I went to the doctor’s office last week because I was feeling ill. For a week I had a cough and sore throat and couldn’t seem to shake it off. My doctor, who reminds me of your typical brunette New York foreigner who speaks what’s on her mind, looked at me and told me ‘You don’t look happy.’ In my mind I said to myself ‘of course I don’t look happy, my body is a mucus factory. After talking a bit more she mentioned it again. ‘You don’t look happy. Do you think you could be dealing with depression?’ At this point I started to think maybe she was on to something. Am I ‘not happy’?
Have you ever meet a person that was always cheerful? Always smiling and laughing? Always positive and doesn’t seem to let many things bother them? That is not me. I am an emotional shit storm and I don’t have a poker face. I know I wear my emotions on my sleeve, so when she mentioned the fact that I didn’t look happy for a second time I began to evaluate myself. And it didn’t take me long to realize that she was right. I'm not happy.
I’ve experienced a few setbacks this year. 2014 has been a doozy for me, albeit things could be worse. But at this moment, I can truly say I am not happy. I am not unhappy either. I would prefer to describe myself as indifferent. (That makes sense, right?) I get happy about certain things but deep down, I am not happy. There is no joy in my soul. My life is filled with mundane tasks and stress thinking about my future.
While my doctor was just probing, her statement made me think. I'm not sure if I realized that I wasn't happy. For a while now I've just been doing my daily routine, desperately searching for a new job, trying to manage my tight budget (in which I have not been successful), rebuilding broken friendships (because I realized that I wasn't as good of a friend as I thought I was) and spending time with my semi dysfunctional family. So, one simple statement from my doctor made me stop and think about what it means to be happy, how to obtain happiness, and how to retain it.
One thing I know for sure is that some people have to work harder to be happy compared to others. Some people are just naturally happy. They naturally have the ability to not sweat the small stuff. In my case, and I believe most Americans, being happy is literally a pursuit. We are constantly seeking the things to bring enjoyment to our lives. But we find ourselfs still not quite fullfilled. We run around in some sort of ungrateful and prilvilged mind set which causes us to sweat the small stuff and not appreciate the little things in life. Usually, It’s not until something devastating happens, like the loss of a loved one, when most people try to put things into perspective. But what if we worked daily to put things into perspective? What if every day we committed ourselves to happiness?
Joseph Campbell says that happiness requires self-analysis. In my case, I know what triggers me and my emotional swings. I have a tendency to react harshly and defensively. I tend to see the negative in most situations and create conflict within myself. I know that I have many fucked up aspects to me, but the good news is that I KNOW these things. And I know what it takes for me to be happy but sometimes it easier to just bitch and complain, dwell in the misery.
Lately, I have been trying to let go of my pride. Why is it so hard to say ‘I am sorry’? Why is it so hard to be the bigger person? I look back and I realized that on those few occasions where I swallowed my pride and apologized or made a mends, those are the times I allowed myself peace within my heart. I sought after happiness in those moments of humbling myself. So, we have to think of those things that prevents us from being happy. Pride. Control. Arrogance.
So I am kicking of this Thanksgiving week on a pursuit for happiness and I want you to join me. Here is what we have to do.
1) Discover the things that prevents you from being happy and how can you remove these things from your life.
2) Determine what makes you happy and how to internalize this happiness.
It’s easy to look at all the bad in this world. It’s easy to get sucked into negativity. But this is where you dig deep and you remind yourself that the only thing/person that can make you happy is YOU! You have all the power. It takes work. It may be the hardest thing in life you will ever have to work towards (because our internal demons are the hardest to slay) but consider it a journey and at the end of the day, it will only enhance your life on this earth. Because at the end of the day, your mind is the only thing you have.