Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Secret to Happiness

Image from vitamina-ce.com


I used to think some people were just born happy.  That a peaceful and passive existence was bestowed upon them genetically somehow.  And that conversely, I was defective, because I wasn't born that way. I was always the sullen, inhibited girl trapped inside her own head, consumed by her fears.  That was until I learned the secret to happiness.  Which is,  it's a hell of a lot of work.

Near the end of my book I write about happiness.  And how American culture is consumed with it.  Or, rather, the appearance of it. Because our culture is also overly consumed with appearances.  Just browse all the perfectly filtered smiles on Instagram and Pinterest so you can instantly feel like you don't measure up.   And need to see a cosmetic dentist and abuse whitening strips.  

Funny thing, once I gave up striving for happiness through perfection, I immediately felt relieved.  And in that reprieve, you guessed it, I felt content.  Happy even.  Now, I own my imperfections.  Flaunt them even from time to time.  But acceptance alone isn't enough.

And here's where the work comes in.  Every day we all make choices.  Hundreds of small choices.  And each of those contribute to either feeling good or feeling like crap.  Thus adding to your overall cumulative happiness or slowly chipping away at your self worth.  So eating three bowls of ice cream  in one sitting is a large divot.  Walking your dog or bike riding with your kids is a double word score in Scrabble.  And if you play Scrabble with them afterward then it's a triple word score.  I'm not sure there even is a triple word score, but there should be. 

Maybe this sounds too simplistic.  But it's always the things that sound easy that are the hardest to execute and integrate into our lives. I will be the first to admit,  I make tons of mistakes every day.  (I ate the equivalent of 3 servings of Jade's homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream just last night and I'm not gonna lie, my stomach is killing me and I feel like shit right now.)  The thing is, I own my choices now.  They don't own me.  I choose to be happy or at least mildly content every day.  

So now if you see me out in public, I will inevitably be bumbling something up.  That's nothing new. But nowadays, I just might be doing it with a smile on my face.  Unless I choose not to.  And that's ok too.




10 comments:

Maria Boice said...

Love it! I too like feeling happy, but it's hard to get there some days. I was so stressed about my son graduating (he did, btw) that our vacation soon thereafter was extremely fun. The trip was a celebration of a relief of stress. I had so much fun with my great hubby and kids. However, when I arrived home, I found a note from the animal cops. A neighbor (that I also know from church) had called them because my dogs barked too loud. He's kind of a constant complaining kind of guy- opposite of happy. I stewed over and was mad about his crabby nature and complaint for a few days. Then I decided- Hey, man! I'm not going to let him get me down. I'm not going to let his crabby-ness make me crabby! I'm going to enjoy the memories we created on our summer trip. I'm going to enjoy my summer. I'm gonna be happy, dangit!

The Loerzels said...

@ Maria-Good for you! I do the exact same thing, I stew for about 3 days before I can let things go. I'm so glad you have a graduate and had a fantastic vacation!

The Loerzels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Loerzels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Loerzels said...

@ Maria-Good for you! I do the exact same thing, I stew for about 3 days before I can let things go. I'm so glad you have a graduate and had a fantastic vacation!

The Loerzels said...

@ Maria-Good for you! I do the exact same thing, I stew for about 3 days before I can let things go. I'm so glad you have a graduate and had a fantastic vacation!

The Loerzels said...

@ Maria-Good for you! I do the exact same thing, I stew for about 3 days before I can let things go. I'm so glad you have a graduate and had a fantastic vacation!

Joy Page Manuel said...

"I own my choices now. They don't own me" ---- LOVE that part! There's so much wisdom in this, Marie. You're right. Achieving happiness is truly hard word; constant work at that. Most importantly, I think it's important for us to be clear what happiness is for each of us. It's certainly not a one size fits all concept/ reality. We need to have the courage to define how it shows up for us, rather than following others' criteria.

Thanks for this 'happy' post!

Global Chemical Unlimited said...

If Happy Fun Ball begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head!!

The Loerzels said...

@Joy-Thank you! I own a lot of shit right now. But I don't have much to show for it.
@GCU-I KNOW THIS IS YOU GARY! And I also know that my duplicate comments are driving you insane. I deleted a few, but I left the rest and dedicate them to you :)

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