Image by Ashish Bogawat from Pixabay
Are you happy?
Are you happy? When a friend recently asked me this question, I had to consider how to respond. It's a simple question but I have almost never been able to answer it with a clear "yes" or "no", at least not without a preamble or explanation of some sort.
What really is happiness? How does one find it, create it or hold on to it? And why as a society are we so obsessed with it?
I've given the happiness question a lot of thought of late, and I've realised that happiness is like a fluffy cloud: ephemeral and impossible to catch.
My happiest moments occurred when I least expected them and was living in the moment. Those moments now live in my memory and are unlikely to ever be recreated exactly as I remember them. I embellish them, making them even more vivid and colourful on the canvas of my mind. Is it any wonder that most of us had our happiest times as children? It was the one time most of us experienced life at its spontaneous best - free from care and responsibility.
The second, less obvious revelation to me was that happiness is merely a subset of joy. Joy lives inside of every one of us as our inner child. Like the sun, it is always there, even when we're not aware of its presence. Happiness tends to be more circumstantial, caused by events or interactions. Joy manifests itself in many different forms - love, laughter, tears, excitement, contentment, peace, and of course happiness. Even the feeling of sweet melancholy sparked by the wonder that is our life and the world we live in can be viewed as a subset of joy.
Joy is about harmony. It is about balance and feeling in the flow. And because it is inside us, we don't have to look to others or go very far to find it.
If you knew that you were the sky, and in your vastness lay galaxies, the sun, the stars, the moon and much more, would you obsess over that wispy cloud that was simply passing through?
So, am I happy? I can be. But I no longer mind if I am not.
Do I feel joy? Yes. I do. Even when I am feeling any of the myriad of negative emotions such as sadness, frustration, anger and shame. My joy is a mere mental switch and a simple change of emotional gear away.
Reconnect with your joy. Use this link to book a coaching conversation with me to gain insights on how you can live with your joy and stop chasing happiness.