What Does Being Happy Mean?

It’s 10 o’clock and I was just in bed 5 minutes ago. Most of the time when I start a new post, its the middle of the day when I’m not working and don’t have much else going on. I’m not always driven to write during those times but it usually makes the most sense so that’s when write. Just the other day I read something that caught my attention; it said that inspiration has a time limit so when it hits you, take advantage of it. I’m trying to do that now. I actually find that I am the most inspired at night once I’ve climbed into bed, which isn’t really optimal since I try to go to bed early so that I can be up early. With that said, I’m not sure how well this or any future writing sessions will turn out for my morning routine…but I digress.

I was just reading a book by someone who I would like to consider somewhat of a friend of mine, Philip McKernan, called Rich on Paper, Poor on Life. Philip and I have had a number a discussions over the last few years so I’m very familiar with his work as he has really helped me move through some struggles that I’ve faced within myself. A majority of the work that Philip does helps people see deeper into themselves, find the root of their struggles, find their passions, and helps people realize that there is more meaning to life than simply trying to make money or please other people. All things that I believe throughout my core and try to bring out in others as well. The portion that I was reading, pertained to happiness and how so many feel that they deserve happiness even though they are living a life that isn’t true to who they really are. This got me thinking quite a bit.

Am I actually happy? Do I even know what happiness really is? Have I ever really been happy?…I know that I am blessed for every amazing thing that I have and I am grateful for those things every single day. And when I say “things”, I don’t just mean objects but everything from my family, to my health, to the air that I breath. I am in a situation that I have worked hard to get to. I have more freedom to do things, or not do things, than most others. I have grown so much over the last few years that I feel like I have no reason not to be happy, yet I constantly seem to feel like something is missing.

Philip has talked about this a few times that I’ve heard and it may very well be something that relates to me. He says that when someone has suffered, and gone through certain struggles which leads to deep depression, which I had my fair share of when I was younger, their scale of happiness is skewed. The average persons scale might go from 1-10, but when someone has been depressed for an extended period and then finds some positivity in their life, they may feel like their happiness level is at an 8 but really its at a 3 because their low point was actually at a -5. I’m not quite sure if this does relate to me or not but I find it interesting that the correlations seem to be fairly close to how I’ve felt.

I’ve been trying to think back of the times in my life that I was actually genuinely happy for an extended period of time and I have a hard time. Or maybe I’m just confusing happiness with excitement, which comes very rarely. It’s this confusion that brings on my debate about whether I actually even know what happiness is. Maybe I am happy and all that I’m looking for is that feeling of excitement more regularly… What I do know is that I drag Candice around with my emotions, asking for changes in our life because I think it might make me feel differently, even though those changes are probably just band-aids to a bigger issue that I’m not seeing.

I’m not 100% sure what my solution will be at this point. I was out snowboarding with my son a little while ago and I decide to go off of a few larger jumps which I hadn’t done in more than a decade. Things went smoothly and I noticed that when I got to the bottom of the hill my heart was racing and I felt a bit anxious which I had felt from an activity in a long time. I used to spend probably 90% of my time doing some sort of activity that most might consider dangerous to an extent. But thinking back, those things were a part of me. I enjoyed them. I was able to push myself to be better and focus only one the task ahead of me. All of my accomplishments were purely on the amount of work that I was willing to put in. And it was regularly exhilarating. I’m not sure why I stopped. I guess I felt that with a family, I had to live up to the status quo of providing for my family and being “responsible”. But was it responsible for me to give up a part of myself that meant so much to me? Can I truly be my best self for my family if I’m not doing what I love?

I think that SOOO many of us fall into this trap of doing what we think is right, simply because we had seem others doing it, or we were taught at some point that its the “proper way.” We forget about what its like to feel that exhilaration in our lives. We “play it safe” and end up leading a life that we don’t absolutely love. Candice and I went to a couples workshop that Philip and his wife Pauline were hosting, which was in the mountains in Colorado. I had told Candice that weekend and a few times before that, that I wanted to move to the mountains. She had asked me why, and I never really knew the answer besides that I loved how gorgeous they were. But I think the truth is that I love the mountains because every time I had been up in the mountains, I was doing something that I loved to do. I was never upset or disappointed while I was on a mountain, so I relate mountains to happiness.

I’m not sure if I will ever really know what happiness is. I actually think that its something that we can never actually achieve fully but its something that we have to constantly work on for our whole lives. Happiness will come and go. It will sometimes come in the little things that we do each day, but it will also come in the big extravagant gestures that happen only once a year. I think that we all need to find whatever it is that we can relate to happiness, and make sure that we incorporate that thing into our life as much as we can. But we also have to learn how to be okay with things being just okay. We are surrounded by artificial happiness, temporary fixes, and inauthentic ideas of what happiness is. We are surrounded everyday by people’s highlight reels. Social media is filled with the things that people do that they want to show off. We don’t see the fights that people have with their partners, or their kids whining 47 times a day. We don’t see the stress that they carry from not being able to pay the bills or the dread that they feel each morning when they have to go to a job that they don’t like. All that we see is what people want us to see which brainwashes us into believing that we are living a mediocre life. I don’t believe that I’m unhappy in any way. I think that I just see the world of potential that I have within myself and feel that I have to make sure that I’m living my life the way that I want to be living it and enjoying it as much as I can. I think that we(myself probably more so than many) need to realize that there is a difference between happiness and excitement, and that as long as we are living a life that is actually true to ourselves, then happiness will follow us everywhere that we go.

Just be yourself.

 

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