Opinion: Wisdom Workout

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Your Happiness Quotient

If happiness is a state of mind, why is it so seldom adopted as a permanent mind set?

There are aspects of happiness that come to light when we dip below the surface. Happiness is unstable. She is also unreliable and inconsistent. She doesn’t score high in loyalty either.

Actually, she is downright difficult. Though this sounds like blatant character assassination, we need to assess whether it is worth spending the energy to befriend her.

She may be too much trouble and if so, we can stop striving in that direction and settle for something safe: like mild contentment.

Though happiness is well-known and accepted in many social circles, she comes from a background that includes some sketchy characters.

Spontaneity, passion, exuberance and gaiety are direct relatives of hers. To be fair, she does have a brother who has made quite a name for himself in spiritual circles by channeling his excesses into enthusiasm. Since the word enthusiasm literally means, “filled with God” this does lift him above reproach.

Happiness is a wild child. She shows up on your doorstep with sunlight streaming through her hair and winds of delight whistling around her. Nothing is different and yet everything seems easier and just right.

No wonder we long for a visit from happiness and often ignore the fact that when she leaves it is devastating because the loss is so great. Once happiness visits your life, you are never the same. 

Happiness lives on her own timeline. She will not tolerate demands or heavy-handed control measures. She only responds to a light, accepting touch. She is highly curious and changes her mind often, so it is pointless to try to pin her down.

Happiness requires us to let go of our stifled and emotionally restricted habits of relating. We must be willing to open to the uncontrollable and unknowable aspects of life by easing up on our need to be in control and be right.

There is a secret about happiness that, once known, will give you the key to a lifelong friendship with her.

I am sure you are familiar with the phrase: misery loves company. Misery does love company and his main companion is happiness. I know this may be hard to grasp but hear me out.

Misery and happiness are soul mates. He fell in love with her long ago and will never let her go. She wouldn’t think of leaving him either. They each carry out their life purpose individually and then they reconnect at the appropriate time to keep their relationship intact.

Don’t just believe me. Recall a time in your life when you were very happy. Now push the memory further until you find the edge when happiness turned into something else. Recall how happiness started to slip away and was replaced by another experience. If you look closely, you will discover that the new experience brought some form of misery. It was simply misery coming to find his love and reunite with her.

“Sorrow fully accepted brings its own gifts. For there is an alchemy in sorrow. It can be transmitted into wisdom, which, if it does not bring joy, can yet bring happiness,” Pearl S. Buck (1950)

The secret to solidifying an intimate relationship with happiness is to embrace our past and present sorrows; our miseries, into our lives. When we welcome both happiness and misery as equal partners in the dance of life, they can finally live together and allow their love to weave their wisdom into the fabric of your life.

Susan is a Laguna Beach author and resident since 1986. Reach her at: susanvelasquez.com.

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