By Kevin Sheehan, Special Columnist
What makes you happy? What makes you unhappy? What contributes to it and what takes it away? For some of us, happiness is found in some sort of art. Others find it in their hobbies. Others find it in their work, or families, or sports, or anything they spend time on.
But if we are happy when we do things that make us happy, what are we when we are NOT doing those same things? Are we just waiting until we can fulfill our interests? Or do we make the best of our time and try to stay happy?
Forgive me if the idea seems simplistic, but it is hard to stay happy all of the time. Our society is stressful. Work can be stressful, family as well, time, schedules, money, and the list goes forever on. People say home is where the heart is, and if that is true, you should always be at home with yourself. I don’t know about you, but when I am home, I am relaxed. Granted, you may not see me walk around Publix with no pants on (although there have been times), but it is important to remember that often, we are the source of our happiness.
When I ride a motorcycle, I am happy. But the feeling continues when I get off the motorcycle as well. So it is not the motorcycle itself (although it aids me), but it is myself allowing me to be happy even as I stop doing something I love. It is a perspective. It is an engaging thought process. It is a game to see how long I can last before I become uptight and stressed (as it does happen).
The point is, we don’t have to be unhappy sitting in traffic on the way home from work. We don’t have to stress about things we have said in the past that have been forgiven and forgotten by everyone but ourselves. We don’t have to beat ourselves up over every little mistake.
We do have to remember that friendship begins with us being friends with ourselves, which includes forgiving ourselves, being kind to ourselves, and doing things to make ourselves happy. It is a quite interesting display of cognitive dissonance when we do things for others that we refuse to do for ourselves. The point being however, is that we need to love ourselves. We need to allow ourselves to be happy. This is nothing new. These are not exactly distinct pearls of wisdom I am casting out. These are some of the simplest reminders that we consistently forget.
Anxiety can take its toll. There is no shame in feeling like things are too much, as many people do. But do we further the stress? Many times, the thing that is holding us back from being happy is ourselves. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to allow ourselves to be happy. Be your own best friend, and remember that you are worth loving, and be happy.
Be sure to get “Vivus: An Exposition of a Volatile Mind” by Kevin Sheehan now available in print and digital from Amazon.com!