‘The state of being happy.’
Sitting here on a Sunday evening wishing I was nursing a glass of wine; I messaged my brother asking him to give me a topic to write about. A few texts back and forth ensues and he sent me a one liner, ‘happiness’. Without pondering on the meaning, I tapped back a response asking, ‘what makes you happy?’ It didn’t take long before he answered in true brother style ‘I’ve not worked that one out yet’. Interesting. What seems like a simple concept on the face of it could actually be quite difficult to answer.
I started thinking about the happiest day of my life and what momentous events society perceives as such; getting married? No. The birth of my children? No.
Getting married was stressful and expensive. It took a Tesco credit card on 0% interest and about 18 months to pay off. Getting married is just a money pit. I had to take two weeks sick leave from a job I loved. Ended up with a bald patch (thankfully now grown back), nice work Alpecin (I know it was a placebo but it made me feel better at the time) and in the end I couldn’t remember the bit I was actually looking forward to (the band) because I was 3 bottles of Prosecco in.
The birth of my children was painful. Pushing out a water melon is not in my opinion the epitome of happiness. Having to mentally prepare myself to go to the toilet again, not my idea of a good time. There’s also the stretch marks, saggy boobs and not quite being able to shift that last 14 pounds of baby weight (3 years on).
So if it’s not a milestone like getting married or having children, what actually is it?
Back on the text to my brother (actually wanting a non-sarcastic response)… he replied ‘urm… it’s difficult to say but it all has to start with being comfortable with yourself’ so far so good; I can get on board with that. ‘Self-progression, being better than you were yesterday’, blah blah blah, ‘doing the best each and every day, knowing the only person that can get you down is your own self’… well bloody hell, my brother the philosopher. I didn’t know he had that in him. He actually makes some sort of sense.
Is this what happiness is? Starting with your own self? Taking each day as it comes and striving to be better? If I spent less time worrying about my fat ass and wishing I was thinner, if I actually worked on being comfortable in my own skin and looked at each day as an opportunity to be better, would that make me happy. Is that what happiness is all about?
Going back to my wedding day. It wasn’t the day that was the happiest of my life (for reasons already discussed) but marrying someone who loves me for me and having a marriage. That makes me happy. Having a best friend to laugh and cry with. Hell having the odd argument is healthy.
The birth of my children; no that wasn’t happiness; happiness is watching them grow. Happiness is that first smile, that first time they hold your hand, the first time they say ‘luw you’ because they can’t quite say ‘love’ yet.
Events don’t equal happiness but if you let it, they can lead to happiness. I think happiness to me is being content. I’ll start working on bettering myself each and every day and in the words of my brother, ‘knowing the only person that can get you down is your own self’. I’d never looked at things that way before. What he says makes total sense. Whilst one cannot control outside factors it all boils down to this; only you can control your own happiness. ‘The only person that can get you down is your own self’.