If I had a nickel for all of the incidences where I have heard that it is impossible for us to be happy all of the time, I would be the richest woman in the world. If I believed it, I would be the poorest. I know it is possible for us to be happy all of the time, because I am and have come to believe it is our natural state of being. Sad and angry moments happen, but they need not take over life or cancel out happiness.
I attended a recent presentation given by the counseling center at the university where I work. The topic was how to deal with “Students of Concern.” In my mind that covers the entire student population because I care about them all; I have for more than thirty years. The speaker’s message, certainly well meaning, was centered on the pressure on our young people today. She made it a point to announce that no one can be happy all the time. And inside I was thinking, “I am. Am I really the only one?” There has to be a more hopeful message we can pass on to the next generation.
Once hindered by fear and doubt, I now confidently feel that we are supposed to be happy. Why else does it feel so good to laugh out loud, smile at a fond memory and be inspired by something I enjoy, so I found a way to maintain this state for myself. The driving force is my desire to be joyfully uplifted rather than paralyzed by misery. In my worst moments of depression, I knew that even with the assistance of others, no one could ultimately help me but myself, so I created a process. By giving careful contemplation to what brings me pleasure, diverting my thoughts away from the negative and devoting my attention and time only to that which gives me personal fulfillment, happiness became my priority. I’ve heard it said, “We all have to do what we don’t like to do.” My response to that is to find a way to make it fun or find someone who likes to do it and invite them to join me. Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy!
The world is filled with negativity, gloom and doom, uncertain futures and things that cause stress and anxiety. I was drowning in that until I faced the fact that it has always been that way. Yet it is also sparkling with goodness, beauty and light, caring people; life to be cherished and grateful for in the moment. That is what I have learned to embrace. It is simply a matter of focus and choice. Really.
It took a considerable amount of conditioning and reprogramming to reclaim my natural inclination to happiness. I had to backtrack with reflection, shift from mass communication to personal contact, separate myself from the media, disconnect from devices and reconnect with my friends, family and fellow human beings. Once I took care of that I was able to look around and open my heart to what had never left me…my inclination toward kindness, inner joy and ability to be happy all the time. To describe that in one four letter word: Love.
The pursuit of perpetual happiness is a reachable and worthwhile journey if you truly desire to walk that path. And when you land there, I promise you will know it, and don’t let any person, circumstance or diagnosis talk you out of it.
Remember, when driven by love and steering toward brightness, you always move forward into goodness. And happiness.