We make our own happiness

We make our own happiness

I haven’t had an easy past year. I’ve had moments where it feels as if my breath is being dragged out of my body, and there is nothing I can do to get a grasp on it. I’ve had moments where it feels like I am drowning in a never-ending flow of events. But I haven’t had a terrible year either. I’ve smiled so much my cheeks have hurt, and the lines on my face have deepened with each minute that that smile stays there. I’ve laughed so hard my stomach aches, and I ache for days thereafter. But, it’s all led me to this one realization that has been harder to swallow than anything else I’ve had to in life thus far: we make our own happiness.

This is such an easy realization, yet it doesn’t come easy. I’ve had to go through many things to come to it, but the realization may have been the hardest battle to fight yet. I guess the reason it is so hard to accept is that we want to be able to rely on others for support. As humans, we need relationships with people. We rely on them for encouragement and help through problems. This is in no way bad. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that these are all healthy, normal things we should do. But what I’ve struggled with, and what I’ve had to come to terms with, is that we cannot rely on others to make us happy.

Because of everything that has happened this year, I’ve relied on others more than I typically do. In fact, I was so out of practice of asking others for help that it was a battle in itself to be able to reach out to others and ask for guidance. But this process brought out the idea that I need other people to raise my spirits. I would go to social gatherings, one after another, because that’s how I filled all my time. Being with other people helped fill my mind and take my thoughts off of the real cause of the issue. I would go out every chance I got to make sure I didn’t have to deal with my problems.

But that all changed when it got to the point where I didn’t go out. I couldn’t. I couldn’t force myself to get out of bed and go. And as the days crawled by, and I had endless amounts of time to search my mind to desperately find an answer, a solutiona�� anything, I had to come to terms with the inevitable: we can’t rely on others to bring us lasting joy.

I look back on these past couple months and notice how there was a difference between situational happiness and happiness I made by myself because I made a choice to find something to be happy about. It is easy to be happy with friends, and it is easy to use them to mask pain, but it never lasts. Sooner or later, we come home to the same thoughts that were only masqueraded by friendly laughter.

The hardest part, but the realest happiness, is when we ourselves look for reasons to be happy. There are days when I am completely spent. Where it would be easier to crawl in bed and lay there and never get out. And sometimes, the thought that that is what I need overrides any rational thought and drives me to a state of mind where I can’t bring myself to do anything. I am unmotivated. Uninspired. Unable to move.

That is the time, in my lowest moments, when I have to make myself crawl out of bed, make myself find a reason to carry on. Force myself to find a reason. A reason to be happy, a reason to carry on with this day. It’s not always easy. It usually never is. Sometimes I come up empty handed, and I can’t think of a reason to be happy, and the sadness has won that day. But I can’t give it more than that. I get back up the next day, look where I went wrong the last day, and try to improve.

Today, I will look for things that make me smile.

Today, I will make choices that are healthy.

Today, I will treat myself better.

I won’t rely on people because I know that what I am asking for they cannot give me. No one can give another person true happiness. They can give them good times and a person who loves them, but they can’t make them happy. Happiness, true lasting happiness, known as joy, comes from within. It’s a choice we make.

We decide to be happy. I know how much bull crap that sounds like, but it’s true. I would have called you out on your hopeless message if you had told me that a year ago. But I can’t deny it. I’ve looked so long and so hard for how others can bring me this happiness that isn’t even real. I simply fell to the point where I couldn’t be sad any longer. I couldn’t go on another day hoping someone would come and pick me up. They didn’t. They won’t. Because no one can. You will be forever waiting in the mud if you don’t make the choice to pick yourself back up.

It’s true what they say about how if you smile you will become happiera�� you will. It isn’t instant. It isn’t magic. But it works. You just have to see it through.