I’ve been pondering a bit lately about what it really means to be happy… I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, money in the bank (not much but it will do for now) and I have food in my belly, literally. I actually just finished a snack but you know what I mean.. lol Anyways, although I have a few contract jobs on the go, I still don’t have the career that by now I had hoped I would have and it’s been gnawing on my mind for months now. So I’ve been exploring options of going back to school, starting my own business and even applying for jobs that are in the industry that I plan to be in, in the future. And with all of those bright and exciting possibilities occupying the forefront of my mind I can’t help but to listen to that small tick in the back of my mind that says “why can’t I just be happy regardless of where I’m at?”
Then it dawned on me. What if I really am happy and I just didn’t know it? So then, this pushed me to really dive into one of the most cliched questions of all time: What does it mean to be happy? DUHN DUHN DUHN!!! It sounds like a never ending vortex of unanswered questions but in actuality it can be answered in a matter of a few minutes and a few short words.
adjective, hap·pi·er, hap·pi·est.
1. delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing: to be happy to see a person.
2. characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy: a happy mood; a happy frame of mind.
3. favored by fortune; fortunate or lucky: a happy, fruitful land.
4. apt or felicitous, as actions, utterances, or ideas.
5. obsessed by or quick to use the item indicated (usually used in combination): a trigger-happy gangster. Everybody is gadget-happy these days.
1300–50; Middle English; see hap1 , -y1
1. joyous, joyful, blithe, cheerful, merry, contented, gay, blissful, satisfied. 3. favorable, propitious; successful, prosperous. See fortunate. 4. appropriate, fitting, opportune, pertinent.
(…..annnnd yes, I copy and pasted from dictionary.com)
So the first thing, my friends, you have to ask yourself is not necessarily what does it mean to be happy but rather what makes you happy because by analyzing what makes you happy it allows you to understand the why. When you are able to really understand why something makes you happy then it becomes easier to identify the things that will help you achieve that happiness more often or identify the things that are preventing you from being happy. For myself, I have come to the realization that happiness is not a definition it is a state of mind. I’m sure you’ve all heard that one before and yep, I think there were at least one or two of you that just rolled your eyes at that statement but whether or not you believe it, it is still true. Remember watching those feed/sponsor the children commercials TV and seeing those children in Africa playing soccer with a half worn ball on the dirt ground with no shoes on their feet and wearing half dirty and torn clothes yet they seem happier than pigs in poop. Have you ever wondered why that is?
Well if we take what the dictionary says and add it to the soccer playing children in Africa scenario we get — (bear with me now) “The children in Africa are happy (delighted, joyful, pleased, glad, content, cheerful, favored by fortune) because they are playing soccer on a dirt ground with no shoes and half-worn/torn clothing.” It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But if you really think about it, it only sounds that way because we are too focused on the lack of shoes and worn down clothing. So, could it be that happiness really is a state of mind? If that is so, then happiness is subjective to ones own reality. Meaning, happiness is what you perceive it to be. Whether that means gardening, spending your last dollar on someone else, exercising, cooking (etc) makes you happy, it is unique to you and you alone. And if that is the case then why are we still so unhappy?
Oh what’s that? Well, I’m glad you asked. I will tell you why.
We are unhappy because we:
1. Spend all our time and efforts focusing on the things we don’t have or places we aren’t (i.e. money, vacations, shoes, your neighbors wife, that promotion and the list goes on and on and on.)
2. Let our happiness be defined by anyone and anything besides ourselves.
When we are finally able to let go of what our society deems as “happy” we might actually have a fighting chance of experiencing true happiness. When we stop translating how others view or experience their happiness into our lives then and only then can we truly be happy. Happiness is only relative to what YOU think it is. It is a subjective reality that everyone has in their own right. Your ideals, values, morals, standards and the very person that you are, are all ingredients to your happiness and when we take the “ingredients” of someone else and insert them into our own lives we end up with everything we never expected: disaster, regret, heartache and misery. And then we sit their all puzzled wondering what the heck happened and where it all went wrong. You wouldn’t see those children in Africa whining over the things they don’t have, sure that may be partial to the fact that they don’t know what their “missing” but what you have to know is that they have learned to weigh their happiness on a different scale than ours. A scale of simple pleasures and honest truths. Happiness is a choice no matter the situation, no matter the outcome. It means choosing the good over the bad. Learning to be okay with the uncontrollable factors in life and not allowing them to overcome or swallow you whole.
The point that I’m getting at is if you are unhappy or realize you could be happier than you are then I’m asking that you take some time to reflect and take everything out of the equation. Forget that you don’t have your dream job, that Joe’s house is bigger than yours, that Susie Q goes on vacation anytime she feels “stressed”, that your brother’s car is faster or that your best friends wife is a sex pot compared to yours. Let go of society’s ideal of what it really means to be “happy”. Forget it all. Boil it down to what makes YOU happy, not what other people (or society) deem as happy for themselves. Make a list of all the things but in more particular, the moments that make YOU happy . When you categorize things into moments, it’s much easier to figure out what makes you happy and why. Then when you think about the time that you went boating on Joe Schmoes new hydraplane jet/skit boat thing-a-magigy 9000 that was supposed to be SOOOO awesome but wasn’t because he’s a shallow tarty douche, you’ll remember that boating on your best friends rubber dingy made you happier because of the company and not because of the boat that you don’t have. Choosing to have this mentality will make us more grateful, thankful and content with the things we do have. It will help us to live in and appreciate the moment and not get stuck in a world that we may never live in.
So, the next time someone asks for your name you say “I am Happy” annnnnnd then you tell them that your parents were hippies and they were high when they named you. HA. nah I’m just kidding… We are what we think and what we think is what we believe and what we believe is who we are. Therefore choosing to be happy is much more crucial to our very core than we may understand and today I realize that by my own standards I really am happy. Are you? If not then you need to find out what makes you happy and then as Nike says: JUST DO IT.
“If you want to be happy, then be.”