What does happiness mean to you?

Is it that buzzing, excitable, infectious, jump out of your skin kind of experience?

Or is it the safe, nurtured, stable and peaceful state?

Is it a state?  Is it an experience?

If you were offered a permanent version of happiness (by your definition) in the understanding that you must give up the opportunity of pain, conflict and trouble would you choose it?

Would you choose a quiet, peaceful, serene life?  A life free of trouble, a life free of problems, decisions, daily grind, conflict?

Ahh, the serenity.  Simple and easy, fun, smiles and that lovely happy feeling.

It’s funny you know…  I love the idea of me, in the shining rays of sun, probably wearing a flowing Alannah Hill number looking wistful, peaceful and serene as the world passes me by.

And then I remember I have three kids and they ANNOY ME (as much as I love them), I have relationships that challenge me – and I love those people for their challenges AND I remember that I have a burning passion for social justice and that’s not always happy – (in fact, it’s rarely happy)…

I think of my wistful me

And I want to shake her to wake her up.  Where did the passion go?  When did she sell out for ‘happy’?

I believe we have a choice…

We can choose cotton wool (or bubble wrap, wine on a drip or Valium or another drug of choice on tap) – OR we can live in the real world where opportunities for conflict live on every corner.  We can step into the conflict and embrace it as growth – learning – a challenge.

I believe that we can choose to believe the opposite of ‘happy’ is NOT ‘unhappy’.  Perhaps it’s challenged, learning, growing??

I believe that choosing ‘happy’ (and only happy) as an end goal is choosing a life void of growth, of change, of opportunity.

Oh yes, happy is nice but if happiness is your end goal what are you missing?

Think of that person who annoyed you to the point of change – change that was good for you and took you one step further towards your authentic self.  Perhaps that person didn’t make you ‘happy’ but they sure did push you to make life better.

Think of the grief that changed you – the learning that emerged through conflict and the pride you felt as you sweated and pushed towards a goal.  Perhaps you weren’t happy at the time- but you are a whole lot richer now through the change.

Yep, you absolutely have the right to turn away from every single little hurtful thing that comes your way – because your goal is happiness.  But, what would happen if you embrace the learning of pain?  If you allow yourself to step into failure so you can grow?

Today I was inspired by an article about depression.  The article reminded me that everyone has crappy times – and sometimes we need a bit of extra help to keep moving forward.  The article reminded me that sometimes it appears there is no hope beyond the moment.  The article also reminded me that feelings are an inconvenient reality of life.  And that eternal happiness carries Far, far too much expectation and thereby pressure.

Let’s just decide this…

Some days are crap
Some days are awesome
And sometimes we need a bit more

Each and every one of us will experience some level of frustration, angst, annoyance in our week to week
But that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy at some point
Let’s agree that we can choose happy
But more importantly we can choose a life that is authentically lived, that is rich and NOT void of learning through painful emotions just because they are a bit ‘ouch’.

Sometimes we will worry
But sometimes we will also be happy

And both days can be remembered as the days that create us.

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