Happiness is a funny one. If we aren’t feeling completely positive at one moment or two, we feel the need to find happiness, wherever we can. But why do we feel like that?
I struggle with believing in the concept of happiness. And maybe that sentence makes me sound like I’m not very happy – but I am, very happy, but maybe not in the way that you’d expect or in the way that’s sold to you by the media and those around you. Happiness to me, isn’t a state of being. I don’t wake up as the happiest human on earth. It’s not something that I am constantly; nor is it something that I aspire to always be. Because I’m human, I’m not a robot and I certainly don’t ever want to adhere to the idea that we should always ‘be’ how society wants us to be. I fear writing this that some may not ‘get it’, that you may think I’m being negative about happiness and it’s the wrong way to look at it. And I understand that, but I probably don’t believe in the things that you do. And that’s OK – we don’t have to be the same, but there’s meaning in my words, just like there’s meaning in yours.
Growing up as a teenager there was always this idea amongst family and friends that happiness was being care-free. It was a state of mind, it meant you loved being adventurous and you couldn’t wait to get outside into the world. Everyone seemed happy, everyone seemed to have their life together. But playing that role just isn’t me.
For me, happiness isn’t about being care-free, because I am not. I have things I worry about, things that mean something and take time to process and I am human; meaning I have many emotions everyday and some of them absolutely aren’t complete happiness. But they are contentment, excitement, warmth, generosity, love. The list goes on.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve experienced a real range of emotions and as most of you know, I struggle at times, with anxiety. Does anxiety take away my ‘happiness’? It used to if you don’t like your mind to be so explosive. Does it now? No. Because I’m not striving to be something I’m not. I’m not hoping that tomorrow I’ll be size 8 and really love eating kale & the gym. Maybe that will happen someday but it’s not a goal of mine. My goal is to be surrounded by people who love me and for those that I love to feel loved. That’s it. The rest is a cherry on the top. So you imagine my delight when I get an iced coffee on a summer morning – that stuff is the cherry. That stuff is the luxury, the unnecessary for my emotional health but the absolute bringer of joy and comfort.
Mental health is a subject I want to touch on here. Because if we didn’t all constantly seek to be or want something else, maybe we would all find contentment in ourselves and mental health issues may not be so rife. When people say ‘oh just accept yourself’, it sounds so simple! But it’s not.
Because how we really feel about ourselves is a build up of years and years of influence from those around us and doesn’t often come from self acceptance and appreciation.
So maybe don’t aim for accepting yourself, because if you ask me it’s unrealistic and nobody tells you how. Because they don’t know.
Maybe aim for waking and appreciating that you can have a shower, that your friend has sent you a message and they’re thinking of you, that your cat is purring, that your partner is smiling. Because that’s what life is really about and at least once of those things can be achievable every single day.