I have a question. I know it’s none of my business but I really want to know. It’s not an easy question to answer. Normally when someone asks you this question your instinct is to lie. Sometimes it catches you off guard.
Sometimes you drive yourself crazy asking it of yourself.
To me it is THE question. It’s the only one that matters. Achievements, accomplishments, money, family, friends and possessions aside…none of it matters when it comes to this.
Okay, here it is…
Are you happy?
I know, annoying right? Are you happy. Is anyone happy? What does it mean to be happy? Is happiness even a goal? Is being in a constant state of happiness achievable?
To me, happiness is not a state of being. Happiness is a feeling. It comes and goes, like sadness and anger. So to ask someone if they are happy is a false choice. Happy vs unhappy. I don’t believe either of these is possible as a constant.
I’ve annoyed you by asking the question so I’ll show how I deal with it. I’ll ask myself and you’ll understand why I think it’s a silly question to ask.
Am I happy?
Happy isn’t how I’d describe myself. Satisfied? Yes. Fulfilled? Yes. Happy? No.
Happiness comes and goes. I have moments of happiness. It comes and goes. I’ve felt happy several times today and then I’ve felt sad, frustrated, tired, overwhelmed, cranky, lonely…
I go through so many feelings more than once each day. This is normal.
I am happy with individual things. I’m happy with work but I’m not happy with how cold it is on the bus each morning. I’m happy with my family but I’m not happy with their behaviour at bedtime. I’m happy with my marriage but I’m not happy with how my husband hardly helps out around the home. I’m happy with my home but I’m not happy that we are only renting. I’m happy with how I look but I’m not happy that it seems to be deteriorating at a rate of knots as I approach forty. I’m happy with my health but I’m not happy that it takes me three weeks to recover from exercise-induced-injuries.
So, are you happy?
Or, may I ask, are you satisfied?
We are all a work-in-progress. We are a work-in-progress until we take our last breath. One of the motivating forces for life is the search for happiness. It’s the search, the process, the seeking, the consideration and the hope that makes life worth living and when those moments of happiness come it’s great, when they go we can look forward to the next.
Next question, the last one, I promise.
What do you think it will take to make you happy? We all have something.
To be fair, I’ll go first.
I will be happy when we own our own home again. It’s my current motivation for everything and once we have that home I’ll have another happiness goal that I’ll focus on.
So, what is your happiness goal? I really hope it isn’t a weight goal because trust me, you’ll never be completely satisfied with that. Instead of a specific goal I prefer a weight window – a five kilo window of weight in which you are happy to hover.
Is it a career goal? Have you ever really tried to get the career of your dreams. It’s never too late. I’ve met and interviewed EVERYONE. Trust me when I say anyone can be anything and you can STILL achieve your secret dream.
Is your happiness goal financial. Come up with a plan. Financial goals are great, especially when you can see exactly how to get there and be confident in your process.
Do you want to get married or have kids? I have seen people jump through some incredible hoops to achieve these. Nothing should stand in your way. Never give up. Never.
It’s Friday night. The weekend looms. Tomorrow is ultra-busy and I won’t be happy as we race around cramming it all in. On days like tomorrow when the kids have more activities than I do in a week, I consider myself a facilitator of happiness. I facilitate my children’s happiness. At night once it’s all done I’ll be happy that the day went well. Then that feeling will go and be replaced with fatigue or another fleeting feeling.
I have a project for you. This weekend think about your happiness goals. What are they? Don’t be afraid. Say them, at least to yourself. Write them down even. Because they are worth it. They are achievable. And you too can be the happiest you can be.
Then, when someone asks you, “Are you happy?” you can say, “I’m as happy as I can be, thanks. And you?”
La Dolce Vita,