Happiness is so elusive. It could almost be an abstraction. Maybe it is. It is so different for everyone.
Some say that happiness is being in the here-and-now. Being present in the moment. Not traveling into the future, or dwelling on the past. Letting go of what’s done, and letting go of what we cannot control. I can see how practicing being present could make you more relaxed. And being relaxed and anxiety free might naturally mean happiness for some. Like Buddha. Look at his blissful smile.
For me, though, finding my state of happiness has meant letting go of pre-cut templates, like checklists of things I needed to achieve in order to keep up, stay on track, and be happy. Some of the things on my checklist were graduating college, getting a job, getting engaged, getting married, having a baby, buying a house.
I did some of those things. But when I realized I wasn’t going along with the program, I felt like I was falling behind which made me anxious and depressed. I came to a realization – over a period of a couple of years – that I had to redefine my idea of happiness.
At the time, I didn’t know that this is what I was doing, but I knew that I couldn’t base my happiness on events over which I may or may not have control. I willingly – and sometimes reluctantly – let go of society’s checklists, and wiped out many preconceived notions of what is supposed to make me happy.
It is after I stripped myself down of aspirations preconceived by friends, family, and society that I have been able to arrive at my own authentic place of being. It’s not finished yet – this ‘place’ – and it is no physical or material place. My happiness is a state of being which is uniquely my own. One which is based on my own preferences, natural cycles, and inclinations.
Letting go. There are many different things to leave behind. In my yoga classes, some instructors will say, let go of what doesn’t serve you anymore. And perhaps, like me, you are holding on to ideas of happiness which are bringing you down instead of bringing you happiness. Let go. And maybe, at the very least, you’ll set yourself free of any self-imposed un-happiness.