Sara woke up early one clear Saturday morning looked at her slumbering husband of seven years and made a life altering decision. Over an uninspired breakfast of runny eggs and under-cooked bacon she informed him of their need to get a divorce. When pressed for details Sara flatly stated, “I’m not happy.”
Happiness…the word, the emotion, the thought have made men and women all over the world do so many things—even unspeakable—in pursuit of its possession. The word is defined as the mental or emotional state of wellbeing characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.
That springs forth a question open to debate. Can a person derive happiness from a negative state? In the definition it’s expressed as a characterization by positive emotions. Therefore wouldn’t a negative emotion omit a person from arriving to a state of happiness?
Interestedly enough that isn’t always the case. Because all of us view happiness differently depending on many factors such as life style, culture, belief systems and religious affiliations, and the list go on and on. What is a negative to one might not be perceived as such to another.
Take for instance people that appear to ‘have it all’ as they pound away at rising to the top of the corporate ladder and upon arrival give it all up to go live in a hut in Tahiti. All in pursuit of what they consider, blissful happiness.
It is true; one’s man’s river is another man’s ocean. Attempting to compare your personal sense of happiness based on someone else’s can make the chase seem never ending. Then it becomes almost fleeting and oh so elusive.
“Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on our way toward a destination we deem valuable. Happiness, therefore, is not about making it to the peak of the mountain, nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain: happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak,” said Dr. Tal Ben-Sharar when he taught one of Harvard University’s most popular courses in 2006.
Five simple steps to being happy:
1. Be honest: Too often a person will not be truthful with the reflected image in the mirror. If you tell fibs to yourself, then with who are you truly honest with?
2. Work constantly on having a positive state of mind: As corny as that may sound, it’s a powerful tool to have in your mind box. There are thousands of books written on the subject of the effects of positive thinking. It really does work. It does take effort, much like anything worth having.
3. Develop a prayer/meditation life: When you remove yourself physically from any situation it gives you a chance to inwardly reflect and clear your mind.
4. Find your bliss: What makes you happy? Only the person can answer that. Does the solitude of building a boat in your basement give you peace of mind like the fictional character Leroy Gibbs on the TV show NCIS? Then do it.
5. Believe in yourself: The best relationship is the first one we have with ourselves. Develop, build, and work on self-respect, self-pride, self-love, self-confidence, and self-assurance and refuse to settle for less than your absolute best. Become comfortable in your own skin.
As for Sara and her husband, they did get a divorce. Two years later she remarried and three years later…she’s twice divorced living with a trucker in a single wide trailer still in a constant state of unhappiness.