Last night, my friend and I discussed what it means to be happy. How do you distinguish between happiness and contentment? Should you be chasing after it or just sticking where you feel safe? As I was thinking about my answer in the shower this morning, I realized that for me, happiness is all about being present in each moment.
Does that sound like some yoga hippy-dippy nonsense?
A little bit. Yes.
This isn’t to say that using all of your mantras and teachings from yoga is nonsense, but it got me thinking about how to find happiness and how you could even realize you’re there in the first place. Can happiness really be something so simple? Will I keep asking confusing rhetorical questions until somewhat of an answer emerges? Yes. Maybe you’re further along the path than I am. Maybe not. But here are some questions to peak your next deep conversation:
Do you know what makes you happy?
Ah ha, but it’s a trick question. We can all answer superficially what being happy means to us – but can you pinpoint why? Sometimes we like things because other people tell us that they should make us happy. Extroverted friends tell their introvert friends that they’ll be happier if they just socialize more. People who love writing tell all their friends to write more because it helps them express their feelings. *Cough* I may or may not be guilty of this myself.
Are you doing that thing that makes you happy?
Okay, let’s assume you’ve gotten to your ultimate self-actualized self. A large assumption, I know. Are you willing to do what you need to do to get it? It’s one thing to see your goal, but it’s another thing entirely to get it. For me, being happy is being present. Cue dramatic yoga music in the background. So being happier would mean going to yoga more…? Maybe in this one particular case – it’s easier to simplify down. But let’s say what makes you happy is learning, but you’re working at a company for the salary where you’re miserable. Are you willing to do what it takes to leave to make yourself happy – and can you measure your happiness at ‘having money’ versus ‘being happy’? Unsure.
Have you been checking in with yourself?
Surprisingly, you aren’t a stable abstract concept that never changes. None of us are. We all change everyday. What makes us happy also tends to change as we get older, experience new things and try out new stages of life. You might need to check in with yourself and ask: does that thing still make me happy? Is that thing still a positive expression of myself without all of the societal influences on it? If so – rock on. If not, don’t pull a Miranda Priestly.
What do you think yogis? What are some thing things that make you happy?