So you think you want to be happy... are you sure about that? I'm serious! When was the last time you had a happy checkup?
A what?! A happy checkup! Y'all know what a checkup is. If you're smart and try to be healthy (most of the time) you get a physical once a year, change the oil and air filter in your car, and maybe go through the car wash occasionally. If you're a business owner or helper of any sort, or if someone you respect has mentioned something about how you've changed recently that ticked you off, you might have taken some time to do a life check-in.
If those things haven't happened yet, you are in luck! Best to prevent those tornadoes and avalanches from happening when you can!
So, you've decided to do a check-in. Many people evaluate their financial budgets ( I prefer fun spending plans myself, the word "budget" irritates me), how their kids are doing in school (i.e. homework, grades, and tests), and if they have a social life; health and physical wellness; maybe stress management. You might even admit to yourself you've been feeling a bit blah, or can't remember the last time you laughed. Or maybe you're working full-time, going to school at night, and struggling with juggling it all.
Be honest... do you love your job? Head over heels, can't wait to go to work on a Monday kind of love? Or do Sunday nights make you dread Monday mornings? Bored with your grocery shopping, meal prepping plans or tired of eating out and not sure how to begin to learn to cook, or think you can't afford it?
So... what is happiness exactly?
Greater Good Magazine (2021) published an article about the definition of happiness. In the article they included the following quote by Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness : "Happiness is the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being combined with the sense that one's life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile."
True happiness does not require a white picket fence, a perfectly manicured lawn, or granite countertops. Sure, all of these things are super nice if that's your thing. Let me ask you this... are you selling your soul to afford these things? If your answer is yes, is it really worth it? Be honest, it'll save you a lot of heartache in the long run.
Did you know that recalling amazing life moments, like when you booked cheap tickets in coach and the airline stewardess gave you first-class Airpods... AND treated you like royalty after discovering you were a poet on a book tour? Or when you tasted beignet doughnuts at Cafe` du Monde in New Orleans for the very first time?
Yo, perfectionism is not a prerequisite for a happy life. Should I repeat that? I think so! Perfectionism is not a requirement for a happy life. Life is messy, filled with lots of spilled milk (or hot coffee all over our new work outfit), twists and turns, successes and failures. Happiness is about being content with your life and experiencing joy and contentment daily.
The Hard Work of Being Happy
Happiness is hard work! Happiness is a daily choice. Are we happy all the time? Heck no! Can we be realistic and hopeful things will work out, even when we have no idea what the future will bring? Yes!!! Absolutely!!! Positive well-being involves making self-care and mental wellness a priority, deciding it is more important than scrolling Facebook, binge-watching Netflix or spending hours making sure our homes look spotless all the time.
Happy lives include sunshine and rain, sometimes all on the same day. Contentment with life is contentment with the person you are, inside and out. You can't get to your pot of gold without doing the hard, heartbreaking real work of dealing with your own stuff... and we've all got stuff we need to work through.
Energy work, reiki, massage therapy, yoga classes... those will only get you so far. Therapists or life coaches, depending on the life issues you are struggling with, can help you work out your emotional stuff. We can all benefit from, at some point in our life, a really great coach or therapist. Show me someone who loves themselves, and seems to exude radiance and joy, I'll show you someone who has let go of grief and sadness.