won’t start! Cam is at home with Emma and I am here and the car won’t start ever and I am going to be stuck here forever and my 12 year old will have to look after the baby and I am a terrible mother and no one can help me”. Ok so I didn’t really SAY all of that but I might as well have because that’s what was going on in my head!
Anyway the point is, instead of getting out my car, asking the school for help, I have a small dramatic break down in the parking lot. Three months ago this little incident would have ruined my day. I wouldn’t have gone to gym because I got home later than planned (and obviously now I needed to spend the day finding money for a new car because my car was broken), I would have wallowed in the negative way too long. I didn’t do that this time. I went to gym and swam 30 lengths, I focused on my to do list and ended up having a really good day.
Everyday all the members of our Facebook group share 3 good things from the day. It is very similar to a gratitude journal but with support because some days, despite our attempts to focus on happy, are just rubbish but even on those days there are always 3 good things.
I am consciously focusing on the good, the happy, the things that bring me pleasure (like hot home made bread).
How easy is it for you to keep the focus on the happy? Do you also have a flair for the dramatic?
I am joining in on a 52 Weeks of Gratitude challenge, this challenge appeals to me because there are no rules, set time lines (if I miss a week, its ok).