Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Happiness

It seems like a big topic to handle, and maybe it is. But I also don't think happiness is all that complicated. I think happiness is defined differently by different people and that some think happiness is nothing but joyful feelings or having a smile on your face.  Am I joyful in happy moments sometimes? Absolutely. Do I smile during happy moments? You bet I do.  For me, though, happiness is about contentment with my life. It's a feeling and a sense that I am doing what I'm meant to be and I'm where I'm supposed to be in that moment. It's a feeling of peace and ease with life. That sense of being in the flow of life.

There seems to be a belief in modern society that one has to be happy all of the time. I'm not sure where or when that started, but I don't think it's a natural state for humans to be happy all the time.  Sad things happen in life and part of being able to deal with it and let go is feeling the sadness.  I also think we wouldn't appreicate the good times nearly as much if we were happy all the time.  But we've been sold the idea of happiness looking a certain way and we've been sold on the idea that if you're not happy all the time there is something "wrong"--something needing to be fixed.

Do I think there are genuine times when people need some chemical intervention? Yes. But I think we've oversimplified the solution to bringing ourselves out of the depths.  I've been seriously depressed several times in my life and have gotten through them. My latest one was three years ago. I was sitting on my couch sobbing, and I thought to myself "I'd rather die than be in this much pain."  It was a scary wake-up call for me.  I had never before considered death as an option.  I realized something had to be done. I got into therapy, I started making changes in my life and slowly, gradually, I started to feel better. Today, I'm the most content and self-aware as I've ever been in my life.

"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances."
- Martha Washington


  1. Happiness is a state of mind:)
    Great A-Z post!

  2. I think Martha had it right! I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month.

  3. It's not about denying our feelings of sadness or depression. FOR ME, it's about doing something about them. I have zero patience for whiners. My philosophy is - IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, FIX IT. So if I were severely depressed, I would seek intervention and medical attention to FIX IT. I'm generally happy in my life because I take the steps necessary to fix my problems. It's those people who love to complain, but then do nothing to change whatever it is they're complaining about, who I have no patience for. YOU are an example of someone who took the measures necessary to heal your depression. THAT is what I admire.

  4. I went through a period of deep depression a few years back. I had always been the guy that also said "pull your self out of it!" and as a professional psychologist I knew how much a positive mental attitude helps.

    Yet I still got hit by a (metaphorical) truck.

    I did pull myself out, but it took a long time and it took help from my wife.

    I am trying to read all the A to Z blogs, but coming back to the ones I really like.
    Looking forward to seeing what you do all month!

    The Other Side
    The Freedom of Nonbelief


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