Time spent with cats is never wasted.

~ Colette ~

Are You Happy? Or Do You Lose It?

January 27th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 30 secs

Yeah, I'm happy enough... I think!

You know, the way happiness is portrayed, you could easily get the impression you need to be happy, happy, happy 24/7, with bells on, and maintain an ever-enduring smile to make it happen. But does that make sense?

I don’t think so. There are times when you and I ought to be sad, and even feel down. Feeling a whole rainbow of emotions is natural, whereas it’s strange to only know one. Of course, I am all for enjoying your moments of happiness. But don’t for a moment think that being satisfied and fulfilled in life means you need to be geed up in a constantly gleeful way. You don’t and, what’s more, I believe you shouldn’t.

There are physiological reasons for a start. Your dutiful body isn’t designed to be in a constant state of “yee-haa.” Take a look at the effects of illegal drugs and you can easily see the damage continuous highs will do. Or ask someone with bipolar disorder. They’ll tell you that after several days of sheer sleepless exhilaration and being so charged up they impulsively buy 22 BMWs before lunch is a fantastic feeling. Then wham! Once the euphoria is over they body slam down to the lowest of gut-wrenching lows. Your body can’t handle being in a constant state of excited happiness because that’s not what we are made for. So cross it off the list. Continuous elation is a dead end.

Happiness is much more than feeling “up.” Really being happy needs to work in the real world, be balanced with joys and sadness, and help you cope when the going gets tough. It’s not the “see me smile wider than the Golden Gate Bridge” type happy. Though, I suppose it could be. Instead it rests on your positive purposes. Not someone else’s reasons for you to be happy, like your ever-loving boss, but your own.

The problem is, as it has always been. We don’t want to think that much. It’s an effort to think and easier to imitate. But the imitation road leads to much that isn’t particularly happy at all.  Why? Because you can’t find your happiness without knowing what really matters to you.

There’s a lot to this of course. Much more than a blog’s worth. Which is why I talk about how to have your own version of a happy life, in my upcoming book about beauty, life, and lifelong happiness.

There are lots of good ways people say you can boost your happiness, like not over-comparing yourself with others. But, without a powerfully good reason, that’s far harder to skip than it sounds (especially if it’s a long term practice).

Failing that, most of us settle for what we are told a happy life looks like. Which, as it happens, never allows for a down day, the odd hissy fit, or even the occasional need for a “mental health day.”

But I believe a real life needs to include room for these things too. Not because you want them so much as you need them. It’s part of being real. To me, when you can be real you have a much better chance of being truly happy. You don’t have to be some rubbery-nosed clown, “out there” billionaire, or glamorous movie model (though, if anyone happens to be all of these things, I hope they are happy). Being your self with a reason to do well with your life is infinitely more important. And you know what? It’s also a lot more satisfying than anything else on offer.


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