When last did you feel it? That bubbly feeling taking over your whole body causing you to flash your smile around like a spotlight. That almost uncontrollable urge to jump up and down, or burst out in laughter for no reason at all. That feeling of being at peace with the world and all that is in it.
What is that feeling? Although I’m sure there is no need to define it, I do feel we have somewhere lost the true meaning thereof. Happiness, according to Wikipedia, is a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy.
Where has it gone? We become wrapped up – in work, obligations, responsibilities, ourselves. We lose focus and objectivity, spending all our time and energy on what we think will make us happy, rather than simply being happy. We function in a state of “okayness”, sacrificing true sunny energy for a bleak, half-minded fake smile or a weathered mask, faded from regular use.
Why not get it back? We believe happiness is a by-product of our lives, sprouting from our circumstances or resulting from our actions. But happiness is a conscious, individual choice. I have seen disabled people in wheelchairs happier than a healthy man rushing down the hallway. I have seen a middle-class family sharing a happier Christmas than a rich family torn apart by money and the race to riches.
What makes me happy? About this I am torn. Sometimes we try so hard to define life, to understand it by answering questions, that we forget to simply live. Happiness is described as three kinds: pleasure, engagement, and meaning. When you make someone happy, you feel happy. Doing something you love makes you happy. Being involved in a worthy cause or a satisfying project causes a feeling of happiness.
Often the hardest thing to do is admit to yourself you are not really happy. Sometimes you still need to realize it yourself. It might be when you’re lying on your stomach in the bow of the boat, speeding over the surface of the water, with the wind through your hair and a fine mist cooling your sunbaked body down, watching the clouds pass in the waves beneath you. It might be with your camera in your hand, forgetting the world around you, focusing only on capturing the image you see in the way you want to portray it to others. It might be talking about a hobby or a passion, or being with someone you care about. Or maybe it is in a moment, unguarded, that someone looks at you and says, “Wow, you look happy”.
I have lost that true sense of happiness for a while, but I have found it again. I have love in my life, and abundance thereof. I have made the choice to be content with what I cannot change, and to be satisfied with what is entrusted to me. I have identified what gives me pleasure, and what cause me to experience joy. I choose to focus on happiness, sharing happiness, living happiness.
Be happy with me?