by Michelle Blessing
I want to be happy. Not just content, but truly HAPPY. And just when I think I have it figured out, it’s gone. She takes it away again, leaving me broken and defeated. Left to rebuild myself, I try again, only to once again almost reach the top of the happiness hill – and she pushes me back to the bottom. I feel as if I will never win this battle.
Who is she, you might be wondering? Well, she is very simply put, ME. I am my own worst enemy in the pursuit of happiness. I find myself becoming content with the way life is going, finally settling into a pattern, and then I start to wonder – is this really it? Have I reached the pinnacle of happiness? My focus begins to drift, and I start to refocus my energy on the negative aspects of life, slipping back down the hill it took me so long to climb.
This has been an ongoing battle for me for many, many years. At one point, I decided I simply wasn’t meant to be happy; after all, not everyone can become a doctor or a lawyer, so why should everyone get to be happy? Maybe I was meant to live a life of suffering and misery, while others enjoyed the people, places and things around them.
And then I really started to think about it – what made those happy people different from me? Why were they so jovial and free, while I was trapped in a prison of unhappiness? I really didn’t have an answer, so I started doing some soul searching. Why did their happiness seem so easy, so effortless, while mine seemed to be a full-time job? And it was in that soul searching that I started to find the answers.
First and foremost, happiness is not something we can force. It is not something we can buy, nor is it something we should even strive for. Let me explain that last part – because I’m sure many of you are scratching your head – I mean, are we supposed to strive for happiness? Isn’t that what life is all about?
Yes, it is, but the pursuit of happiness need not be specifically about happiness itself. Because when it comes down to it, we all define happiness is different ways. So to say we are striving to be happy has not just one, but also MANY, different meanings. And that’s okay, but that means that we aren’t necessarily striving for happiness itself, but for the different situations that produce happiness. Once I learned that happiness was not a quest per say but rather the end result of a journey, I found that what had eluded me for so long was suddenly right at my fingertips.
So, what exactly did I do? To start, I quit my 9 to 5 job and went back to school. I started freelance writing and I spent more time with my kids and my family. I know that is extreme, but you don’t have to overhaul your life to find true happiness. Start small with something that you really, truly enjoy. Take time each week to do that one simple thing. It might be reading a chapter in a great book, taking a cooking or yoga class or making a telephone call to an old friend. Whatever it is, you simply must do it. As you start to make that part of your routine, add something else. Keep adding enjoyable things to your life, slowly, until you feel that sense of contentment we all long for. It might not come tomorrow, next week or even next month, but rest assured, as you continue to pursue the things in life you truly enjoy, it will. After all, life is too short to be anything but happy.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/viggum/3536424433