Thursday, February 26, 2015

Be Active

I'm afraid that I have inadvertently led people to believe that I am an unhappy person.  I'm afraid that  because I focus so much on my journey to become less stressed, more balanced, more confident, and just, in general, happier, I have left you thinking that I am a total mess.  And, while the total mess part might be somewhat true, I want to make it clear that I am, generally speaking, a happy person. 

I'm telling you this because I want to: 1) ease any concerns out there for those of you worried about me (because y'all are all so wonderful and caring, I tend to get a lot of "it's all going to be okay," "maybe you should try _____," and "hang in there," emails after my more personal posts); 2) especially ease the concerns of my mom, and most importantly, 3) talk to you today about actively pursuing happiness.
The other day I was having a conversation with a friend about one of her family members.  My friend talked to me about how unhappy her family member was and how frustrated my friend was that this family member wouldn't take any steps to try to become happier.  My friend and I were both blown away by the idea that someone would be unhappy, express their unhappiness, and then take no part in trying to change their situation.  This family member just felt as if the world had dealt them an unhappy hand and that there was nothing to be done about it.  Apparently, it never dawned on this person to try turning in their cards for a new hand, or betting the house on what they had and doubling down (okay, that last part I had know idea about, I'm not a gambler, but you know what I mean).

This idea had just never dawned on me.  I always assumed that there were only two types of people:

1. Those lucky bastards who are just always, generally happy.  They don't have to work for it.  It's just who they are and how they are.  Their rose-colored glasses never fog.  Not to say bad things never happen to them, but they are just naturally predisposed to happiness.
2. Those of us who do have to work at it.  Not because we are sad or depressed, but, I think, simply because we feel more.  We feel the stress and the perfectionism and the whole darn mess of it just more than others and because of that, we have to actively pursue happiness.
Now I realize there is a third group:  Unhappy and staying unhappy.
Those of you who fit into the first category, y'all can just quit reading now.  Come back tomorrow.  The rest of this is not directed at you.  Go spend the rest of your day being blissfully happy.
For those of you in group two (like me), well, I just want you all to know I think you are doing an awesome job.  I know it can all feel overwhelming at times, but that just means that you are feeling and experiencing and evaluating life.  You aren't passively living.  You are actively taking part in this life and all that comes with it.  You want to know and understand yourself.  You believe that exploring your emotions will help you improve as a person.  You know that actively pursuing happiness leads to greater happiness.  Just like running, the more you focus, exercise, analyze, and practice being happy, the happier you become.  Not only can you figure out ways to be a happier/healthier person, you learn to avoid the triggers that lead you away from happiness.  You know this life is short and you want to make the most of it.  You know that you don't need things like meditation or therapy or exercise  or writing to help you because you are broken and need fixing, but that you need them to help you because you want to be the best you can be and you know these are the tools to help you get there.  You are willing to be honest about the struggle to find and keep happiness because you know that honesty and acceptance is one of the biggest steps towards happiness  You  aren't ashamed to spend your life in search of greater levels of peace and calm and joy.  There is no maximum limit on these things and you are happy to continue in the pursuit of them.   Most importantly, you know that YOU DESERVE PEACE AND CALM AND JOY in your life and you are willing to go claim it.
For those of you in group three, those who are unhappy and staying unhappy:  Please see the last sentence above.  YOU DESERVE PEACE AND CALM AND JOY.  All you have to do is go out there and get it.  Happiness is yours to be had and all it takes is a little work (okay, sometimes it take a lot of work).  I know that sometimes you can get comfortable in your misery and leaving comfortable spaces can be scary and inconvenient.  But, I promise you, a reward greater than you have ever imagined is in store for you as long as you are willing to pursue it. 
***Well, crap.  After I write this whole long post, I  go looking for a picture to include and find that Elizabeth Gilbert (love her) has pretty much summed the entire thing up in four sentences. 

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