Don’t just pursue happiness, Own it!


It is hard to believe we are half way through February of 2013 already.  So far I give 2013 two thumbs up. New Years is naturally a time to simultaneously time reflect on the past and look with renewed hope to the future.  2012 for me it was one of triumph through struggles. It seems that “life happens”: it never puts itself on hold while you complete you’re to do list. It is tempting to turn around and run for the hills, when an obstacle appears between us and our goals. Most of us put off our dreams until later. We imagine that someday there will be we will have more time or less challenges. The fact is we will never have the ideal time that we envision. We even often put off being happy until some unspecified date in the future. Usually there is a specific goal that needs to be obtained for the happiness to be realized. I will be happy if I get my dream job, lose 20 pounds, and get an A on the test. It is great to set goals, or resolutions for change, and even better to work towards them. The destructive behavior is to put conditions on happiness. When you place a condition on happiness, you are choosing not to be happy with the person you are now. The truth is this moment is all we will ever have,  and they slip away in the blink of an eye. Happiness is not some mysterious white night on a horse to be waited for. It is not this unobtainable prize placed just out of reach. Happiness is already inside each of us, if we choose to recognize and bask in it glow. When I was younger and more cynical about life I would often  think that people who seemed very happy all the time must be of below average intellect. How can they see all the horrors of the world and walk around with a dumb smile on their face. Really, that was me: Age 18. I was a riot at parties. Of course, in reality many of the happiest people are also the smartest. I further thought that if someone were happy all the time, they must have a perfect life. Then I worked with a woman who by all accounts had the most turmoil-ridden, poverty-stricken, abused life…and she made me laugh until it hurt. She was ten years older than I was and she taught me how to be a kid for the first time.  I can’t say for certain that she was truly happy, or she was a clown to hide the pain. What I do know is happiness can be thought of as a learned behavior. It takes practice, and a certain amount of “faking it” until you make it might be in order. Start by squashing the negative thoughts about yourself and life in general as soon as they enter your brain. Choose to hang around with people who put a positive spin on life. I know it seems like fun to gather round and commiserate with your co-workers, classmates, and family about the evils in the world, but it’s not a healthy behavior. It just feeds the negativity, until there is nothing left but to wallow in your own misery. That does not mean you will never be unhappy. “If you were happy every day of your life, you wouldn’t be a human being. You’d be a game show host.” (Heathers)  I’m just saying realize this: Your life is not as bad as you think. If you can learn to smile through the tears when life isn’t going your way, then when things do work out the joy will be untarnished. Again, if you do not “own” your happiness, then you will be too paralyzed with fear of something going wrong, to really enjoy happy times. Most unhappiness is caused by fear of the unknown. If you are ready to be happy come hell or high-water, then you will not have your blissful moments spoiled by uncertainty. I write this as much as a reminder for myself, as I do for the readers. To all of you who are in pursuit of your happiness in 2013. I hope you catch it!

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