The Pursuit of Happiness

I’ve got a question for you. One that’s been burning a hole through my heart. Here it is:

Do you know how to be happy?

Before you brush off the question, spend a quiet moment and think about it. Do you really know what it takes to be happy right now … in this exact moment? Are you happy right now … in this exact moment?

It’s easy to come up with a list of things that leave us feeling happy. Kitten videos on YouTube. A child’s laughter. Your lover’s smile. Your favorite meal. All of those things might contribute to happiness. But the only true thing that can MAKE us happy is a personal decision to pursue happiness.

I think we forget that happy takes work. It takes a conscious decision to turn away from whatever is making us *not* happy. It’s so easy to get caught up in stress and work and relationships that we forget that we are the masters of our own emotions. We get caught up in the idea that we’re victims to the circumstances around us and that we have no control over the world around us.

The ONLY thing we actually have control over is how we feel about what’s happening to us, around us, near us.

As much as I believe that it’s important to know how to be happy, I also believe that we can’t be happy all the time. That’s just not realistic. When we face a trauma or a loss or just a crappy day, we don’t need to be happy about it. But, if we know how to pursue happy, then this emotional dip can just be a blip in an otherwise happy life.

The tough thing about knowing how to be happy is that it looks different for everyone. And sometimes the pursuit of happy can seem so futile. We just start to get up and we get knocked back down.

Something that cancer has taught me: it’s in the act of getting back up over and over and over that you embody how to be happy. Because, in all honesty, it’s just the pursuit of happiness that we’re entitled to under the Declaration of Independence. We’re not entitled to happiness itself.

I don’t know about you, but something funny happens when I pursue happiness: it almost always lets me catch it. Even if you feel like your happiness is fleeting, isn’t it worth celebrating that you caught your happy? You now know which path to take to find your happiness again.

So, start taking steps today. Pursue your happiness. Be aware that the path to happiness is curvy and long and might have some major hills on it. Keep your head down. Keep moving forward. Because there isn’t anywhere else to go, other than forward.


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