There it is again. Another FB quote insisting that if I’m not happy that it’s all my fault-that happiness comes strictly from within. I don’t find those quotes encouraging, I find them shaming. I’m not blaming the people who post. I’m not saying they shouldn’t believe that or that they shouldn’t post and spread their joy. I’m not saying I wish they’d all just go live on their happy little islands and leave us sad people alone. I know its my own internal shame that makes me feel…well shamed. I was once a full fledged member of the positive thinking club. But I lost my card, didn’t pay my membership dues or something. Maybe I’m just too rebellious to follow the rules and got kicked out. Seriously though, I’ve really tried to figure out why I can’t just be happy. I know it takes a big commitment to take responsibility and be happy from an internal place. But I’m not so sure I believe anymore that happiness comes strictly from inside. I have to wonder, do the people who believe that, have an external motivator? Is there really some loved one who is encouraging them with lovely words and warm hugs? Do those people have a support system in place? Do they get good sleep and plenty of sunshine? Is there gut flora in balance thereby ensuring their hormones are regulated? Are their basic needs for food and shelter being met without too much stress? Basically, is there more to happiness then simply believing in it?
Don’t get me wrong. I do get it..sort of. I know that a certain amount of happiness comes from our own perspective. There is a lot of power in how we look at a situation and react to the haters, the doom and gloomers, and just plain negative and unsupportive people. We can find silver linings in dark clouds by just shining a little light on them. Sometimes we have to walk around a little, or change the batteries in our flashlight but often with a little work we can get that light too catch on the silver lining and reflect its glorious glow back at us. We can find adventure by being adventurous. We can see beauty by choosing to look for it. We can be a calming influence by practicing staying calm. Yada yada yada.
I’ve attempted to re-examine the times when I was full of happy. Back when I was totally immersed in my happy place I would tell people to find one happy thought, do one simple thing that made them happy and when they were doing it to think of another thing that made them happy and do that-and to keep doing it til they were doing more of things they liked than not-then joy would follow. I’m not retracting my words. But I am saying that it might not be that simple. I’m sorry I wasn’t more empathetic back then. I probably left people to be alone in their despair while I lived it up on the island. I’m not sure if I’m really sorry for that or if that is exactly how I should have lived. People have a right to their happiness, to find it where they can and hold onto it as long as they can. Happy people have no obligation to the ones who are seeking or who feel alone. They may even feel they ARE helping with their joy-from-within quotes. Happy people should not feel ashamed to declare their joy (with those quotes or otherwise) because that is their truth. I’m just saying that I’ve realized, from being on this side of things, that those words are empty and don’t actually do much for helping ME find MY happy place.
So, what WILL help me find my happy place? Well, I’m still trying to figure that out. I know some things that don’t work. I know some that do bring me a certain amount of contentment, excitement, and joy. I know of some external and some internal motivators but no longer believe its strictly internal. And I definitely know its not empty support and encouraging quotes. I’m not hopeless or faithless. I’m not teetering on the brink of suicide. I’m not looking for parentheses (hugs) or less-than, number 3s, or links to Byron Katie and Wayne Dyer. I’m just writing, just trying to figure it out.