I just want to be happy
How many times has the phrase “I just want to be happy” crept into your thoughts and tumbled out of your mouth? Perhaps someone close to you has uttered these six words in the midst of their own “unhappiness” on an occasion or two, looking to you for the solution?
But just what does “happy” look like?
What images does the word “happy” conjure up for you? Does it represent a state of being which so far life has kept from you like a callous game of keep-away? Does your mind paint a pleasant scene of someone other than you skipping gleefully down a flowery stone path, indulging in an ice cream cone, and humming a joyful tune? Is it in that perfect relationship that you envision and yearn to be a part of, the one that looks nothing like the relationships you are currently experiencing?
If you Google the word “happy,” the first image that pops up is a giant yellow smiley face. Is that what it means to be happy?
If not, what does it mean to be “happy”?
And why do so many people claim not to experience it on a regular basis, if at all?
Our spiritual leaders teach us that a happy life is a peaceful life, doing what brings us joy. Our parents tell us their only wish for us is that they want us to be happy. But if we don’t have any real concept of what “happiness” is, how will we even know if we ARE happy….or, for that matter, have any idea how to get there?
Maybe we are closer to a state of happiness than we actually think we are. Perhaps we are simply hung up somewhere in that space between what we think “happy” looks like and what happiness truly is.
We have become a fun-seeking, happiness-producing society: Take more vacations. Engage in a hobby. Go out for date night. Ladies’ night out. Men’s night out. Eat more. Drink more. Play more. Get more. Do more. Have more. But what would happen if we valued no moment in life as more “fun” than another? What if we perceived all of life as equally fun, equally meaningful, equally purposeful?
Maybe happiness isn’t found in that which we think we are not doing enough of or in that which we think we are not getting enough of. What if we considered the possibility that happiness is already there, always there, patiently waiting for recognition, quietly knowing its potential? Perhaps happy is found in the deep sense of knowing that no matter what is taking place in my life right now, no matter how chaotic or discombobulated or challenging it may seem, that everything is occurring to serve my highest good and the highest good of all. Could we accept the nonsensicalness of it all, at last experiencing the highest level of happiness, knowing that life does not have to be one continuous sweeping run of “fun” experiences unfolding before our very eyes?
Maybe happiness is experienced in loving exactly where you are…and not where you think you should be.
Maybe happiness is experienced in loving exactly what you have…and not in what you imagine yourself to lack.
Maybe happiness is experienced in loving exactly who you are…and not in who you think you are supposed to be.
I don’t believe that happiness is reserved for a select few, nor is it earned or doled out to those who most deserve it. It is experienced within our choice to BE it. It is felt in companion with sadness and confusion. It is known in the moments when life requires us to stretch the furthest and bend the most and love the deepest.
What does “happy” look like to you?
(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)