WOAH! Controversial topic over here! But it’s not what it sounds like so stick with me. You won’t ever be happy enough. Not if you’re looking to be happy enough. Or happy in general. It doesn’t quite work that way.
The latest kick is to embrace yourself, love yourself, and find inner happiness. Advertisements and models with big, beautiful smiles meet us at every corner. Travel the world! Follow your dreams! Do yoga and eat smoothies (which I do)! Do these things and find yourself then you’ll be happy!! Of course!
Except, it doesn’t quite work out like that does it?
When we start the grand expedition of peeling back our layers, polishing our person, and resolving to continual be the best we can be we are signing up for a lifetime of work. And I don’t mean that it’s a lot of work (even though it is). I mean that once we have that awareness of ourself, we can’t go back. We can never not work on our mindset, our outlook, our existence. We will be working on ourselves for our entire lives. And that’s awesome.
Amongst other reasons, it keeps us changing and open to change. It helps our impact on the world and its people. One less negative bundle of energy does make a difference. It keeps us healthier and happier. It keeps us true to our lives at the moment. It helps us become strong.
Well, that’s all fine and dandy but why can’t we be happy enough if we’re doing all these things?
Because we don’t know how to settle.
We live in a culture where, even though it says it’s all about the journey, it shows us that the end destination is still most important. Enjoy the road to your end destination. Enjoy the beauty of smelling the roses but get to your end goal, now. This mentality paired with working on ourselves and finding ourselves means one thing: we see happiness as an end goal of finding ourselves and (instead of working on ourselves) fixing ourselves.
You will never be happy (enough) if you tell yourself “I’ll be happy when I…” insert your goal. When I learn to stop worrying. When I start controlling my temper. When I live in the moment. When I stop dwelling on the past. These are all good points but the “when” indicates a point in time, not a journey. It signifies the end of a journey. And, unfortunately, it doesn’t work because it’s a journey that doesn’t end.
Now, I’m not going to say you need to do anything. However, deciding to be happy now might help. Moving your focus away from the end goal and onto the present moment, the journey itself might change some things. It might be slow, you might not notice any progress right off the bat. BUT there’ll be a day where you’re happier for no particular reason. You don’t need a reason to be happy, by the way. Good tidbit to keep in mind.
Back to the narrative!
Focusing on the journey, the revelations and feelings that come with it will change your mind. It’ll change your outlook. Doing this in just our mind is one thing. Putting it into our daily lives is a little harder, right? When I go to the store, there are some small lilac bushes right outside the door. Every time I pass, when they’re in bloom, I’ll stop and smell them. Sure, I look crazy but only because it’s so far from what people are expected to do when out in public. When I run, I’ll stop and take a moment to look at a river, smell some flowers, or touch a particularly soft looking plant.
What’s the point in living if you can’t experience your surroundings?
To me, that’s what this whole thing comes down to. Why, why, why should I not smell the roses? Why shouldn’t I touch a tree that looks cool? Why shouldn’t I stop what I’m doing to look at a bumblebee flying around outside? There’s no reason! It’s my life and life is about experiencing things through our five senses. Don’t worry about what people will think. Don’t worry about how weird you might look. It’s your life and you can live it however you like.
So, to surmise. You won’t ever be happy (enough) if you focus on an everchanging, eternal (work with me here) journey of self-discovering and change because there is no endpoint for you to latch onto. There is no end goal. There are things you might want to see in yourself and ways you can get to them. But you can also lose them or revise them or find out you don’t like being that way. Tying your happiness onto a personal quality, or anything for that matter, is not guaranteed to bring you happiness. Especially because everything changes.
Enjoy the journey. All of it. No one mentions focusing on the dark parts of the journey, the hard parts. And I’m not going to cover it today either because it’s a nice long topic in and of itself. But it is worth mentioning briefly that the journey isn’t going to be easy. The road might be cloudy. It might be rainy. There might be a fire blocking your way. Or a tornado that has completely torn up your path.
That’s fine. It’s not supposed to be easy. It’s not supposed to be hard. It’s just supposed to be. That’s it. On our journey, especially if we have already begun to examine ourselves, we will be presented with many different experiences that we can choose to see or choose to ignore. A lot of times, when people say to travel, do yoga, and all that it’s because it brings awareness to experiencing your life. But you can do it without expensive travel or anything like that.
Just remember this. Smell the flowers. Enjoy what’s around you. Experience your life. All of it! Stubbing your toe, being frustrated at something, laughing at something else, admiring something. Experience your life. It doesn’t have to be beautiful. It doesn’t have to be ugly. All it has to be is yours.