Is it really possible to feel happy again, even if it’s been a very long time since you’ve felt happy? Is happiness something that just happens to you? Is it something that comes from something or someone else? Or is it something that you can create in your own life and experience it whenever and wherever you desire? I think it’s more than possible and that happiness is closer than you may think. Here are some thoughts on how to finally feel happy again after a long time.
What makes a person happy?
What makes a person happy? Is it a new car, a new relationship, or something else? Everyone seems to have a different idea of what would make them happy. But have you ever stopped to think about what your idea of happiness really is? Is it something that happens? Is it the result of something else? Is it dependant on someone else? Is it a feeling, a thought, an action or something else entirely? While happiness is something different to everyone, is there a common thread? What is happiness anyway?
What is Happiness?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, happiness is: “The state of pleasurable contentment of mind; deep pleasure in or contentment with one’s circumstances.”
The definition surprised me. I’ve always thought of happiness as an unexpected, elusive sort of thing, almost a magical feeling that sprang from nowhere and vanished again just as suddenly. After all, we’re all looking for something to make us feel happy again. Usually, once we get it, the happiness wears off quickly and we find ourselves right back where we started.
But to look at happiness as pleasurable contentment or pleasure or contentment with your circumstances makes it far easier to create. If happiness is, indeed, pleasure and contentment, then it becomes a feeling and a state of mind, rather than something outside of us.
Why is it So Hard to be Happy?
Perhaps this is why so many people have a hard time feeling happiness. So many things can happen in life, unexpected, traumatic events, grief, pain, loss and hardship. You find yourself no longer content with your circumstances. You may give up on pleasure or seek out substitutes for pleasure that only give a brief enjoyment but lack the soul deep satisfaction that leads to contentment.
Grieving is important. It’s a necessary part of processing a loss, either something life altering, such as the loss of a loved one, or even something positive, such as a child going off to college. It’s a change in our circumstances. On top of the pain and sorrow, the world has changed and we can’t go back no matter how much we may try.
Other things can also affect your contentment with your circumstances. You may be in a job you dislike or an unhappy relationship. You may be experiencing health issues or financial issues or any other type of issues. And you may think you have to resolve these issues before you can be happy.
Or you can be happy now.
Grieve your losses. Love yourself enough to make positive changes in the circumstances you can change. Take the steps and make the choices to create the life you want and become the person you want to be. But in the meantime, be happy now.
“Life will bring you pain all by itself. Your responsibility is to create joy.” – Milton Erickson
Happiness is a courageous act.
It’s accepting yourself where you are right now, as you are right now and loving yourself unconditionally. It’s loving yourself enough to be content in your circumstances right now because you are worthy of happiness. You are worthy of peace and contentment.
Right now, for this moment, you can be happy.
You can allow yourself to experience the beauty of the sunlight through an open window. You can relax into the warmth of a soothing cup of tea. You can hold your pet or a loved one. For a single moment or longer, you can be happy now.
It’s not a betrayal of your grief or your pain.
It’s allowing yourself, your heart and your soul, to heal and grow stronger. It’s accepting yourself right here and right now and loving yourself regardless of your circumstances.
And once you master that, you can master true happiness.
Happiness can be as simple as being content with yourself and allowing yourself to embrace even the smallest pleasures. Because once you can do that, you can create happiness in any circumstance merely by opening your heart, loving yourself and allowing yourself to be happy right now.