For myself and many others, this year seems to have been tough, compared to the previous years of relative smooth sailing. It’s been a year of limbo. Of waiting. Of exhaustion. Something stressful mixed with a whole lot of confusion. I mean, it just happens sometimes and I’ve had truly miserable years as well, this wasn’t too bad. You have some good years and some not so good years. If all the years were good ones, we would have nothing to compare with, so how would never even know what a good year really is! From our failures, our troubles, our growing pains and even from our devastation, we can take the good things with us and see how strong our experiences have made us. But… you’ve already heard this right? What I really want to know is… are you happy?
Where is happiness? Is it tomorrow? Was it yesterday?
When you were a kid, do you remember what you said? “When I turn 5, I’ll be so happy!” (My daughter just said this to me the other day and it made me laugh and it’s the reason I’m writing this post). Then, “When I go to school, I’ll be so happy.” A few years later, “When I go to high school, I’ll be sooo happy.” Some more years go by, “When I get a boyfriend, then I’ll be happy.” Then, “When I get that job, or when the boss recognizes me then, I’ll be happy.” Followed by “When I finally get married and have kids, then I’ll be happy.” Do you remember thinking any of these things? I do.
I get stuck in this scenario now. “When the house is clean and organized, then I can sit back and relax and be happy.” Or, “When we finally get that second car, then I’ll be happy.” Then sometimes, “When I ever start making money again, then I’ll be happy.” When XYZ happens, only then will I be happy!
Oh geez! By the end of our lives, can you imagine how much time we have wasted, waiting for that perfect moment to be happy?! I’ve heard Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation say that waiting for happiness is like spending all night making your bed, but never getting in it!
The tendency of the mind to think that something from the outside will make us happy. But, look at how we come into this world! We are all born happy. Does a baby need a reason to smile? They just smile! Then, what happens? We get stressed and tired and start looking for sources of happiness outside of us.
So, this year, let’s remember, that happiness is happening now. Right now. Not tomorrow. Not yesterday. Right now. And, happiness comes from within. Nobody can make you happy (although my husband is pretty good at making me laugh sometimes when I’m being a mega grump). No ‘thing‘ can make you happy. Because, the same things that seem to make you happy can also cause you misery. Being happy is your birthright. You are not your stress, your worries or the events in your life. You are something much bigger than the inevitable drama that descends on our lives.
It’s not to say that you go around with this cheesy, artificial smile on your face all the time just because you need to be ‘happy‘. It’s not that sort of happiness. It’s that contentment that you feel inside, that you know that you are a beautiful and connected human being of this world and that you will be taken care of by nature/God/the divine/humanity or whatever you believe in. It’s the knowledge that all of the events in our lives are like passing clouds. You are not alone on this planet and you share the same joys and misery as the rest of the 7 billion people here. Reach out to others and share your happiness with them. If you feel that you can’t offer your happiness, offer some service to others. If the people around you are miserable, it’s ok to be compassionate towards them, but don’t feel like it’s your job to be their friend, or you’ll start being miserable like them! Smile often and remember all that you have been given in this life. Be grateful for what your body has given you, even when you feel that it has let you down, remember that it has brought you life. Remind yourself again and again, no matter how many times it takes, that happiness can happen NOW! Happiness is not something you have to go searching for because it’s your very nature.
Please note: If you are truly finding it hard to be happy under normal circumstances, that usually means our energy is low. Trying some sort of breathing, meditation, doing community service, removing yourself from a negative situation or simply being with uplifting people can help tremendously. If you are severely depressed and/or suicidal please seek professional help! Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, we all need a little help sometimes.