Happy day to you all! So at this moment, it is a Friday afternoon…what could be better?? As I sit here on the precipice of the weekend, eating my delicious Açaí Mango bowl from Nektar, I am drawn to a question. What does it mean to be happy? How do you know you have reached happiness? Is happiness a singular event that occurs then you are essentially happy for the rest of you life? Or, is it more of a progression that you work towards and maintain?
In my humblest of opinions I believe that happiness is not something that comes as a singularity but, is worked at and achieved throughout life. Let me explain. My parents have often told me that marriage is hard and takes tremendous amounts of work to keep going. I often ask, “Do you have a happy marriage?” And without a second thought they always respond with a resounding YES! I feel like personal happiness is a lot like a marriage. It’s not something that comes easily and there will be hard times where you won’t feel happy, or you feel like you are progressing but you will still be happy if you continue to work at it.
Now, I have never been married so it makes it hard for me to draw comparisons between marriage and happiness so let me give you one more example. I grew up in a house full of wrestlers; it is in our blood and it is what we do. Not to brag, but I was the only one of my 3 brothers to ever win a state title. Having played numerous sports (Football, Soccer, Swimming, Volleyball, Track, Baseball, Rugby to name a few), I can honestly say that none of them compare to the difficulty of wrestling mentally or physically, though rugby did come close. I never worked harder at anything, as my high GPA will confirm, as I did with wrestling. Honestly, most days I would question myself and my motives. Why am I doing this? Why am I working so hard and not seeing any results? There were high points: winning a tournament here or beating someone ranked higher than me. But there were also low points: getting upset by someone ranked lower than me, or getting injured. But as I look back at my wrestling career, I can truly say I was happy with everything that happened. The lows taught me what not to do and the highs gave me something to aim for. I think true happiness is very similar to that. We have our times when things don’t go right, or the way we want, and that makes us sad; but they are opportunities to learn and grow. These moments gives us a greater appreciation and understanding of what it is to be happy. We have high moments when we get that promotion or new career or we get to go on that dream vacation. Those are the moments that can carry us through the lows.
So what does it mean to be happy? Honestly I couldn’t tell you; I am still working on what happiness means to me. I can, however, tell you that happiness is not something that just happens. It is something that is worked towards, it is something that everyone needs, and it is not a one time event that has to be replicated for you to continue to be happy. It is a series of events that will lead to a general feeling of happiness that will last only as long as you continue to work towards it. Everyone defines happiness differently, so it is not something that you can copy from another. YOU must work to define it and work for it.
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Take some time and think about what makes you happy and what you can do to improve the quality of happiness in your life.