Last year or maybe it was the year before, time has blended a bit, I realized what I really wanted to do with my life. I finally knew the answer to: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”.
I was just turning 40 and I finally knew what I want to be when I grow up. I wanted to be happy. So I began researching happiness. I also knew the answer to what I what I want to do with my life, what I needed to do with my life; I wanted to show others how to be happy.
I love watching TED Talks. My favorites are always those who get up and talk about happiness. It doesn’t matter how they present their message because there is almost always a central concept. That concept is that happiness doesn’t come from the outside in, it comes from the inside out.
It’s a choice we make. It’s a lightbulb that suddenly goes on. And in that moment that we experience real, true, unquestionable, happiness, suddenly we begin to understand. I don’t know when the moment was that my lightbulb went on, but I know my life has been changed since it did.
Life doesn’t make it easy to hang on to. And I’m all about being real. If you hurt my feelings I’m not going to be happy in that moment. It hurts. It gives me pain in my heart. If something bad happens I get upset. If you are unkind I might get angry. These are emotions! Our mistake is in believing that happiness is simply an emotion.
Happiness is not JUST an emotion. We can express happiness as emotion. We smile, we laugh, we feel joy, but happiness is a state of existence. It is something that cannot be taken from us once we understand it.
Happiness IS! It’s really that simple. We create it within ourselves and we can choose to hang onto it or let it go. It’s an undercurrent that bubbles naturally back to the surface after we feel our other emotions and release them.
Anger, fear, sadness, despair, guilt, and all other emotions, both simple and complicated, are fleeting if we allow them to be. They are temporary states. They exist to be released. We are not meant to hang onto them. They are waves within the ocean of emotion. Happiness is the current that runs throughout that ocean. When we allow it to, it will bubble up to the surface and wrap us in its warmth. When a wave overtakes us, we can simply feel it and release it when we are ready, and that undercurrent of happiness can once again surface.
Most find this too difficult to believe. (I know I did) They have lived so long from some other state of being that it feels normal and happiness seems like some memory of a dream. Like something they experienced once in some altered state, but the fog of pain has clouded the truth of that memory.
Everything I write has an undercurrent of how to remember happiness. We’ve all had it at some point. Maybe it was brief and fleeting, but the moment was there. The path back to remembering happiness is a journey long and sometimes difficult, but it can be achieved. I cannot say where it begins, because for each person that step is going to be personal and unique.
Imagine that each of us was traveling to Disney World. Each path would be different. Each of us might choose a different mode of transportation. Some might have to take a longer way around than others. We are all headed to the same place, but we will each begin differently and our trips might contain similar components, but many will be unique to where we are coming from to start.
I may not always reference happiness, but it runs deep within me. I have remembered my happiness and I appreciate its warmth. It’s nice to be able to return to that warm undercurrent when a cold wave has crushed me or when a boiling hot wave has overtaken me. Sometimes it’s not easy to find my way back to it. Sometimes the waves keep pulling and crashing, but I know that warm place is there and if I’m patient it will surface once more.
I want this for each of you. I want you to remember your happiness. Every time you laugh or smile or feel inspired, you are remembering your happiness. Every time you feel grateful you are remembering your happiness. And if it hasn’t already, one day that light bulb will go on, the fog will lift, and you will have found your current, your balance, your happiness once more.
And trust me, if I can can do it ANYONE can!