I’ve been writing about having a great life for many years. What I hear the most often is how people are waiting to be happy. They are waiting for “this” or “that” and when it comes, they benchmark their happiness to some other “this” or “that”.
Sadly, happiness will never come that way.
Happiness isn’t conditional or a “this” or “that” proposition. Rather, happiness is a choice. Sometimes, despite all odds.
There are a few things I’ve learned through the years about actual happiness, and some of it may be rather shocking for those who think happiness is just a pipedream.
Happiness requires strength.
Happiness is something you decide to have. It’s not something you find or plan based on whether you get what you want out of life or not.
Happiness takes courage.
It can be scary to be happy. What if you are all happy and something horrible happens?
Well, what if it did?
Then you might have to deal with whatever was horrible, and then get back to choosing happiness. But at least you enjoyed getting your happy on for a minute, right?
Life sucks too much to be happy.
That’s the kicker, life is not serious enough to be anything but happy. You aren’t going to get out alive, that’s for sure.
Listen, in the middle of writing all about happiness, and how it starts with the basics (Food, shelter, and love), I’ve lost my grandparents, my father, my stepson, and two beloved fur-family members. A few of these life-changing losses were within months of each other.
Grief does not create an easy road for happiness to wander upon.
I grieve because it’s the price I paid for love. In that, it is an honor and privilege to exist under the dark shadows of the pain that comes from losing who you love. Knowing I’m honored and privileged, I can be happy for my grief. As bittersweet as that may be.
Happiness, isn’t always about rainbows and lollipops.
Sometimes it’s mixed with the heaviness of pain. Yet, my loved ones wish and pray for my happiness, in life and in spirit. In honoring them, I must courageously, and with inner fortitude, choose happiness.
Choosing happiness is not resisting pain.
Sometimes, happiness is a choice made through tears of wanting one more smile, one more hug, to hear my grandmother’s voice singing silly songs, or to hear my stepson teasing me about that rib cook-off we had planned.
I’m sure his ribs would have been much better than mine…
Ultimately –I’ve learned happiness is a gift we give to those we love.
This poem was found on the wall of a cellar the Cologne concentration camp. It was written by an unknown Jewish prisoner. I believe it is an excellent example of choosing happiness above all odds:
“I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love,
even when there’s no one there.
And I believe in God,
even when he is silent.
I believe through any trial,
there is always a way
But sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
My heart cries for shelter,
to know someone’s there
But a voice rises within me, saying hold on
my child, I’ll give you strength,
I’ll give you hope. Just stay a little while.
I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love
even when there’s no one there
But I believe in God
even when he is silent
I believe through any trial
there is always a way.
May there someday be sunshine
May there someday be happiness
May there someday be love
May there someday be peace….”