Seeing the best in life's challenges

Happy Moments

Do you notice how some people always seem to be Happy and others always seem to be unHappy? And do you notice how this doesn’t necessarily depend on their life circumstances? Do you pay attention to when you feel Happy and when you feel unHappy?

We talk about Happiness a lot. It’s what we say we want for our family, our children, our friends, and for ourselves. What do you do to attain Happiness? What “makes” you Happy? Do you want to help other people to be Happy? Do you want other people to think you are Happy?

Do you know anybody who puts on a Happy face in public, but then is very grouchy and seemingly unHappy in private? Are you consistently Happy or unHappy, or does it depend upon your circumstances?

We all understand Happy Moments. When things are going right, we feel Happy. Happy Moments include:

  • You have a success, and gain recognition or praise – you are acknowledged as “good” by others.
  • You achieve something and feel satisfaction.
  • You do something you enjoy, which makes you feel good.
  • You are shown love by another’s words or deeds, and you feel worthy.
  • You see something beautiful, whether a situation or a scene – a beautiful sunset, a generous act, a situation where everything works out for the best, you hear music you love, you experience wonder at something.
  • Someone else, perhaps someone you love, experiences a Happy Moment and you are Happy for them.

The list could go on, but we are all familiar with situations that make us Happy. And we are familiar with the opposite as well — take any number of opposite situations, which might make us feel sad, angry, or some other form of “unHappy.”

One way to think about having a Happy Life or having Happiness, is to fill your life with Happy Moments, or at least more Happy Moments than Sad Moments. It seems to me that most people don’t really think about this consciously, but follow this method of pursuing Happiness.

You can work hard to maximize your Happy Moments. You can be nice to people, get good grades, show up on time, work hard, learn a lot and apply what you know, get a good job, marry a nice, attractive person, teach your kids how to behave, choose a good neighborhood to live in, get some more credentials and secure a better job, expand your social network, do volunteer work at church, network with successful businesspeople, earn a reputation as an expert, share your knowledge…..get the idea? This approach will maximize your chances of having lots of Happy Moments……which will make you Happy, right?

Well……what if after all that hard work, you get skipped over for the promotion? What if you don’t get in to the college of your choice? What if the economy tanks? What if your business partner dies suddenly in an accident? What if you or a loved one gets seriously sick? What if your child has a learning disability or autism or just a contrary personality? What if your spouse and you have conflicts? What if you realize, after 20 years, that you really don’t like the type of work you chose?

We can plan for a perfect life that will provide Happiness, but we cannot predict or control how life will actually unfold. We all know people who did everything “right” but then “got screwed”…..and we all know people who seem to be charmed, who bounce back from seemingly impossible circumstances.

When we experience Happy Moments, we experience good feelings. Feelings like joy, wonder, satisfaction and gratitude. Positive feelings “make us” feel Happy. But is “feeling” Happy the same as “being” Happy?

We are so vested in the Happy Moments mindset that we don’t think about it, and we don’t think that there might be an alternative approach to achieving Happiness.

Happy Moments are not the same as what I want to call Core Happiness. Those people who seem to be Happy no matter what life throws them, have Core Happiness. Is that state of “being” about always feeling positive? I would argue that the State of Being Happy is not about feelings, but about being balanced, relaxed and comfortable.

Core Happiness is an internal state of being that is not dependent on external circumstances. Of course, every person will still have Happy Moments and Sad Moments, but a person with a high level of Core Happiness will not depend on these Moments to define their sense of well-being. It’s a whole different thing.

An individual who is comfortable with who they are, who feels worthy, secure, confident, open, eager and optimistic is in a state of peace, relaxation, comfort, and satisfaction. When we achieve (or get close to) a natural state of balance we are most likely to consider ourselves “Happy” in our core.

People who depend on Happy Moments to be Happy will do everything they can to create Happy Moments and to avoid Sad Moments. They will want others to behave in ways that create Happy Moments for them. They will seek out situations that provide Happy Moments. Without having an internal balance, this method of pursuing Happiness can become exhausting. And because the source of Happy Moments is external, this quest is also exhausting for those others who are expected to participate in creating those Happy Moments.

What kinds of Happy Moments do you depend on? What “makes” you feel Happy, and what situations do you try to create, over and over, that give you positive feelings? Can you see any patterns in your life? Despite many Happy Moments, do you still feel that you are unHappy?

Do you feel balanced? Do you consider yourself resilient and able to bounce back from Sad Moments? Do Sad Moments define you?

Are you addicted to Happy Moments? Do certain kinds of Happy Moments result in you feeling unbalanced?

Observe yourself and figure out how you are searching for Happiness. Is your level of Happiness dependent on Happy Moments? Who else do you depend on to behave or to do things that you think you “need” to be Happy? What level of certainty do you need from others in order to feel Happy? If your external circumstances changed, would you still be Happy?

We each get to choose how to pursue Happiness. For those who focus on Happy Moments, there may come a time where it becomes just too frustrating to never feel like there are enough, and to never feel a sense of satisfaction with life as it is. It may be that then a person shifts focus to a different definition of Happiness, an internal state of Balance.

Perhaps, this is the true source of the Happiness we really want.


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