Lately, I have been trying to think about what makes me feel happy. What do I really want? What do I want to do for a living? Who do I want to be? What activities would I enjoy on a regular basis? What kind of people do I want to surround myself with? How do I want others to view me? What actually matters in my life? All of these questions circle my mind on a daily basis and weigh on my soul. This desire of identity, of ego, of being someone special and finding my own happiness begs my attention and stays with me wherever I go. I strive to do and say and be all these things while searching for my happiness, my identity, and my uniqueness.
While on this journey, I found myself admiring other people’s lives and comparing their accomplishments with my own, upset and frustrated at myself for not getting there as quickly as others seemed to arrive. I don’t have an established career or a four-year degree. I don’t have a spouse and children. I haven’t travelled to other countries all over the world or mastered something unique. So what then am I here for? What is my purpose? Why am I not further in life? We all tend to do the comparison game. We value ourselves based on lack not our strengths. I forgot that everyone is on a different journey that is right for them and may not be right for me. My journey is my journey; everything in this moment is exactly the way it is supposed to be and I am exactly where I should be. This was step one for me – acceptance.
There are many things in this world that make me feel good, excited, and passionate. Close friends and family with whom I love and spend quality time is an example. Writing is a joy of mine, as well as music. These things fill me with temporary happiness – when I am with these people or doing these activities. But then I go home to my room and I am alone again and I go to work where I put in my eight hours and go back home. I ask myself, why can’t I feel this happiness and contentment all the time? I wanted to find my purpose and my gifts that I could give to the world and in this I hoped to find my very own happiness. But after much more observation, during my search for happiness, I discovered a certain truth and sameness with all people. We all want to be happy; and we all try to do things or be a certain way to achieve it.
This behavior, what I would call “coping mechanisms”, is what people tend to turn to in order to feel better, not to be happy in a long-term way. Just last night, I went to eat dinner with a close friend of mine. She was frustrated with her work situation, among other things. She told me her natural tendancy was to “sleep it off” and go into her “cave”. This was her way of dealing with her issues or emotions that she was not wanting to deal with. I kept hearing her say that she wanted to talk about it with someone, but instead she chose to sleep. After dinner, we walked around the local mall. I saw a girl look really sad and she was carrying several shopping bags and it dawned on me that her coping mechanism was probably shopping, buying things to feel better about herself or some situation in her life. Others drink, smoke, or do drugs. I could go on an on. My point is that we tend to choose the opposite than what we really need. A list of healthier things to clear your mind might be to talk about it with a trusted friend or family member, exercise, clean, or maybe do a creative project or work with your hands on a project. These activites tend to help us clear our minds so we can focus better on what makes us actually happy instead of focusing on how miserable we feel in the moment.
That is really what it all comes down to, is each moment. In each moment, we can choose to feel happy or otherwise. If we are taking care of our own needs and choosing healthy options of working through our frustrations instead of ignoring them by drinking or shopping or sleeping, we can move on with our lives and start being happier.