This blog represents a lot of things in my life. It's a creative outlet, an inspiration catalog, a source of joy. Sometimes it's a monkey on my back, whispering nagging reminders to me about my atrocious track record of following through on things. Sometimes it's simply a way for me to vent - for me to untangle the knots of thoughts or emotions that keep me up at night. But most of all I think this blog has become a place to document my journey with happiness.
Happiness can be such a broad, grand topic, I know, but for me it's the thread that runs through every decision and every moment of my life. It's not a black or white issue, a yes or no question, "Are you happy?" Instead, to me, happiness is made up of an infinite number of granular questions that all fit together into a bigger picture. It's more like "Are you making decisions every moment that allow you to be happy?"
I wish I could put my finger on the moment when personal, daily happiness became my North Star, the thing guiding me through each new chapter of my life, but I can't. All I know is that from an early age, whether through my parents' teaching or my own realization, I learned that happiness is a choice.
So many times we treat happiness like a passive emotion. XYZ happened and therefore I'm happy, or XYZ happened and therefore I'm unhappy. I won't deny that this is the case more often than not - an event triggers an emotion. Cause and effect. Right? But what so many of us forget is that happiness can be an active emotion too. XYZ happened and I choose to feel happy. XYZ happened, but in spite of that I will choose to be happy. XYZ keeps happening, so I need to make changes in order to be happy.
Listen, I know it's not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes you have a crappy day and everything goes wrong and you want to cry. Hey, I've been there. I'm not afraid to admit I LOVE to cry it out. Quite often, in fact. Queen of the ugly cry over here. But next time that happens, remind yourself that you're experiencing the passive emotion. The response emotion. And after that passes, take a second, and remember that you can choose the active emotion. You can choose happiness. You pick yourself up, and you do something that brings you joy. Call a friend, take a bubble bath, search "puppies" on YouTube. Run as fast as you can towards happiness, and pretty soon, you'll be so intent on trying to catch it, you won't have time to feel that passive emotion creep back in.
And if you start to realize that the cry-it-out days are beginning to outweigh the smiling days, that's when you REALLY gotta kick that active happiness into gear and you have to make some big decisions. Maybe even some tough decisions.
Now let me assure you, it's not all puppies and rainbows, people. Happiness is hard work! It requires mindfulness, patience, control, and like I said, making hard decisions. Sometimes in its pursuit, I've had to be selfish. And other times in its pursuit, I've needed to be completely selfless. I've been in funks so deep that "chasing after happiness" felt more like clawing after it at a snail's pace. But I'm telling you, it works.
So that is my tidbit of wisdom for this week. I know I can be a bit of a quack, and I whole-heartedly appreciate those of you that humor me. But I only write this stuff because I live it and I believe it. We are all blessed to be on this earth, and we truly can do ANYTHING we want to do and be as happy as we want to be. It's just a matter of how much effort we're willing to put in to get there.
This morning I woke up, the faintest bit of chill in the air (a godsend for those of us here in Florida) and I thought, now that's something to be happy about.
This week I challenge you to choose happiness. In the moments that it comes easily - like crisp Fall mornings - AND in the moments that it doesn't - the cry-it-out days.
Thanks for hanging out with me here, as always. On the harder days, your responses are a sure-fire way for me to find my way back to happiness.