Oof. Happiness. The one thing we chase and yet can never seem to keep. Happiness is a tricky term with it's multi-dimensional, multi-faceted, transcendent ways and an emotional I once believed was unattainable, especially for me. Here's the ugly truth. I'm not here to BS you. Or paint a pretty little picture for you. At thirty-two, I've taken 252,288,000 breaths of this ever pervading atmosphere. Some of those breaths have been magnificently breathtaking and others... debilitating. Some of those breaths in my thirty-two years hold painful moments of rape, sexual coercion, addiction, depression, suicide, homelessness, betrayal, childhood abuse, PTSD, domestic violence, job loss, marital separation...the list could go on. I've been to treatment twice, attempted to win the accolades, attention, and affection from others through perfection, performance, and pleasing and betrayed every ounce of my soul along the way to experience this fleeting emotion.
Yet it never lingered; like water, it would seep through my weary hands, leaving me desperate to begin searching again. So I stopped searching. The biggest fallacy I believed is that happiness is outside of me. Based on what I obtain, achieve, encounter, or seize. To some degree, we all believe this. We are bombarded and brainwashed to think we have to pursue something outside of us to feel "happy."
We subconsciously (or consciously) say "I'll be happy when______________." You fill in the blank. When I lose 10 pounds, finally forgive them, make partner, open my practice, get my master's degree, buy a new tesla, gain more followers, have my dream wedding, have a baby, let go of my past, land my dream job, go on that date... nevertheless if and when we actually achieve these desires we find ourselves hollow.
The truth is, sincerely happy people are never the victims of their circumstances. They realize they have ultimate power in any situation and take responsibility for their experiences, thoughts, attitudes, downfalls, failures, strengths, and feelings.
At any given moment, they know they have the power to be happy. How?
Because happiness is based upon our current "happenings." Happiness is directly tied to our external circumstances and, like with any emotion, is directly linked to our deepest beliefs towards our most vulnerable selves. Happiness is a by-product of our thought life. It is not something we chase, pursue, or find, but something we nurture and grow within the depths of our souls, without contingencies or prerequisites. This shows up differently for everyone; happiness is not one-size-fits-all. It is profoundly personal.
For me, happiness transformed into unapologetic joy when I stopped looking outside of myself for permission to live the life I wanted to live. When I stopped playing small and allowing fear to control me, I outgrew the person I thought I was supposed to be and decided to start living life on my terms, even if people thought I was batshit crazy. This... this made me happy.
Indeed, happiness showed up in the most extraordinary ways when I finally embraced the certainty that joy and sorrow are two sides of the same coin. I cannot have one without the other. I embraced the chaos and discovered I could bounce back faster than before. I learned to feel my way through my own darkness and saw I was no longer stagnant. I began to sit with fear, self-doubt, and weakness and began to experience happiness.
Happiness is created. It moves, lives, and resides in the mundane everyday moments we often take for granted.
The delicate softness of my daughter's milky white cheeks pressed upon my lips - is happiness.
Observing my spouse break down the enormous pile of Costco boxes and dispose of them in the recycling - is happiness.
Hearing the boisterous laughter of my sister as she sips on her Hazy IPA - is happiness.
The essence of juniper and balsam cedar wafting through my century-old home - is happiness.
My lungs burning with cold air as I run - is happiness.
Pursuing the things that scare me most - is happiness.
Embracing that I am a FIERCE BADDIE with a wild heart who has the tenacity to tame even the most turbulent storms - is happiness.
Generously and cheerfully giving my time, energy, and resources to those around me because I genuinely want to - is happiness.
Changing my world one coaching session at a time - is happiness.
Happiness is what I wield it to be, and no one or nothing can take that away from me. That is what makes me happy.