On How To Be Happy (& Other Impossible Questions To Answer)


How does one become happy? Is it with things? With people? With adventure? This is a question that has plagued my mind since I was old enough to realize that unhappiness was constantly lurking behind corners, ready to pounce the second you forgot that decisions have consequences. This summer has become a big turning point for me in figuring out the kind of person I am and what I want out of life, however, that's not to say that it will undoubtedly lead to happiness. It seems to me like we are always taught to let go of the negatives and focus on the positives, but when you have anxiety that's not as easy to do as it would be for others. The negatives make much more of an impact on your life; give you more excitement in a sense because there's always something you need to be looking out for. Your senses are heightened to the point that any slight inconvenience or less-than-favourable situation can send you on a spiral of uncontrollable fear and worry. 

Starting therapy in late March of 2018 was my way of trying to help myself lose some of the anxiety and replace it with my version of happiness. Much like someone renovating their home, I realized that the structural damage to my psyche was worse than I had thought and would take more time to work on. I tend to like finishing things relatively quickly by putting all of my effort into them for a short amount of time, but I soon realized that I wouldn't be able to do that when designing my happiness. I would have to face a lot of uncomfortable topics that are weighing me down and learn to approach confrontation in a different, more productive way. For someone that has anxiety about change, changing myself this drastically is terrifying in and of itself. Throughout the entire process I realized that I hadn't been putting the effort into myself to be happy, rather I was just expecting it to happen once I got a new job or bought that new thing. It's been quite scary to realize that happiness isn't that easy to attain, but it is simple. The simple part comes when you take a step back and truly recognize what it is that you are putting between yourself and your happiness. This 'thing' is different for everyone, but most likely creates the same experience that leads to blog posts like this, movies on the topic, autobiographical novels, and other forms of art that try their best to represent this common human occurrence. 

Happiness is elusive and most likely not how we expect to look when searching for it from a distance. Some say ultimate happiness is contentment with life while others say it's a constant feeling of elation - I can't really say because I don't think I've taken the time to consider what happiness means to me and whether I'm experiencing it in the moment or not. Does it tap you on the shoulder to let you know when it's there? Is there a chance you might miss its appearance? Or maybe happiness is always there like a low, underlying hum to your every day, mundane life, pushing you forward and directing you towards what you want. I'm hoping to answer all these questions for myself at some point, but I'm sure that this type of wisdom will take more time than I expect and will require me to step out of my comfort zone much more than I have already. 

What are your thoughts on happiness?