“If you think this world as a place intended simply for your happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad” C.S. Lewis
I don’t know if your like me, but I’ve spent most of my life trying to figure out happy. I mean generally, yes I am, but deep down in the gut of things I search, I dissect and I yearn for the true meaning of that word. I could spend hours and pages listing the likes of what has made me unhappy in my life, but have trouble finding just a few sentences to describe the real “happy’ I think I deserve.
“Deserve”, I love that word. I tend to throw it around quite often. I deserve, and I most definitely deserve happy. Happy should be sitting on a silver platter waiting for me each day to pick it up and carry it around with me. I think because of my struggles, my obstacles and the hurt and pain I’ve endured I should be given happy as a gift, wrapped in pretty paper and tied neatly with a bow. But is that a backwards way of thinking? To think that my happiness should be measured by the things that have made me unhappy? Happiness is there, it always has been, and yes it is a gift, but its not so much I deserve it, as its mine to have anytime I want it, as much as I can handle of it. It’s just going to take some practice. Maybe because once I have it I’m not quite sure what to do with it, how to handle it, nurture it, make it grow.
You can’t just think about being happy, you have to live being happy. Habits are replaced with habits. All the stuff you do to yourself that makes you unhappy, makes you feel bad about yourself, weather it be negative self talk, overeating, not making it to the gym today, not enough time with your loved ones, relationships that don’t serve you, over working, saying yes, when you wanted to say no, too much time staring at your phone, tv or whatever other source you use to blur out life. Those things can only be replaced by other habits. Good ones. They’re not hard to figure out, they just seem hard to stick to, to nail down and say, “Today I make me happy”. It’s easier just to fall back onto the old bad habit. We’re comfortable there. It snuggles us like a warm blanket. Good lord, throw off the blanket and go live your life! Easier said than done? Yes I know, I want to go crawl back under the blanket at the end of the day as well.
The reality is I am given the gift every day to correct old behaviors, learn new ways to happiness. There may always be times where things feel so heavy, so impossible, so unfair and that I feel I have no control over what is happening. But can I learn to make it through those times looking back and knowing I’m stronger, wiser and maybe even a better person because of them? Can I be grateful for every moment? I mean every single one? Because they all hold lessons, they all hold opportunities for growth, for correction, for change. Do I appreciate all the little things? Things I take for granted like the sun shining, and the slow steady breathing of my dog pressed next to me as I type this?
Happiness is mine, it’s yours. It’s deliberate and a choice. In the messy, piercing ache of now happiness is possible, its always present waiting for us to take hold of it. Why did I select the photo above for this post? You can see the joy in this photograph, you can see the now. Stop right where you are, look inside yourself and choose now, choose happy. There you go, see that, you just practiced. Now let’s get good at it.