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Searching for Happiness updated 8.23.21
Recently, a simple line drawing cartoon popped up in various social media feeds. One character asks another where she found the object she carries, because he’s searched everywhere for it.
I smile every time I see this cartoon, because of the object bearer’s response. My heart and soul resonate with an enthusiastic Yes!
August is Happiness Happens Month. It’s a great time to share, about happiness!
What is Happiness?
That’s a big question for people, down through the ages. Philosophers, writers, poets, artists, actors, theologians, singers, psychologists and countless others seek to define what happiness is.
What it is not is just another emotion, or a positive mindset, or a fat bank account. People agree that happiness is a state of well-being that encompasses living a good life imbued with meaning and purpose. However the road to happiness is different for everyone, as is the exact meaning. Living my version of happy may look different from yours.
What is essential is understanding that happiness is never supplied by an outside source. No one can “make” us happy or sustain that state indefinitely for us. What a heavy burden to place on another person. Happiness is something we create for ourselves, and it is sometimes hard won.
The journey to bliss might involve pain, challenges, letting go of past hurts and the need to control people and outcomes. As we grow in awareness, we grow into a happiness that is not dependent on circumstances or other people or what those people think, do or say.
My personal journey to happiness included facing and defeating fears, embracing my whole heart and accepting who I am, practicing gratitude, seeing the presence of the Divine in everything and recognizing that I am the only one who can create my happiness, which lets everyone else off the hook.
In my state of happiness, there are many ways that I contribute to my sense of well-being. I regularly feed my happiness by doing the things that bring me joy: spending time with family, laughing with grandkids, gardening, traveling, expressing my creativity, cultivating solitary time, watching movies, writing.
Taking care of my health and wellness contributes to my joy, as do playful, ongoing conversations with the Divine, nurturing my dreams and walking alongside other people as they journey. Can I be happy and still experience sadness, anger or disappointment. Yes! Do any of those erode my happiness? No! Happiness is core to my being. No matter what else is going on in my life at the moment, happiness is what I return to. Like those toys from the 1980s, the Weebles, I may wobble and tip off my center, but I won’t fall down and stay there.
As I often do, I looked up the etymology of the word happy. It comes from the old English word hap, which in the 14th century meant “lucky”. The word worked its way into many cultures, however from the Greek to the Irish happy originally conveyed the meaning of luck and good fortune.
Isn’t it interesting that some still perceive happiness as an elusive state of being, and that only the lucky few ever achieve it? How empowering it is to realize that searching for happiness begins with a solitary inward journey, and creating it is the uniquely personal experience called “living our best life”.
How is your happiness level? Are you taking sole responsibility for your happiness?
Excellent reading from Amazon:
I’ve read both of these books…many times…and can highly recommend them. Click links for more info or to order.
Loving What Is by Byron Katie
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
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