The other day, I wrote a blog entry – Anything but Apathy. In it, I was speaking specifically about sadness.. that, for me, feeling some sadness due to recent events was a positive.. That it revealed something about me that I am happy about – namely that I allowed myself to feel deeply and in doing so was willing to risk the potential (and real) heartache that necessarily comes with that.
I was careful to point out that I was not seeking words of affirmation or consolation – although some offered those.. Thank you??? (Hey!! What did I say?) 😉
The post got a lot of views/reads.. I’m glad you found it valuable. When I posted it, I mentioned I would write a little about happiness.. And so here we are.
First, I’m a happy guy
Disclaimer: My mom and my sister say I’ve always been up and optimistic since I was a kid. I can’t tell you how to be that way because I’ve always been that way. All I am going to share are some concepts that I believe make me happy.
This isn’t advice on how to be happy – that’s an internal question for each person. Too many factors play into this and I’m not an expert by any means.
With that disclaimer, here are things that contribute to my happiness.
I’ve gone through life without concern about what any particular trends were – fashion, personality, or otherwise. I’ve been, more or less comfortable, with who I am internally for as long as I remember. I had a small group of friends through high school. I never felt a need to be part of a larger social group. But I generally, liked and got along with everyone. Okay.. not with mean people. Mean people are..well.. mean.
I’ve never felt pressure to be liked by people or to get in with a particular clique.
A few years ago I was speaking to someone I went to high school with. We knew each other in high school and got along but we were not part of the same social group. He told me, “I remember you seemed very comfortable doing your own thing. I thought that was pretty cool.”
That made me happy to hear.
I don’t work on being “non-conformist” – that seems like a type of conformity. Meaning, I don’t necessarily find tattoos, piercings, non-traditional clothing, etc. to be non-conformist. Non-conformity can look like a grey suit and red tie.. Because, in my opinion, non-conformity is internal.
Also, this does not mean I don’t want to be liked – EVERYONE wants to be liked. Those who say otherwise.. well.. they’re lying, what can I say. What I mean is that I never felt pressure to be something I wasn’t in order to be liked.
I believe having no pressure to conform to a particular look, group, clique, etc. helps contribute to my happiness.
Amazing is everywhere
I am unsure why I’m this way – but I find so many things “Amazing!” A lot of what I find amazing is nature – sunsets, sunrises, cool mornings, lizards, birds bathing in the front yard, rocks, spiderwebs, etc.
But there is a lot more I find amazing. Text messaging. Taking video on your phone. New guitar strings. That area on a woman just below her waistline – to the left or right a bit – her hip (if you know that spot, you know it is amazing!), the first cup of coffee in the morning, a neatly designed business card, the fact that we drive on roads at 65 miles per hour and visit destinations that would have taken days or weeks to get to in a single day, etc. My dog makes me happy (video)
My kids know that I say, “That’s Amazing!” a lot – read more about that here.
I told a young lady recently, “Grocery shopping with you is romantic to me.” – she didn’t agree…. nor is she required to. But either way, it is how I see most of the world. FYI: It wasn’t the grocery shopping – it was any time I got to spend with her – even the “mundane” things of life. My belief is that much of life is working through the “stuff” of life and romance is found in the spaces between. Maybe that is simplistic of me but I’m okay with that.
Finding life and the things in it amazing helps me be happy. Those “spaces” in life, tucked between everything, are amazing (perhaps the most amazing) and make me happy.
Self-direction & no boredom
I’ve always loved writing. Writing words (essays, poetry, articles, stories) or songs (lyrics, music), etc. It’s made it easy for me to be on my own and be happy. I truly do not know what being bored means. If I have a notepad and a guitar – and a trail to walk along – I believe I could fill up days or weeks with a lot of contentment.
That self-direction, having things I simply LOVE doing, makes being happy easier.
This is NOT advice
Remember my above disclaimer. This isn’t advice. I’m not telling you what should or shouldn’t make you happy.
Also, I feel it is important that I divulge that in 2008 I experienced depression for the first time. It was accompanied with a LOT of anxiety. Since then, I’ve been more prone to feeling anxiety. It is like once I had a taste of that feeling, my mind could be brought back there much more easily. I still, at times, deal with that.
I’m still happy most of the time but it is colored with darker emotions.
What I can say is that, in contemplating those, I find those colors to be important in my canvas. I can’t say they make me happy – but they do add something that feels very real and vital.
I’m curious.. what makes you happy?