Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change."
Happiness is ___________.
How would you answer that question? Could you answer that question?
I began to think about this while listening to my daughter talk to her friend about people who are too happy. Apparently those people annoy her to no end. She explained that she personally likes to be happy but with a normal amount of unhappy mixed in (she's 11 by the way).
I guess we all know those people who are always super positive no matter what the circumstance. The Sponge Bob verses Squidward view of the world (did I mention I have an 11-year-old?).
I know my fair share of Squidwards. No matter what the conversation they find a way to turn it into how terrible their lives are. Those that live in an eternal pity party and they want to invite you. I have come to avoid them if possible.
Then I know people who seriously have real reasons to be defeated but remain strong and optimistic. A friend of mine is fighting cancer, moving soon, her daughter scheduled for surgery right when they're moving, but her bright sides are not losing her hair, her amazing family and friends and her great sense of humor.
Another woman I ran into recently dealing with health problems, a terrible divorce and countless other things that one person should not have to deal with in one year. Rather than look defeated she smiles and says it will all be okay because she has faith and great people in her life.
So what makes one person able to stay so strong while another crumbles at the smallest of issues?
What makes us happy?
For most it's not just one thing but a list of happiness requirements. I picked the top quote for that reason. At least when I look at my personal happiness it's a combination of things. Doing things I enjoy, having something to look forward to as well as the possibility of change in areas I'm not happy tend to keep me positive.
But if you truly are not happy at the moment the question needs to be reworded. I'm not happy because _________.
I spent years not happy in my marriage. Not that people would look at me during that time and say I was a miserable person, I've always been outwardly positive, but in a way that once I was free people could see a lightness to me. My kids could see a spark they hadn't seen. It was taking 160 pounds of pure sadness and deciding I couldn't hold it anymore.
Sometimes it is a relationship that makes us happy. My son has his first girlfriend and I feel like I'm in a body snatcher scene; who are you and what have you done with my kid?
My friend just got promoted at work and that makes her happy, combined with hitting personal goals in triathlons.
Vacation, travel or any change in our environment can often help us reboot our joy.
For some, it's a deep faith or religion that brings the peace they need.
Two of my friends would say it's fantastic wool, knitting needles and free time.
I love the quote from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Maggoch:
"Everything will be alright in the end so if it's not alright it is not the end."
I look at that quote to mean if it's not alright then it's not time to give up. The end is when you decide there is nothing left to change or make better.
So find the right question that fits your world at the moment because if it's not alright it's not the end.
"Happiness is an inside job."
~William Arthur Ward