I had a really interesting conversation with a girlfriend of mine this week about happiness and working out what your ‘joy’ is. Something so simple can often be so hard to define and as a result there’s a whole lot of people - perhaps I’m even talking to you, that aren’t able to categorise what makes them happy.
Happiness is defined differently person to person, which is why it is important on your journey through life that you’re able to understand what it means to you and for you.
I remember one of the most confusing times in my life surrounded a shift in definition in what I defined happiness to be after coming to a point where I thought I had it all figured out but was challenged with a feeling of emptiness. I feel now though, looking back that this could be a common experience of anyone that associates happiness with obtaining something tangible or resting it on the actions of a vehicle they aren’t driving. Growing up, I would often associate happiness to having my own business. Thinking the peak would be when it was at a particular place in growth and profitability, employed a certain number of people and essentially was working. It seems crazy now but back then to me that was my why, 'I'll be over-the-moon when...' moment.
Happiness that is not roaming this world independent of anyone else or tangible objects I’ve learnt is not happiness. It could be satisfaction but happiness itself I believe is so much more. It’s the goosebumps, the body tingles, the uncontrollable ear to ear grins, sleeping well at night, springing out of bed, wanting to freeze frame a moment - whatever it is to you, but for me it’s a feeling not a notion.
It’s taken a few years of self discovery, awareness and sitting with uncomfortable thoughts of disappointment in what something should feel like to what it does feel like to understand what happiness means to me. From this experience I can’t stress enough how important it is if you’re on this quest to really know the real you and know what makes that soul sing. It doesn’t have to be big things. It could be sunrises, early wake ups, the feeling after a workout, seeing others smile with your impact, conquering little goals. Or it in fact could be the more significant things, the moments you know might not always last. Like those precious moments with grandparents or watching your kids grow up, giving love and getting it back in the same capacity, making unique memories with your friends of many years, reaching a milestone in your career, conquering a health goal and making yourself proud.
I think your day needs to be filled with the little moments while you work for the bigger ones, because sometimes those grander ones can take some work.
You might always be a work in progress and that’s okay, for the ‘builders’ out there, those that love to just ‘do’ it’s in your makeup. But my challenge for you is to start recognising your happiness train that’s driven by your heart and soul, not others or things. Shifting your mindset from I’ll be happy when… to knowing what makes you happy now. Like the saying goes, you have to love what you’ve got while working for what you want, and the same goes for happiness. While there might be huge things around the corner that are an experience of happiness you may not have yet had - marrying the love of your life, having your first baby, loving the job you’re doing every day, special moments with family and friends.. Just know what things make your heart sing today. So you can start filling your day with these little pleasures, it’s these chips that stack up and make you put your head on the pillow at night full of gratitude and fulfilment.
Embody your happiness instead of going on a quest to find it.