Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth…
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you…
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do…
— “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
Pharrell hit upon something amazing in his “Happy”. It’s a light, bubbly, feel good song, but there is a deep truth here—one that may not be easy to face. This is the real question that Pharrell asks throughout the song… “Do you know what happiness is to you?”
What is your happy?
While we are on the cusp of spring, this is still technically winter, a season of renewal and reflection in anticipation of the bloom of spring. It’s the ideal time to dream. The perfect moment to consider your happy.
Hope dies when dreams wither. Happiness then becomes a discarded belief of our youthful past. At some point the benchmark becomes contentment, a bland existence in which the most you desire is stability, sameness, no drama.
What kind of life is that?
Don’t get me wrong, contentment is far preferable to misery. Absolutely. But who determined that’s the best we can do? I’m not convinced. And it is my mission to shake your belief in this unsatisfying, yet popular belief.
What I am convinced of is this:
It is far harder to be happy because it requires thought and thoughtful action.
Not the kind of thought that we use everyday—What should we have for dinner? What movie should we watch? Which mall should we go to?—No, it requires self-reflection. That dreaded activity that forces us to look at ourselves in the glaring light of honesty, and see, not only our sparkly bits, but also the warts and scars and doubts and fears that keep us from looking too closely in the mirror. But avoiding that mirror means avoiding the path to your own joy.
If you can work for other people’s happiness, why not your own?
I’ll say this, no, it isn’t easy—for anyone—certainly not for me. But, it is worth it. If you can work hard at your less-than-what-you-deserve paying, 9 to 5 job for 1,800 hours a year to achieve the happiness of others, you can spend at least 10 minutes a day in this last weekend of winter in active thought to figure out your own. In fact, you could even take 10 minutes while on that 9 to 5 to get your own act together.
So the “I don’t have time” excuse is now out the window, but then you say, “I just don’t know how to figure this out?” Ok, start here. Ask the question:
What would truly make me happy?
The first answer might surprise you. Don’t reject it. We often speak truths to ourselves and then push them away, call them crazy, say it isn’t possible. Well here’s the thing, it isn’t possible and it is crazy if that’s what you decide. But the opposite could also true—if you declare it as your own personal truth.
Get this—your truth is only yours. No, it might not work for your mother, your brother, you sister, your father, your cousin, your best friend, your worst enemy. But that doesn’t matter. The question here is what will work for you? And only you know the answer. Only you know what it is in your heart and what would satisfy your soul. So often we look to others in the hopes that somehow they will solve the mystery of our discontent, that some external force can tell us exactly what we need.
Never gonna happen.
The second step: After thinking about what will make you happy, realize:
ONLY YOU CAN DO IT!
No one is simply going to hand happiness to you. No one can input all of the knowledge and information you need to create the reality of your dreams. No one can wave a magic wand and you POOF become the perfect version of you, living the perfect version of your life. No. But that’s okay. If that were the case, you wouldn’t appreciate it when you got it. Instead it’s up to you to do the work to get what you want after you decide what it is.
For me, I realized the answer was right in front of me. What makes me happy is to help you. Whether it’s getting that job of your dreams, getting back into school, going for the next degree, finishing your great novel, or publishing your first article—I am here to help you jump into your happy future. You are the key to my happiness, and I’d love to know what the key is to yours.
Kate E. Stephenson is a freelance communications specialist whose business encompasses content writing, comprehensive editing and quality resume services. Lexicon is her brainchild, a blog all about Language—insight into today’s job market and hiring tips, book releases and reviews, and general folly concerning the many mysterious facets of the English language and human communication. Be sure to read more about Kate, check out a full listing of services, and enjoy her columns here on Lexicon and on Kate.Book.com!