July 22, 2017
By Leyland A. King
“A fine day, it is. I just love my life”. Say that randomly to colleagues, casual friends -amicable smiles accompanying- that’s your private space-protection, right there. No need for canned sardines and onions. Sometimes it seems that maudlin bests maturity and pragmatism. Even expectations. One might suppose that we wanted to avoid happiness, as much as we do a bad cold.
I got more interested in the life-and-love business, after being impressed by what must be the absence of shoulders to cry on. Why was there so much hurting and complaining? Well, I put on my Dear Abby hat and pseudo-empiricist eyeglasses then began counting certain keywords and phrases in social media communications. It was a challenge finding the few happy needles in the digital stack. I wail.
Done with reading mawkishness; watching trivial entertainment, play some she/he, done-me-wrong music, and salvation is now a bottle and a handkerchief. If that’s a choice in life, then keep in touch with a preferred undertaker. No fixer can enlighten and enliven, what amounts to an emotionally desolate place owned by another.
Is it that people want to be unhappy? Perhaps it’s not knowing what it is, that makes it so elusive, or could it be that our society stifles well-being? Whatever the case, with marketing bombards twenty-four seven, all gushing people having their happiness attributed to a brand, it’s no wonder that unhappiness wins. But let’s try and see if these few lines change anything, or at minimum invite thoughtful discussion.
Happiness is an emotional state not easily describable but within reach of everyone, rich or poor. It is a personal experience, and it’s rare. It is a state of serenity that is known immediately once arrived. Happiness cannot be pursued, just as being happy every day is a disappointing absurdity. An expectation that is unachievable except for princesses to be, who get carried off to castles. A simple way of thinking about happiness is by reflection on what are the words and images that you associate with feeling unhappy. Someone chose this surprising definition, found in Dictionary.com, example: “Happiness is happiness.” It must have driven the author nuts.
I see so many statements about what “others” have done or said, to another. Dozens reply with enthusiastic “Amen.” Well, there’s that adage:
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
So said some delirious person on being admitted to hospital for long term-mental health care. Unable to distinguish between physical and mental pain, he was meandering his way through life morbidly distressed. But words and stones might both be very injurious.
I could roam about morosely, surveying life’s landscapes for darkest clouds, below which I live nomadically. Questioned about my circumstances, I may claim that the malevolent cloud unfairly depresses me. Survive a bolt of lightning just so that I may cuss it later. (Oops, I got carried away there)
I am happy….at this moment. To be correct, I should say that I am usually a happy person, despite my own harpies. I am not deluded, sorry to disappoint. Sometimes, I do feel unhappy, most times contented; sometimes merry. But the episodes of happiness, are quite different. When they do unexpectedly, come, the moments are profound and memorable.
Create the conditions and wait. Happiness will come on its own time, and you’ll know it.
Well, what are the conditions, one might ask? That too is doable – think of a bountiful garden. Would it not be well cared, orderly, visually pleasing? Well, since weeds are more prolific and resilient than cultivated plants, the two cannot abide. Envy, strife, resentment, obsessions, regret, neglect of your own affairs, are each detrimental to one’s own emotional health. They are analogous to the garden’s weeds.
So, put down the burden where ever you are. Surrender the hurt to time’s mist. Forgive others with all your heart, and most of all, forgive yourself. And remember that even the sun has a fresh start every day.