This post has been swirling around in my head for weeks now. I wouldn't exactly call it breaking news, because the pursuit of happiness certainly isn't something new, but I've been amazed by journey many have taken in order to find happiness.
It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Be happy. Just be happy, it's not that hard. Smiley face :), LOL, it's all good.
The thing is....it's not so easy.
I realize there are so many outside sources and inside forces that can determine or take part in our happiness or lack thereof. As someone who has suffered from diagnosed anxiety and depression to the point where it affects my daily life, I understand that being happy isn't something that comes all that easily. Having said that, being depressed and being sad are two fairly distinct events. Being depressed is an all encompassing experience. For me, it's like a horrible dream I cannot get out of on my own. Now, I am sure that being sad can feel as overwhelming, but it's easier to climb out of...or so I thought.
Now I've been sad...not depressed, but sad. Like I've had to pull over on the side of the road because I was crying so hard because my heart was broken after a break up. I've cried over failing marks in class. I've been disappointed over jobs I've not been offered. Things like this are all a part of life, and the sadness comes, but it's never settled inside me.
Recently, I've been amazed at the number of people I've met who are sad to the core of their being. And it's not a depression, that I'm aware of (I mean, I'm not a certified doctor...), it's that they've never learned how to be happy. They settle deep into their sadness, because it's familiar and they find comfort in their misery. And they don't know how to be happy, because they've never known anything but sadness.
I had this conversation with a coworker the other week, who admitted he was one who had settled nicely into his sadness, and it was hard, miserable work to find his way out of sadness and into happiness. He had to learn how to be happy. He said he tried everything else to fill the void that was to be filled by happiness - drugs, alcohol, women, and nothing worked. He found his happiness in Buddhism, which really isn't for me, but seeing the difference in this man was amazing to see. He is like a completely different person, even the features of his face have changed and have a more relaxed, happier tone.
I've watched as a new coworker has left his marriage to be with a woman fifteen years his junior because he thinks she will be the answer to his longing for happiness. The sad part for me, is that she finds her happiness in men who are married to women other than her. I watch men try to find their happiness in status cars that cost a fortune, but do nothing more than take them from point A to point B. I watch my friends try to fill the happiness void with nights out at clubs, forgetting the evening with vodka and rum or with men they'll never see again. My friends who think that life will be complete once they find a boyfriend. I've even watched as people have tried to take money from those who either have money or are perceived to have money, never in an honest way. I'm watching the Oscars right now, and I see all these people with all this money, posturing with really big jewels, but fake smiles and blank eyes, and I wonder what they've sold in order to sit in those seats tonight.
And I've been there. Oh, how I've been there (well, not at the Oscars - hahaha, but at the bars, in the one night stands). I found, though, that the path I took to find happiness was destructive in the long run. Men do not make me happy. Money, certainly, does not make me happy. Things do not make me happy.
But I've found that in the past year or so, I've been happier than ever in my life. My happiness is found in my beautiful son, my wonderful family and my faith. I realize that I have no special formula for happiness. I find that I have no holes to fill, and no vices - except maybe chocolate. But I am happy in my own skin. I am content in my own company and in fact, I cherish the time I get to spend on my own. I think I'm fricken hilarious (well, I make myself laugh like all the time). And I couldn't be happier. I find when I am happy, all the stupid little things don't matter. What other people think of me doesn't really matter. Brand name clothes, don't matter. Huge bank account? No big deal. A husband? Well, God willing and only then.
Where do you find your happiness? Are you happy? Are you stuffing your sadness with things? Have you settled into your sadness? What would it take to make you happy?