I hear the question “what will make you happy?” or “what can I do to make you happy?” a lot. Hell, I ask it of myself all the time….”what will make me happy?” or “what do I need in my life to make me happy”. I ask it as if by finding the answer, that elusive thing out there, that one thing that I am lacking, then I will finally be happy.
But what do I even mean when I say “I just want to be happy?” Does that mean I never want to be sad? Is that what I really want? I love to watch movies that make me cry, so does being sad “make” me happy?
Does being happy mean I will never experience difficult times in life? That I will have smooth sailing from here on out? Quite frankly, that would make me bored. Not that I want to wish difficult times on myself, but if I look closely at those times in my life, the really challenging times, it was those times that I learned the most about myself. And it was during the challenging times that I grew the most as a person.
Does being happy mean that that I will never be angry, frustrated or discontent? But it’s when I’m feeling those emotions that I make changes in my life. And those changes are generally for the better. When I’m frustrated or discontent, I evaluate why I am and I work to change it.
So what do I mean when I say I need this or that to make me happy? Happiness that I attain from something outside of myself is not really happiness. It’s a momentary feeling of being happy, perhaps, but it never lasts. Why?
Because I can’t be happy all the time, in fact, I think it would be downright annoying to be happy all the time. To be fully human, fully alive, I must experience all things. All emotions, even the painful ones. Maybe even especially the painful ones. Because that’s when I realize that nothing out there will make me happy, that can only come from within. And it isn’t a feeling…it’s a state of mind.