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.)

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  • paula

    For me happiness is the connection with my inner self. When I am there, the outside conditions don’t come into play to change this happiness.

    Paula G. Rosario
    Balance for Professional MOMS

  • Erin/IAm

    What a fabulous (and ‘fun’) question, Lisa! 🙂

    What does “happy” look like? *Sparkley*!

    *People (all kinds) sparkle from their eyes…We produce spark-filled wafts when we move…We leave sparkled fingerprints on stuff we touch & glittery footprints where we step.*

    Yes, *Sparkley*…”Final answer”. * 😀 *

  • Lloyd

    Great question Lisa, and great answers as well. Knowing that life existence is for our highest good, that Love is all around, within everything and as you so wisely observed, that we choose “happiness”. Happiness does not come from outside Ourselves, it comes from our choice to BE happy, and when we make that choice we do sparkle, and we are connected to Source.

    The more of us that make this choice of happiness, the more the human consciousness becomes Happy, joyful, and at peace with our world. Namaste’

  • Lisa McCormack

    Thank you all for being here and sharing your insights. I appreciate the contributions you are making here and love to hold the vision of all of us carrying our messages out into the world!


  • kim

    Happiness is being in the present, treasuring the present, and feeling all of the sensations, emotions, and feelings that come to me at that time.

    Letting the present moment experience wash over me and flood me with All That Is… the good, the bad, the clarity, the confusion. All of it.

    Living in the present, to me, is perfect happiness.

    May peace be felt by you all…and happiness!

  • Therese

    I’m going to be a little more concrete in my answer.

    I realize I am happy in the little things that barely get noticed. I remembered how, as a child, I so enjoyed breathing! so I began to notice how luscious it felt to breathe…hold your breath until you can’t hold it any more, and then feel how happy your lungs are to get air!

    I am happy that I have the basics of life, of course, a roof, food, warmth, but I am most happy when I see the little solar powered dancing flower my daughter gave me, because it reminds me of her. I am happy when the memories flood back when I smell a particular aroma or perfume. I am happy when I realize I am not hot nor cold, but just right!

    I am happy that I have my husband, for, again, all of the obvious reasons, but I am most happy when I give conscious thought to the fact that I just had a disagreement with him and he didn’t walk away. I do things that others think annoying and he tells me how cute I am. He asks me to read my poetry to him, and even if he may not understand it, he loves it, because it is mine. He gives me back to me, and receives my gift of giving him back to him.

    I revel in the fact that my children are not “perfect”. In the moment I am not always aware of happiness when drama has occurred in our shared lives, but I am always aware of how that sharing has been an opportunity to be who I am. They gave me plenty of practice for the me I was growing into…and I am happy to be me!

    There are so many more things in my life to be happy for than unhappy…because there are so many perfect things in this world. Who wouldn’t consider watching the breeze blow the palm and pine trees, while the clouds race above? Who, upon taking the time to notice, would not be happy seeing all of the different shades of green present themselves in spring?

    I guess, in short, I have moved from thinking about what happiness is, to noticing what happiness is in the experience of everyday life.

    Now, I must give you an enormous “thank you” for bringing this subject up, Lisa, because I don’t think I have ever articulated it, even to myself, in quite this way! Just another step in noticing that I create my own happiness…or unhappiness…and choosing which I accept into my life.


  • Lauren

    Execellent question! Personally, I feel as though it is very easy to image being happy after the fact – and certainly not before. But, in essence, there is NOTHING stopping us from being happy right now. If you live life, you love life. Simple as that!