Are You Happy Now? How ‘Bout Now?
September 23, 2017
Ever wonder why it seems like everyone else is blessed with the happiness gene?
I mean, are you just not wired right? Are you built wrong?
Does your desire to feel passion and purpose feel like a burden because your search never ends? Are you dang tired of looking for answers but you just can’t stop because if you do, you feel like you’ll die inside?
I hear ya, sister. And you ain’t wrong about any of it because feeling good inside is everything.
I mean, name one thing more important to you than being happy. Go ahead. I'll wait.
...🎵do do do dooo...do do dooo...dooo dodo...do do do DOOO...🎵…
[Ten points if you recognized I was chillin' with the Jeopardy theme song.]
Okay, so how'd ya do? Come up with anything more important than being happy? It's tough, isn't it? The reason it's so tough is that feeling joyful inside is our natural state and it's what we live for.
Let's pretend a tiny wizard with a magic wand offers to make all your wishes come true. You can have or be anything you desire...anything you can dream up. The only catch is you have to give up your ability to feel joy. Forever. Did you catch that last part?
F O R E V E R.
So even if you don't feel joyful right now or you've struggled much of your life to feel good inside, you’d have to sign off on all hopes of EVER feeling happy again.
Would ya do it? Would you make the deal? Or would you place the tip of your finger against your thumb and flick that little wizard to the moon?
My point is even if you're struggling and your happy place feels like it has left the building for good, there's something deep inside you that knows it's still in there somewhere. You wouldn't take the wizard's deal because on some level you know nothing else in life equates to feeling good inside—and there's still a chance, even if it seems like just a sliver, that you might feel happy tomorrow. Or the next day.
Why am I beating the drum on this? Because your Purple Swan is all about rediscovering natural joy. That's the prize. And the work? Well, it’s realizing who you really are—releasing your true self from your self-imposed prison. Betcha didn't know we've been cellmates! [wink]
In order to totally throw yourself into this venture, you have to believe true joy is worth it. You gotta know the prize is worth the effort because embracing your inner being's transition from invisible (or semi-transparent) to visible is gonna take a bucket load of courage. You have to know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that feeling wonderful inside is worth everything. Every risk. Every effort. Every tear. Every self-doubt. Every uncomfortable moment.
Now if you’re not yet convinced, that’s okay. Maybe you're not ready yet. Everyone has their own pain threshold for suffering. I reached mine. If you’ve reached yours as well, welcome. And as you move through this process, just remember to keep your eye on the prize. I promise you it’s worth it.
So now that we’ve established nothing beats feeling wonderful inside, how come more of us aren’t feeling good? If feeling happy is really our natural state, why are we so out of touch? How come we seem to be in an endless pursuit of happiness? I mean, being naked is a natural state but we don’t wander around for years searching for our birthday suits.
Here’s what I know.
I’ve wasted a lot of time lookin’ at the wrong stuff. You see I really had no idea why I didn’t feel joyful and so I began my hunt for happiness. I gathered up all the clues society offered me and did my best to brew up a good batch of happiness stew.
See if any of this sounds familiar to you:
I’ll be happy when…
When I figure out what to do with my life…
When I meet my true love…When I get married…
When I buy a house…When I have children
When I get a better job…
And then a funny thing happened—well not funny, kinda confusing actually—I got those things and they were replaced with new “whens”.
I’ll be happy when…
When the love of my life learns to connect with me…
When my child has outgrown that horrible stage...
When I get some time to myself…
When I lose weight…
When my mortgage is paid off…
When I have more money...
I call this playing the “when” game. It’s a form of happiness stew. It's everything society taught me about being happy.
We play the “when” game because we’re holding onto hope that if we change the conditions of our environment, the life we desire will manifest and then we’ll feel good inside. Oh, girl, I've trotted down this road so many times it looks like one of those big steamroller thingies pressed out a large swath. But nope—that's just my feet.
Now there’s nothing wrong with wanting an improved life. It's fabulous actually. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have more luxuries and financial freedom, and increased comfort and greater adventures? Sign me up on that plan!
Besides, we have to dream up big dreams so when they come true we can celebrate with colourful balloons and twirly streamers and triple chocolate cake with thick creamy icing and rainbow sprinkles on top. Sounds great so far.
Yup, you just knew there was a “but” coming.
The problem is the external stuff can only embellish what we’re already feeling on the inside. Sure, it can take you up a couple notches on the feelin’ good scale for a while, but it rarely keeps you there for long.
