Many people have trouble pinning down what makes them completely happy.
It’s the word “completely” that throws them off; it seems like an impossibly high bar to reach, doesn’t it?
But really, complete happiness is found in the most ordinary of moments. Complete happiness consumes you, but it isn’t typically uncovered at the end of an arduous search. It’s often stumbled upon in a smile or a hug, small kindnesses from strangers, a child’s face or another’s hand.
It isn’t worth searching for, because the energy spent on the search will be energy drained away from seeing and enjoying the small things that truly bring the purest joy.
Things that make me completely happy, and require no searching whatsoever:
1) The love I have in this world, both to give and to receive. I can and do touch so many lives each day, and it’s truly my pleasure and purest joy to love and help them a little bit more than they might expect. I am also extremely fortunate to have many loved ones who return this favor to me, often when I least expect (and often when I need it most).
2) The sunshine. It shines directly into my soul, I swear it.
3) Being creative. Lately, it’s been more in my kitchen and less in my words. I typically see writing as my creative outlet, but recently I’ve begun doing Morning Pages. Now I’m able to get the jumbled mess out of my head first thing, and the rest of the day is freed up to focus on everything else. But cooking dinner…now there has been my saving creative grace of late. My kitchen is a safe place where I can be messy and constantly improvising because I’m missing something listed in the ingredients for the “perfect” meal. Sound like life, anyone? And yet, the food usually still turns out delicious and nutritious when I follow my instincts.
4) My healthy body. No, it doesn’t always look the way I wish it would in clothes, my small breasts are never going to properly fill out a V-neck shirt, and I sometimes cram it with too many cookies. But it’s mine; it has treated me well and taken me lots of miles with many more to go. Bodies are gorgeous expressions of our selves, reflections of our souls, mirrors to our minds.
5) My freedom. I used to crave freedom like it was something unobtainable and outside myself—something someone else was suddenly going to bestow upon me one magical day. Then I realized that I was already and always would be as free as I’d let myself be. To become freer, I just have to allow myself to explore. I’m galloping further and faster down the road to freedom all the time now, and authenticity is leading the way, a lamp unto my frolicking, unfettered feet. Follow your curiosities, for they will lead you home.
I could go on for days, I think. No search, no seeking needed.
Simple, small things seem to make me the happiest, and there’s certainly no shortage of those around this gorgeous planet filled with gorgeous people. Some days, of course, I want to strangle a few of those gorgeous people, but I don’t because that would be detrimental to my freedom (see number five, above).
Plus, if I keep breathing through the struggle long enough, something beautiful will meet me where I am, and I’ll be completely happy once again. Since I know this, I do my best to welcome the bad days as warmly as the good.
The downs make the ups sweeter and more complete.
There’s no need to expend energy seeking complete happiness; it’s probably right in front of me if I just open my eyes to see and embrace it.
Author: Kristen Bagwill
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Ezra Jeffery/Unsplash