There are over 22,000 self-help books about happiness on Amazon. But happiness alone doesn’t make a full human experience. And “happiness” always sounds kind of generic, like “sunshine”, “blue skies”, and “vanilla”.
We’re each a complex mix of messy emotions that can range from exhilaration and joy to anger and fear about our crazy world and politics with moments of peace in between. And exhaustion, that wonderful feeling that comes after a day of new adventures, challenges and accomplishments; a day fully lived.
Is happiness really our natural state? Are we doing something wrong if we’re not feeling happy every second? What if our quest was to be fully alive instead. To be fully ourselves. To make a difference in peoples’ lives. To dedicate ourselves to being forces for good in the world. To feel all of our feelings and know that they’re all okay.
Instead of “fixing” ourselves when we’ve had a bad day or stressing ourselves out more because we’re not feeling especially happy (like all of our friends on Social Media) we can appreciate the beauty of being alive, even if it means we’ll have moments of pain. Or anxiety. Or sadness. Or anger. We’re human after all. We feel. We hurt. We love. We have the capacity to care. Deeply.
Rather than making happiness some goal in the future or long term plan, how about being present for the experiencing the simple everyday pleasures we often miss? Look around you. Where can you find pleasure and beauty and miracles? The first sip of coffee in the morning. A kitty curled up against your thigh. The sun on your cheek. Â A warm breeze blowing through your hair and tickling your skin. The rain that’s soaking our city when we’re in the middle of a drought.
Let’s enjoy happiness when it comes and stop judging the rest of our feelings. Remember that Social Media is not the whole truth. Its usually the curated parts people want you to see. Let’s see happiness as a by-product of being true to ourselves, but know it’s not the full life experience. Let’s make our goal to live fully, to take on new adventures, to do things that create meaning in our lives, andÂ to have deep connections with others.