When you’re playing the “when” game, you dream up stuff you’d like to have or do or change, and at the time it seems like it really WILL make you happy. But it doesn’t. Or it does initially, but then the happiness fades. So you figure maybe you didn’t choose quite right, and you make a different choice, or perhaps revise the original pick. But then it lets you down again. And now you’re knee-deep playing the "when" game on that dang rinse and repeat cycle.
So many times I was convinced if I could just make this one thing better I would be happy. But that one thing was never enough.
Because happiness stew is a script. Like a recipe. You know, be a good girl, wife, mother, friend, etc., get a good job, meet a nice guy, settle down, buy a house, have children, and live happily ever after. I was playing a starring role and didn’t even realize it because I was groomed into it. The message I received was to follow the recipe and it'll bring me happiness. The second message I received was if I wasn't living happily ever after that I must be doing it wrong. Or there’s something’s wrong with me.
So, all those years playing the “when” game was me trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. Or what was wrong with me. Until I realized I wasn't doing anything wrong. And there wasn't anything wrong with me—there was something wrong with the recipe.
Here's how I see it:
First, happiness stew is manufactured. It's not real. It's based on a twisted version of success. It's all about how things look from the outside in, rather than how they feel from the inside. It's not happiness stew. It's fake stew! And fake stew cannot create a nourishing life.
Second, happiness stew is manufactured by someone other than me. How can anyone other than me possibly know what lights me up? Or what feels right to me? Or meaningful to me. So not only is it fake stew, it's also made entirely from ingredients that other people chose. In other words, it's got crappy ingredients for me.
Third, happiness stew is one-size-fits-all. That's right. One happiness script to serve the billions of people in the world. Even if we say there are several dozen scripts written for different cultures, or even a few hundred. Really? Those few recipes are gonna serve the billions of people on our planet? That’s ludicrous. Like we're all expected to eat the same stew. Don't like parsnips? Too bad. They're in the stew. Serving size too big? Tough tahooties. Eat it anyway.
As an aside, I've always had an aversion to one-size-fits-all thingies. I don't know about you but they never seem to fit me. Especially hats. I must have a big head cuz those things perch on top of my head like I stole the lid off a teapot.
To sum up, society would have me believe following a simple recipe will bring me happiness and if I'm not happy then I'm not following the recipe correctly or I’m flawed. And what I've learned is the recipe has me eating plastic stew, made with garbage ingredients, and everyone is eating the same crap.
Cow patties for one and all! Whahooooooo!!!
So all the time I spent trying to amend the happiness recipe with the “when” game was a waste of time. Because the recipe was a bad one, to begin with.
The other problem with happiness stew is most of it, if not all of it, is surface stuff. It’s like lookin’ at a house from the outside in. And even if you cherry pick the ingredients that are right for you, here’s the problem. Now, I’m gonna switch metaphors on ya so stick with me. Happiness stew is actually the icing. They forgot the cake! Imagine my surprise to learn I’ve been eating frosting all these years? I mean, I l-o-v-e frosting but without the cake, it gets a little sickening. Ya need the substance to go with it.
And guess what? We're the substance. Me and You. The real us, that is. We’re the cake. The "us" society tells us to hide. Yup. Where do ya think we all internalized the message that we’re not enough?
Now this is a humongous topic and I’m pretty much bursting to share more with you but doing so now would be like smearing you with chocolate gobbledeegook, sticking marshmallows in your eyes, and tossing handfuls of smarties, jujubes, and gummy bears at you til you looked like a chocolate dipped, candy-covered ice cream cone—and then asking you how you enjoyed your dessert.
Ah, what??? Not good.
For now, let’s just sum it up this way. Society’s recipe for happiness sucks. It won’t create the lasting joy you’re searching for. And so it’s time to ditch the "when" game. Ease into it. It’s not gonna happen in a day. After all, society's been grooming us for a lifetime.
But here's the good news. There's another way to feel good. Really good. You see, my hunt for happiness eventually led me back to me. And I’ve come to realize much of my suffering grew from just one place—from keeping the real me constrained inside. And so that’s what we’re gonna keep talkin’ about.
Meanwhile, I’d like to leave you with these words. You do have the happiness gene and you are wired the right way. You’ve just been led astray by a world of well-meaning but misguided people.
But now, my little lovebirds, it’s your time. It’s time to reclaim you. Are you ready?
I’d love to hear from you.
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and I’m not a mental health professional. Obviously. I can’t possibly know your full situation so please consult a professional before acting upon information from yourpurpleswan.com. Should you decide to act of your own accord, you do so at your own risk. Kinda like skydiving.
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