Well, I guess for many people it is!
And yet, it’s simultaneously one of the most elusive things…
Btw, a thought I’ve not been able to shake for the past couple of days: isn’t just ‘life’ one of *the* most weirdest things ever! I mean, of all the things I’ve experienced, life is right up there as just being completely confusingly crazily ridiculous… but maybe that’s just me! [I must be ‘going through a phase’ as my Mum would say. – how much did I hate it when she said that… just so very patronising, and yet I always knew it was just so very very true!]
Anyway, to get back to my thrilling topic of the day… happiness.
To say “I’m happy” with an honest-glint in your eye is one of the hardest things to do, even when its true. Yet paradoxically, everyone knows that everyone likes to say they’re happy in an optimistic “If I say it, maybe I can believe it” kind of way. Despite me feeling almost ‘dishonest’ sometimes when I try to say I’m happy, I do have a few ‘theories’ as to how it all works, 😛 and think I get on pretty good, all things considered!
I am convinced you can never just ‘get’ happiness. Well, maybe that much is obvious, but let me explain further. I mean, you can’t just do things you like doing, and that makes you happy. The human mind is far more complicated than that!! We can allow ourselves to be depressed, when we should be on top of the world. Or we can try and fool ourselves into being happy, but then know we’re not *really* happy ‘cos we’ve only conned ourself into it…
Anyways, to get back to the positive side of things, I think happiness happens in a side-effect kind of way (to use geek-talk, the language I know!) It’s like, you go do something, then in the middle of it you go “hey, I’m actually happy right now!” and it is a revelation and it makes you smile and no matter what slums are surrounding you, all of a sudden they take on a little more colour than they had before.
And so, in a logical, rationistic kind of way – which may actually seem to be taking 😛 all the fun out of it! – I actually believe I am happy.
Oh, that’s not to say I don’t have as many bipolar moments as the best of them. It’s not to say I don’t simultaneously feel hurt at the loss of friends at work, while being fully and utterly positive about the wonderful company I work for 🙂 . I see no contradiction there, really.
It’s also not to say I don’t cry myself to sleep sometimes when I don’t understand how this complex world all fits together. I still believe it does fit together, but sometimes I get myself bogged down in the details and lose sight of those things that I believe have the highest concentration of side-effect-happiness.
But I do feel I’m beginning to understand what kinds of things *are* ‘happy things’. I’ve tried and tested many ‘techniques’ even in my shorter-than-my-wise-counsellor-friends lives, and have come to an age-old conclusion: “there is no new thing under the sun”.
The next opinion of mine gets rather too technical for such a colourfully creative topic – I think different actions can produce different kinds of happiness. For example, the notion of “It is better to give than to receive.” Both can – and do – make people happy, but one is more of a material happiness, whereas the other is emotional.
Then, some happiness is more long-term than others. I don’t really know how to describe this, other than a ‘physical’ analogy: we’re sometimes willing to go through a painful operation, if it fixes up something that would give us more long-lasting pain.
That works with happiness, too, I’m convinced. Some of my very best friends, I love them because they’re able to tell me the “bad” things. I know it is one of the hardest things to do, to give ‘constructive criticism’ – and to take it! – but I’m not even talking about that, but something deeper. The way sometimes they give you the outside perspective that actually you don’t want to hear ‘cos you feel “shown up” but nevertheless you agree with when you do hear.
Like when your best friend says to you “Rachel, you ought to remember that X in your life takes priority over Y.” when she realises that right now you’ve been putting Y first, but when at other times you’ve assured her that X is more important to you.
(I think that’s what I miss most about my Glasgow friends – we were all close enough to speak to each other like that, and love each other for it… )
On that whole “being long term” note, I think it is perfectly honest to be crying, and yet believe you are happy at the same time.
And I am happy right now 🙂 .