What do you think of when you hear the word, “happiness”? I imagine the bright sunshine, no worries, sipping margaritas, and depression being a dimly lit memory.
When I began on my spiritual journey a little over a year ago, I will admit: I thought my fantasy of happiness would happen simultaneously. However, that has not been the case. Overall, I have not been happier. But why do I still so often feel low and depressed? Sometimes, it even feels as if I am sliding backward.
Maybe you can relate. As I am often stuck in my own head over-analyzing everything, I did some deep thinking to determine if I can even call myself happy. Through pondering and asking people close to me I have come to a conclusion. Happiness isn’t the absence of sadness, it’s the frequency of the moments that bring you peace. The frequency of your experienced happiness.
What is happiness?
We each have our ups and downs, some more than others. But to be human is not to live in a state of eternal bliss. As humans, we experience all the range of emotions and to be alive. So, to be happy. To start, I think it is important to say that you define your own happiness.
What is happiness? Picture this: a twenty-something on a Friday night in her first apartment happy crying to the movie To all the boys I’ve loved before while her precious cat is sleeping next to her.
To me, that is a moment of happiness. It isn’t so much the what, it is the how does it make me feel. It’s a feeling that feels so at peace that at that moment all the negative experiences are meaningless. I began experiencing this feeling sometime last year and I feel it frequently now. At first, I desperately chased this feeling, but now I am no longer chasing because I know it’s right around the corner.
Happiness can not be traditionally seen
We have always been obsessed with looking happy. Now, in the age of social media, we feel we have to show it to everyone all of the time. Monetary wealth and happiness often are thought to complete each other. Do not get me wrong, I can personally say that better finances have helped me to reach some moments of happiness. But, money itself is not happiness. So money can buy you things that can help make you happy? Yes, but think about these things money can buy and what about it makes you happy?
For example, last year I went to a concert for the first time again in three years. Having the funds to attend gave me that feeling of happiness. In this situation, the excitement and independence I felt are what evoked the feeling of pure happiness. So, really ask yourself. What makes you feel happy. Get to the root of the emotion.
Seeing happiness as a feeling and not a state of being has allowed me to feel happier. On my mental health journey, I used to be so focused on curing my depression, anxiety, and BPD. In my head, I saw to be happy those things could not exist. Being happy does not mean you are never sad and being sad does not mean you will never have happiness.
Learning to find moments of happiness in any situation has helped me work harder and dream again. Being happy can look like giving yourself radical self-love, setting boundaries, or anything you decide. So, I will ask once more. what is happiness? Follow that feeling.