Chasing Elusive Happiness

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What is happiness? We are all searching for it at one point or another in our lives. However, few of us ever find it, let alone understand what happiness truly means. For many, including myself, we are taught that happiness is constantly achieving. Always aiming for the next big goal, the next big idea, the next big whatever… Yet, once our goals & dreams & ideas have been realised, how many of us are left feeling dissatisfied? Almost as if you have achieved some high only to be brought back down to reality & realise that your happiness was merely temporary?

As a business owner, I understand that desire to constantly be crossing items off my to-do list. The larger the item, the greater relief & sense of purpose I feel when it has a bright yellow highlighter stain running across the page. Recently, though, I have felt dissatisfied with merely crossing off items on that list. I have felt anxiety surrounding my never-ending list of projects & dwindling time to spend on tasks that truly bring me join, such as writing, reading, spending time outdoors, & relaxing with family.

A little back story: a passion of mine has always been psychology. I am not entirely sure why, but I have always been fascinated with how the human brain functions.  So, at the beginning of this year, I set out to read more books pertaining to phycology, specifically geared towards Happiness, & what makes people happy. It was part self-discovery, part intriguing research. A few of the books I devoured with great intensity were: The Happiness Track, by Emma Sappala; How to Have a Good Day, by Caroline Webb; & Wired to Create, by Scott Barry Kaufman & Carolyn Gregoire. The common theme I found running through each of these books—aside from references to the same psychologists—was that happiness cannot be ticked off from a to-do list.

Happiness cannot be found at the end of your great list of tasks. It is not some destination you will one day arrive at. It cannot be validated by your peers or offered to you via a specific person in your life. Happiness is entirely internal & completely unique to your experiences & achievable in your own, personal way.

What Does Happiness Look Like for Me?

I have found that I am at my greatest state of calm & composure when I wake up a little earlier than my partner. Some days, sacrificing those extra minutes of snooze time feels impossible, but on the days I succumb to the temptation of sleeping in, I nearly always regret the day that follows.

I have found, through trial & error, that I function best & am the happiest version of myself when I have some time to myself in the morning free of social media & all other people. When I am able to wake up, make a fresh pot of coffee, & sit outside for an hour or so in the morning with nothing but my thoughts, I feel nothing but calm washing over me. I am able to relax & enjoy the smallest of nuances brought to be by my surroundings. I am able to let my thoughts wander without hesitation of fear of judgment. I am able to contemplate & nurture my gratitude with where I currently am at in life.

All of my days are not perfect, nor should they be. Some days, I continue to falter & struggle. However, I am now able to take those days & no longer feel as if they have defeated me. I no longer sit in sadness asking myself, “Why am I not smarter, or prettier, or more talented? Why do I suck so much at life?” I continue to move forward & learn from my missteps. I wake up each day enthusiastically & ready to let the day lead me down the path it wishes to move. I simply live.

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