On Happiness

So even though I’ve already kind of done this prompt, I think, like the ocean, Happiness is an evolving kind of feeling and energy that changes with our experiences and perception.

At 9 years old, I would have told you that Happiness to me was a bag of Sour Patch Kids, a bag full of puppies, and that feeling you get around the holidays. 
Though I still view Sour Patch Kids as an essential part of Happiness, I have to admit, it’s not as easy as it used to be. Both to identify Happiness, and enjoy it. 
These past couple years I’ve had bouts with Happiness… But for some reason it seemed I had more bouts with a sadness that wouldn’t let me be productive, connect well with other people, or be myself. And all I could think about was “why has my Happiness been robbed from me?” “Where did it, and my smiles go?” And more pressing: “how do I get it back?”
And so there was me, chasing after Happiness where I thought I could find it, holed up in my room for hours, soaking up social media. Spending what seemed like all of my waking time out of the house seeing friends and other people. Intensifying personal relationships on different levels. Spending money on things I thought I needed. Putting so much effort in trying to fit in, to make myself feel a part of something more. 
But oddly enough, that Happiness I was chasing started to look more and more like the butter you put on lobster that just pretty much melts away into nothing, salty and delicious and satisfying one moment, gone the next. 
And some days I could just…Not figure it out. The day would leave me hurt and unhappy, broken and empty-handed. 
Last night, (though I think I can accredit this to PMS-ing and lack of sleep) I felt  trapped in a dark place for a multitude of reasons. I couldn’t fall asleep, I wanted to go home, I was missing J unbearably, and I felt sick in my own body and became victim to wandering, destructive thoughts, taking me on a downward spiral into me having a hard time accepting who I was, what I thought, and what I wanted. 
And I just wanted to scream-whisper in the dark (so as not to wake my brothers) WHERE ART THOU, HAPPINESS? WHY HAST THOU ABANDONED ME?
But after watching the sun rise and and about an hour’s worth so of sleep later, my mindset has calmed, shifted. I am pulled back from the cliff of “why’s” and “what-if’s” and put into a different mode writing this post. Even just writing in this space is a coin tossed into my Happiness wishing well. And I think back to my most recent switching of my state of mind, and my observation is this: I’d been looking in all the wrong places. 
Happiness wasn’t countless hours alone in bed, sucking the life and productivity out of my soul through a phone/computer screen. 
Happiness never came from the perusal and pursuit of the social media that put up a front, a filter, a facade of what just wasn’t me. 
Happiness wasn’t spending time with others as a means of escape, getting out of the house. 
Happiness wasn’t purely increasing intimacy or adrenaline rushes. 
Happiness wasn’t emptying my wallet at every chance I got. 
And Happiness sure as hell wasn’t me trying to fit the mold of a completely unrealistic and untrue-to-myself society. 
So what was it?
Being present, teaching my little sister a new word, taking a completely unaltered picture of the sunset, getting completely soaked by a rainstorm on a run to enhance my physical well-being, cracking a joke with my brothers over tacos, staying up late with texts about the future and vacationing in Hawaii, and looking in the mirror completely naked and instead of thinking “ew, why do I do this to myself” thinking “There’s nothing I can’t do with myself”. 
It’s the little things, I know, but OH MY GOD are the little things important, and the things that can truly make you feel like you’ve snatched up a bit of Happiness on its merry way.  
I won’t say I’ve done a complete 180 and that I’m completely happy now, Happiness is my best friend, and every day is a frolick through the flowers. Absolutely not. (Well, maybe some days, including the days I do frolick in flowers.) There are still shadows and still demons but they’re just overcome a little more by the pieces of Happiness I have found. 
And after last night, and many times prior, I’ve found that dwelling on the shadow moments does nothing to help you find Happiness. Instead it pulls you away. It’s focusing on where your soul meets moments of sunshine and capitalizing on that feeling and keeping it with you through the shadow times that is important, no matter what you’re seeking.
xoxo,
Steph 

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