“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
However, I disagree with the idea of chasing after it.
Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it,
the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention
to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder. ~Thoreau
I believe that you can be happy no matter what your circumstances are in life, whether you’re rich or poor. Some may still think that buying stuff can make you happy, but it is short lived and usually ends up giving the opposite effect because it’s like any other addictive behavior, like alcohol where you end up needing more and more to feel good. A recipe for disastrous debt if you’re a shopaholic. Ultimately, money can’t buy true happiness, in fact research has shown that many of the happiest people live in third world countries like Bali and are lucky if they have the basic necessities to stay alive, yet they are quite content and often smiling.
Happiness is a choice you make in any given moment. What keeps us from dancing in the streets and singing in the rain? A hint of silliness is good for the soul and makes you smile from ear to ear. I love to croon and whirl about , but I haven’t seen many others display such delight on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes my partner joins in but only if I drag him. He’s a Virgo and a Minister’s son as well as a lifelong Mainer and can be quite reticent. I’m from New Jersey so I guess I don’t have that issue. At the risk of over generalizing, a jersey girl’s attitude is quite different from a typical New Englander; we are less inhibited and much more demonstrative. Of course that doesn’t mean we don’t have our fair share of neuroses; I would say anger is our greatest block to happiness. Many people from New York and New Jersey definitely have that challenge. It’s like we were born with a chip on our shoulder and we dare everyone we meet to knock it off. Thankfully I’m a recovering Jersey-ite and I’ve learned to temper my bad temper.
The majority of people seem to have some degree of blockage towards experiencing regular states of happiness. How do I know that? Look around you, how many shiny, happy people do you see? (I don’t mean alcohol induced either.) I hope for your sake I’m wrong and that you know many joyful individuals. Fire signs (Leo, Sagittarius and Aries) tend to be more enthusiastic and exuberant; it is their journey to learn how to enjoy life and overall they do a pretty good job at it. However the water signs (Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio) need to work at it, they can get quite depressed if they let their emotions rule them. Here’s a telling quote by Oscar Wilde;
“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”
We all can benefit from that wisdom. I’d prefer to elicit the former response. My friend had a great plaque over the sink in his kitchen that said:
“The key to a happy marriage is a bad memory.”
I thought that was very funny. While Lord Tennyson said,
"The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions." Self control, imagine how great life would become if we stopped taking our bad moods out on each other.
Why does it feel so hard to be happy these days? I don’t want to point fingers but I will anyway, could it be that we’ve been conditioned to become lifeless and staid, by being beaten down with depressing news programs on the television and programmed through advertisements to be dissatisfied with ourselves? It’s like life has dulled in some way and we are the by product – welcome to zombie land. Also, this may be my individual gripe, but who decided that women should be a size 0? The fashion industry? They probably just want to spend less money on fabric (smirk). What a racket they have going with pills, diet foods and plastic surgery. The weight loss industry is Big Business. However, Marilyn Monroe was considered the most beautiful woman on the planet and I think she was a size 12. So I’m done feeling bad about being a size 10, my new mantra is “Thank you, my beautiful, healthy and strong body, I love you!”
So the question becomes how can we increase our happiness? We can start simply by returning to our original way of being, when we were innocent little children, before we began to identify with roles and labels. Begin to like yourself exactly as you are and remove all the external pressures to be different. I was just saying last night that I don’t think I’m ever going to change the awkwardness I feel going to social gatherings, I’ve tried to overcome it, but it stays with me year after year. However, when I gave myself permission to be me, accepted my uncomfortable nervousness, I ended up feeling better and had a really good time that night. Acceptance is key. “Know Thyself.” I have Aquarius Rising and Aquarius people tend to suffer from nervousness. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) can wear themselves out with overthinking and need time alone to recuperate.
Our level of happiness depends on our ability to think positively. Don’t be a prisoner of your own mind. We must learn to live more from our heart than our head; make our mind serve us with loving intentions. Find that place within ourselves that doesn’t judge or criticize and revel in that feeling of bliss, which can be found when we’re not mentally beating ourselves up. Look in the mirror and like whom we see. It’s also important to have things to look forward to in your life, don’t be stagnant, allow yourself to hope and dream. There have been studies done connecting happiness with an extended life span. I read somewhere that the body starts to break down and die if we stop feeling like life is worth living—by dimming our Light and draining our life-force energy. Therefore, it is vital to embrace life for better health and longevity—and happiness is a good way to start. Like the renowned Bobby McFerrin ditty from the 80’s;
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” it’s great advice and a good song too.