“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” – the Dalai Lama
I’m personally not a big follower of guru’s and (often times only so-called) spiritual leaders but when the personification of Yoda tells me that the key to life is being happy, then I’m first in line to give that hypothesis a go.
And so I did. Over the years, I’ve done everything you could possibly imagine to indeed be happy. I’ve zoomed into all sorts of yoga, did endless meditations, went medium visiting, did lots of traveling, quit my corporate job and started for myself in the most meaningful way possible, talked endlessly with the most amazing mentor that whooped my ass out of denial many times over, and so much more. But…no matter how hard I tried…and even though I definitely did experience A LOT of happiness and joy, there has always been a shadow side to me and my life as well.
There have always been as many tears as there have been laughs.
There has always been that sense of on depression bordering melancholy to match the just as abundant joy.
There has always been a deep and guttural pain in my heart for the suffering of every living being to balance out the sheer beauty of and gratitude for life and living.
There always has. And, I do not doubt that there always will.
That’s exactly why I’ve struggled with the concept of being happy for so many times. Because if happiness is “A mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.” (as Wikipedia says), then my state of being, definitely does NOT always match that.
So for the longest time, the fact that I, a recovering over-achieving business consultant-y perfectionist, did not perfectly match up to the definition of being happy made me feel like I was doing something incredibly wrong. Like I might be incredibly wrong. Because when it seems like you’re doing all the right things, and when it seems like that works for the people around you, then it must be you who is the problem doesn’t it?
Perhaps it was my introverted social awkwardness that was the problem. Or perhaps it was the occasional bitchy-ness that came out whenever I went over the limits of what I could handle. It could be that I was indeed ‘just’ difficult and overly emotional as I was told on several occasions. Or maybe, just maybe, that inner voice was right all along and I simply did not deserve to be happy.
…Yeah…I know…that is how we drive ourselves crazy!
And make ourselves unhappy…
The lesson learned here is thus that desperately clinging onto the idea of being happy does not work. Like Auliq Ice says: “Being clingy may work for puppies, but not for you.”
But daaamn, if that’s not it, what is?
I didn’t know. Which is why I went out into the world and asked “How is it to be you?” to a whole host of people and see if I could figure out whether or not I was the only one who struggled with these things. Whether or not it was ‘just me’.
Turned out, it wasn’t.
I know, big surprise right!? Of course, I knew all that already. You know, in my head. But I hadn’t realized it. As in, it hadn’t sunk into my DNA just yet.
This, by the way, is a rather important distinction; we can know or be aware of all sorts of things. Things we’ve heard or seen or read. But…without the actual realization…without that giant ‘AHA-moment’ that allows you to become one with that what you before only understood on an intellectual level, you can not really know on a metaphysical level.
It’s like knowing chocolate is great because you’ve eaten a tub of obscurely branded chocolate ice cream. But you will only realize how truly seductive and deliciously powerful chocolate is once you’ve tasted the richness of flavor that can only come from Belgian bonbons or Swiss chocolate bars.
“Ahaaa…so that’s real chocolate…now gimme more!”
That’s how I realized what happiness truly was.
No, no, don’t be a cliché; happiness does not equal chocolate. That was not where I was going with that analogy. Instead, and due to the learned fact that every other human being is just as much human as I am…with their own insecurities, and hang-ups, and dark days, and awkwardnesses…I realized that it was the definition of happiness that did not make sense. Instead of me not making sense that is…
Being happy does not mean to be continuously content and well-spirited. It does not mean that you easily and breezily zoom around life with a big smile on your face, stop and smell the roses at every single corner, and have the zen and patience to deal even with your most obnoxious co-workers or clients.
No. Some days it might just be that the best decision you could make is to roll over and watch Game of Thrones (again) until the cloud of thunder above your head blows over. Some days the bloody roses prick you in the finger and smell like dog pee. Some days the healthiest thing to do is completely break down and tell that asshole of a manager what an asshole of a manager he is. Or something…
If you know in your gut that you’re living the life you want to live… If you’re open to learning, and meaning, and loving… And if you’re open to the fact you might be wrong here and there and if you’re willing to change accordingly…
…Then having days like those does not make you an unhappy person. It just makes you a person.
What do you think?