Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pursuing Happiness

Just what is happiness? A few words that come to my mind are contentment, joy and bliss. The mere thought of those words fills me with instant peace. You can’t fake any of those feelings like you might when you merely slap a smile on your face. Remember, smiles are only skin-deep unless happiness is truly felt from within. I used to be an expert at slapping a smile on my face. It was easy, I’m basically one of those naturally smiley types, so it was very easy for me to fake it and get away with it. Does the faking it ring a bell for you?

While working in an office a number of years ago, I was essentially smacked in the head by the realization of what a smile means. I preferred getting to work a few minutes early to have a bit of quiet time to organize my thoughts. I didn’t appreciate any conversation before my workday began. It was how I would “get in the zone” for the day ahead. As I walked down the hall passing Jim, my boss, I made eye contact with him, mumbled a quick, “Good morning,” and proceeded on my way. He stopped, turned around and said, “Where is that smile of yours?” I turned around and snapped, “Who crowned me Miss Perky and why do I have to smile constantly?” A sad smile instantly spread out across his face as he said, “Sometimes that smile is the only thing that gets me through the day around here.” I immediately melted into a heartfelt smile and apologized to him. You see, we were both unhappy with our jobs at the time, and I understood where he was coming from. I’ve never forgotten that moment. You just never know where happiness grows. It made me look at happiness and smiling in a whole new light. After that exchange, I made an effort to feel happiness whenever I flashed that smile of mine; although, it took me a few more years to understand what true happiness can mean.

By paying more attention to my life and my needs, I’ve been swept away with a tide of happiness. Now, that doesn’t mean I’ve been crowned Miss Perky at all. That would be one heavy crown to wear! Happiness has become a feeling that pervades my entire life. It surfaces in everything I feel and in everything I do. No, you can’t fake it. Besides, you may be fooling some people, but you cannot fool yourself. Thinking you are happy and being happy may just be two different realities, and there is only one reality that is genuine. I am choosing to BE happy.

Is pursuing happiness even on your “to-do” list? If it is and you are still not happy then perhaps you only think you are pursuing happiness and you need new direction. Take note the next time you feel amazingly happy and ask yourself why, then do the same thing when you are not so happy. When I started doing this I learned more about what made me happy in the first place. I started to examine what made me unhappy and was determined to make changes. I was paying more attention to my needs and started to ask the right questions.

Begin with a heartfelt smile and remember⎯happiness will grow on its own if you start asking the right questions. This is actually a baby step in creating awareness in your life. Create the space in your life to just be and let the happiness overcome you like a wave on the ocean. I’m happy to report that neither Jim nor I work for that company anymore. We have found contentment, joy and bliss in the new directions of our lives, and you can’t fake that!

 Copyright 2010 Michelle Clark
Special thanks to Duncan Rawlins for wave picture