Does anyone remember the Peanuts book “Happiness Is a Warm Puppy”?
It contains a series of “Happiness is …” statements accompanied by Charles M. Schulz’s illustrations. Here are some of the statements from the book:
- “Happiness is an umbrella and a new raincoat.”
- “Happiness is a pile of leaves.”
- “Happiness is sleeping in your own bed.”
- “Happiness is getting together with your friends.”
- “Happiness is walking in the grass in your bare feet.”
- “Happiness is one thing to one person and another thing to another person.”
- “Happiness is everything.”
I had the physical book when I was a boy. Now I’ve got the Kindle edition, so I can have it with me wherever I go. The book serves as a reminder that happiness can be found anywhere. As long as you’re prepared to see it.
That’s the trouble though. You might not always be willing to see the happiness that is all around you. I invite you to explore your own answer to the question “What Is Happiness About?” as we take on the elusive search for something real.
Looking for Happiness in All the Wrong Places?
Oh, where have you and I and others searched for happiness? Let me count the ways.
Sometimes, there has been a tendency to look for happiness in all the wrong places. Maybe it’s been a natural part of the human condition to do that, or maybe we’ve been influenced to go in certain directions.
What are some of those places?
Possessions. Achievements. Sex.
Fame. Fortune. Status.
There is something that all of those places have in common, and I will explain that in a moment.
How is it that we’ve been looking for happiness in those places?
It can seem as if our collective human psyche is damaged or broken. To me, true happiness is a sign of health. Mistaking a sense of superiority over another or furthering a harmful way of life as being healthy indicates the blindness that humanity has been operating under. As long as any of us are unhealthy, then we all are. If any of us are unhappy, then we’re all unhappy.
Only if all of us win, can any of us win. That’s how connected we are. We’re all in this life together. What hurts any of us hurts all of us, and what heals any of us helps to heal all of us.
The danger of looking for happiness in the wrong places comes from thinking of the source of happiness as being outside of ourselves. That’s where pain enters into the equation.
Possessions, achievements, sex, fame, fortune, and status in and of themselves may not be wrong. Where things go wrong is when they’re looked at and pursued with the viewpoint that they are necessary to solve the problem that is us. The problem that is life. Except that life isn’t a problem and neither are we.
I’m sure you’re familiar with many cases where people have won the lottery or they got everything they thought they wanted in other ways, but they were still unhappy. What they expected to bring them happiness only made them unhappier. And that’s where they miscalculated.
I’ve done that, too. I’ve looked outside myself for happiness, and that was an elusive search for something real. Happiness is real. I’ve had happiness and I’ve been happy countless times throughout my life. It’s only when I stopped looking on the outside for happiness that I found it. Keep searching, and you will find it. The only thing is that you do have to know where to look.
Happiness Comes From Within
“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” – Sherlock Holmes
Whatever remains is that happiness comes from within.
I had to narrow down where to look for happiness. It took a long time, and I was very stubborn. But somehow, that struggle was necessary. It helped make me more certain when I did admit that happiness was — and is — within me all along.
You might already know this to be the case for yourself as well. Search your heart. You know it to be true. You are the source of your own happiness.
Granted, that might be an unpopular idea. If you’re well aware of the fact that you’re in control of your own happiness, then you won’t be as susceptible to certain influences around you. You might not buy things you don’t need. You might not take advantage of others. And you might not fall prey to the divide and conquer mentality.
If you accept responsibility for your own happiness, you take control of your life. If you do that, you won’t see an overwhelming supply of possessions to be the answer. To the best of your ability, you won’t make other people’s lives worse on your quest to make yours better. And you won’t see separation between yourself and those who appear to be different than you.
You’ll open up the possibility of having a minimal amount of possessions because you’re secure in yourself. You’re already happy. You’ll help to make other people’s lives better, and that will help make your own life better at the same time. And you’ll be a part of the solution, an essential element of humanity working together and living together in harmony.
As you accept that happiness comes from within and as you live from that awareness, you can see that happiness is available anywhere and everywhere. All at the same time.
Yes, that can be quite the adjustment to make, but so be it. The alternative is so much worse. Instead, you could be stumbling around in the darkness looking for yourself. Really. You are the light, and you’re looking for yourself. Until you admit that you are happiness, you’ve got the light turned off. Or hidden.
But how ’bout this one? You are the light on a hill, and you can’t hide the light. You are the light, the love, and the happiness. It’s up to you to shine the light that you are. It’s up to you to see the happiness that is within you and all around you.
What are some examples of happiness?
Happiness Is a Purring Cat
That statement of happiness right there was the idea that started this whole post. Happiness is a purring cat.
I’ve been getting to spend time with many cats during my stay here in Portugal. It’s very healing. I’ve missed being with cats, and this has been a very relaxing time. I know they’ve accepted me when I hear them purring. And they purr very loudly.
Happiness is companionship and relaxation. Happiness is playfulness and contentment. Happiness is unconditional love and acceptance.
What’s another example?
Happiness Is World Travel
During this trip so far, I’ve been to Portugal and Spain. And I might get to other countries yet as well before going back to Canada. This is the longest trip I’ve ever been on and the furthest distance I’ve ever traveled.
It’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long, and now it’s happening. Being in Europe is a dream I’ve had for decades. Ever since I was a boy. I knew it would happen eventually. Even though I didn’t know when or how.
Happiness is dreams coming true. Happiness is exploring the world. Happiness is meeting new friends and discovering great depths of kindness.
Here’s another example, then it’s your turn.
Happiness Is Writing My Own Content
I have an opportunity now to really break away from the routine. I’m doing work that I enjoy, and it’s work that I gladly get to do. I keep seeing the possibilities, and I know what’s required to make them real.
Yes, I can feel like I write more than I talk. But at least I have an outlet. And it’s healthy. And it’s fun. It inspires and motivates others. It cheers them up and helps them keep on with life.
Happiness is having a positive impact. Happiness is creativity and self-expression. Happiness is being part of the human community.
Now it’s your turn.
What Is Your Happiness About?
You are here to identify your happiness. Happiness is more than a feeling. Happiness is more than something that comes and goes. Happiness is an ever-present, always available reality.
You are in control of your happiness. How does it feel having that level of responsibility?
You’re old enough to handle it, and you’re strong enough. You are the source. You are enough. You are awake, aware, and ready to lead.
You’re done pretending to be weak. You’re done being unhappy. You’re done stumbling around in the darkness looking for yourself. You are strong. You are happy. And you have found yourself.
What is your happiness about?
Happiness is choosing to be happy anywhere and any time. Happiness is within you. Happiness is you.
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Until next time,