Stumbling Upon Happiness

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To think about happiness and how to be happy is perhaps a daunting task. On the Internet there are over 21,000 books addressing the topic of happiness. The questions we are all asking ourselves are: How do we achieve happiness? How can we be happy? and the fundamental existential question “Am I happy?”. But what exactly is happiness and is there a one size fits all happiness?

In my journey of healing post divorce, I guess that I had put happiness in the rear seat. I concentrated more on getting the immediate pain dealt with and during that time happiness was probably an occasional or even  sporadic happenstance.

Yet happiness is the missing link, in my opinion, between living in a state of scarcity and living in a state of abundance. What is the definition of happiness? According to the dictionary - happiness is the state of being happy: an experience that makes you happy.  Happiness is a mental state as well as an emotional sate of well being and intense joy.

To me, personally, happiness is a state of contentment with the world and the people around us and gratitude for what we have.

So my next question would be: Where do we find happiness?

First of all there’s not a one size fits all “happiness”. We all want and desire different things and the meaning that we attach to happiness differs according to individual. We all definitely aspire to be happy, it’s an innate need similarly to the need to feel loved and appreciated. Regrettably when something tragic, dramatic or traumatic happens in our life it is as though we shift into an “Emotional Paralysis“. Under this state we avoid or circumvent any event that demands that we take an emotional action, like making new friends or dating because it would require an emotional engagement and force us to uncover our emotions on a deeper level. Even having fun would demand that we let go of any restraint and truly enjoy the moment.

We therefore choose to wrap ourselves in what we define the “Hardest Moments” and we allow them to demand of us our unconditional attention. Once our hardest moments define our every day then  the state of “emotional paralysis” takes place. We feel like we are no longer able to love, laugh or be silly even for a moment. Those moments of hardship, trauma, or tragedy traumatise us to the point that they chain us, so much so that we blow out the candle of the light of happiness that is in us.

Yet not everything is lost. Everyone has the capacity to manufacture happiness, that ability is in each and everyone of us. Happiness is embracing our uniqueness and how we uniquely respond to circumstances or life occurrences. In my journey towards healing after divorce I stumbled upon happiness. When I decided that I was done mourning over what had happened I realised that what I was actually looking for was happiness. It was then that I was ready to make small steps towards feeling happy once again and embrace the adversity of the past with the new aspirations of tomorrow. Once all the dots were reconnected I was able to finally make sense of it all. I was finally able to take the “I” off my pain and leave that lonely spot that I had carved for myself. By reinventing what my future held for me I was at last able to make the choice to embrace my past and move forward.

Happiness is a matter of choice. The beautiful discovery that happened when I stumbled upon happiness is that  the master key to happiness was in my hands the whole time.

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