Recently, a girl at one of the yoga studios I teach at stopped me to say:
“You just look like the happiest person I know. You’re always so cheerful; even when you’re just walking around…you’re always smiling. You’re just like the happiest soul.”
These words warmed me, but also struck a chord within me. Truth is, I’ve spent the better part of my adult life—endless hours and years—in books and in the caverns of self-study to get here.
And here, by the way, is far from always sunny.
The people closest to me know I get irrationally grumpy, emotional, and momentarily depressed. But I’ve come a long way from trying to kill myself by refusing to eat for a year. Far, far away from 88 pounds of emptiness inside and out. Away from numbing myself with drugs and distractions.
I’m not sharing this for pity or praise; I’m neither entitled nor impacted by either. I’m sharing this because in my experience, happiness comes from a mega unpacking of untruths—fallacies taught to us by capitalism, culture, fear, and ego. Lies such as, “I’m not worthy” or, “I’ll be happy when” or, “If I had this thing/person, everything would be okay.”
Happiness can’t be based on constantly shifting conditions because if it is, our emotional architecture might as well be built on active tectonic plates. Happiness can’t be feeble. Happiness is decisive, determined, and committed.
And let’s be clear, happiness doesn’t mean we always look like emojis of sunshine and laughter. Happiness means we can experience the entire spectrum of human emotions and know deep down that love created a current within each and every one of them.
Happiness means we can cry and scream and be unapologetically sensitive, and know we’re loved anyway.
Happiness means we can muster up the compassion and empathy to be there for a friend or a stranger when they seem broken, even if it’s inconvenient…no, especially if it’s inconvenient.
Happiness means that irrespective of how people behave or what’s happening to us, or this world, that we believe people are generally good.
And happiness means that there is always hope.
Well, at least that’s what it means to me.
Relephant watch: 5 Mindful Things to Do Each Morning.
Author: Kristen Schneider
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman