Doing what makes you come alive.
Being madly in love.
Chasing that dream that you’ve always longed for.
Can you feel it? The joy? The buoyancy?
There is something to be said about a child’s mind- the mind that draws a line between what’s real and what’s imaginary that’s so faint, you have to question whether it’s there at all.
Something happens to us when we become grown. Something unfortunate.
We become realists. Whatever the hell that means.
Of course, all to varying degrees. Some are bruised with this affliction harder than others and I must say, having met a few, these people are horribly dull and appear to be the wet blanket of their life.
So. Where did all the happy people go?
As far as I can see, the happiest people I know of are the inhabitants of tropical islands or are under the age of 12.
This pulls me to one of Ernest Hemingway’s remarks:
“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”
Ain’t that the truth.
You see, if you are reading this, you have access to the internet. Which means you own or can afford access to a computer. Or a smartphone. The majority of the world would put you in the “lucky bastard” basket for being so fortunate.
And yet despite this fact, we are always under the impression that something is missing from our lives.
What is it?
Some of you may shout the answer quicker than a bullet leaves a gun-
The rest of you may feel a bit confronted. That’s okay too.
I just want something to breach your guard today if you’ll let it.
How did you stumble on this feeling of lack? If you feel unhappy or feel there is something missing, can you even remember from whence it came? If it is crystal clear to you- a time, a place, a circumstance in your life- you can read on for pleasure. However, if you cannot hone in on when this sensation arose, you can read on by duty to your soul.
Let me be suggestive here. Is there a possibility that our fortunate westernized world has created this for ourselves?
Newsflash. Happiness is a powerful industry.
The very search for it has created the hole in our lives that we desperately scramble to fill.
So comrade, any luck so far on mission happiness?
If you are anything like myself, you love the world of self-development.
Two words come to mind here. Kudos and Oops.
You examine your life to no avail and every new self-help book you buy is sure to tell you which part of yourself you need to chop in order for you to be truly and blissfully happy.
Don’t worry, though. You’re not starting a trend. This “are-you-really-happy?” industry kicked off way back when the groundbreaking book by Viktor Frankl was published. Man’s Search For Meaning filled hearts with comfort and heads with the infinite quest to identify the meaning of one’s life.
Life must be meaningful for you.
This is a must. You are a wonderful being of higher function and without this bubbling under your surface you have no engine.
What if, just for the purpose of this article, I make it uber-simplistic?
Here we go.
If you were happy, would your life be more meaningful?
Or, try this on for size-
If your life had more meaning, would you be happy?
Uh-huh. Breaking through. Grab a cup of tea.
What I would like to know is, is happiness essential to have meaning in life, or, is having meaning in life essential to being happy?
Are they synonymous?
I don’t think so.
You see, the purpose or the “meaning” in your life is well demarcated. After a little digging, of course.
Happiness on the other hand is like attempting to bottle the aroma in the room once you’ve burned your favourite candle.
The only way you experience that blissful scent is by burning the right candle and let the smoke weave its way into the fabric of your world.
Happiness is the same.
The only way to “have” it is through giving your soul and your life the right fuel- the meaning. (Thank you, Viktor.)
Albert Camus wisely said that you will never be happy if you continue to search what happiness consists of. It can’t be done. The very quest for it creates unhappiness. We can never seem to get it, so we perpetually believe that we are unhappy.
Happiness is the emission from the burn of your life’s meaning.
Let’s just decide to expunge the term happiness from our vocabulary. I imagine all of us fortunate souls would be much…happier.
Brooke Steff is a degree qualified Naturopath, Medical Herbalist, Strength and Conditioning Coach and the founder of Crazy Beautiful Healthy. At Crazy Beautiful Healthy she provides driven women who want to live healthy, fulfilled and passionate lives with the practical and psychological tools they need to master this art without losing that lovin’ feeling.