Happiness: A Continuing Study

This my grandson’s happy smile…

Looking at a definition of happiness as “feeling pleasure or contentment” I would say he’s rather content, but what you don’t see is his cast. He hasn’t learned to label what he’s going through as bad, so this leads me to believe that happiness is an inside job.

So much of my life I’ve been looking for some undefinable something, always knowing that something was missing. Was it wanting to be happy? If I try harder to do life better… being a better wife, sister, mother, friend, I would fit in someplace.

Having things didn’t make me feel better about myself. Going back to the definition of happiness, perhaps this is what I was looking for.

Understanding the influences of my past didn’t make my depression better. Listing things I was supposed to be grateful for only left me seeing all the ways I had lost.

Drinking gave me temporary contentment; then when I quit drinking gambling took me out of my misery for short periods of time.

I now see that what I believed about happiness was wrong. To try and find that right person, that right something will not make me happy — “feeling pleasure or contentment.” The search is overrated.

Contentment comes from living a spiritually connected life. Knowing on those days when the depression crowds in that I am still worthy of love, that I am enough even on those days when I do nothing but just show up.

Yes, I have found that one missing something. Digging deep within myself, I realized that blame kept me from my spiritual source and the things I feared kept me from doing the right thing for myself.

I know I am not the only one that has lived a shame-based life. Myself and others are now living a courageous, empathetic, and compassionate life.

Remembering that in order to give to others, I first have to give those things to myself; that true joy and happiness come from gratitude, and that all I need to be a success is to get up one more time than I fall.