My whole life I’ve struggled with being happy – or at least with being happy for any extended period of time. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. At times happiness seems like this elusive thing, in our grasp for one fleeting moment at a time.
When I was a child I was mocked and ridiculed for my weight, for my goody-two-shoe-edness, for my hair, my dimples, and for things I never quite figured out. At three different times I had friends turn on me and then endeavour to get our other friends to shut me out too. I had no idea why.
I’ve wondered if those experiences in my formative years set me up to be a generally unhappy person or, as my husband jokingly says, an emotional swinger. I have moments of elation but they’re often followed by moments of sadness, discontent, and listlessness. One thing goes right and I ride on that wave for awhile but inevitably some uninvited circumstance slithers my way and pulls me under with it. When this happens things that would usually only cause a moment of frustration or disappointment can pile on top of each other and leave me feeling completely hopeless.
Now, this isn’t an all the time thing but it happens enough, and sometimes for long enough periods of time, that for years I wouldn’t have called myself a happy person. That’s changing. I think this has something to do with finally deciding to follow my dreams and fully commit to that, even though it’s scary. I think it also has something to do with a book that is taking me a ridiculous amount of time to read but that gives me amazing insights when I do.
Last week in The Power of Now I read about the person who says, “When I obtain this or am free of that – then I will be okay.” And it struck me that that’s basically how I have been living my life. I am incredibly blessed in so many ways. I have so much good in my life but so often I let what I don’t have or what’s going wrong overshadow what’s going right. On a subconscious level I think this one thing needs to change for me to be happy. But the thing is, when that one thing does change there’s always going to be another one thing. I’ve railed to myself in the past – why can’t I be content, be happy with where I am and what I have at this moment? I’m finally starting to …
Close your eyes – seriously. Give it a try. (Okay, you’ll have to open your eyes to read what comes next but then close them.)Feel your body, feel yourself inside your body. Is there anything you truly need at this moment? Truly? Be really honest. Think about the word ‘need’ in it’s most basic form. I doubt there’ll be many of you who don’t already have whatever it is you really need. You’ve got life – and what’s more important and precious than that? You are complete, just as you are.
Now hold onto that feeling – you’ve got everything you need – right here, right now. You are alive. Isn’t that awesome? Isn’t that wonderful? Everything else is just frosting on the cake.
If you can’t be happy in this moment there’s a good chance nothing else will bring you happiness either – at least not that lasting happiness we all hope for. So focus on the now. And the next time you feel that little slithering hand trying to pull you down under into the doldrums go back to this moment, take a deep breath, and realize that you can choose to let that thing pull you under or you can simply acknowledge it’s presence – maybe it sucks, maybe it’s awful, maybe it’s really hard – but know it’s not you and it doesn’t have to define you.
Do you believe you can be happy – right now – despite your circumstances? Have you ever struggled to be content with where you are or what you have in life – how did you rediscover joy? Please share in the comments below!