Happiness Part 2
I've been thinking a lot about happiness lately. There has been a wonderful show on telly (ABC for those of you playing at home) called Making Australia Happy. It has been interesting to watch a group of people deal with the issues in life that are holding them back. In the first episode, just merely speaking to the chosen participants, they were almost in tears at their own unhappiness. In watching them, I saw myself a few years ago. Anxious, unhappy, trapped, disempowered.
In watching them, I not only saw elements of myself, but of other people I know. The sheer feeling of helplessness, the suppression of feelings that are bubbling away under the surface. There are times when we push down how we are really feeling, but those emotions have a habit of fighting their way to the surface. It takes so much effort just to control and contain those feelings.
Interestingly, the doctors on the show worked with the individuals to help them deal with the pain that they have been carrying around for years. Whether it was grief, issues with family growing up, broken friendships, broken relationships, financial woes, chronic medical complaints, social phobias or being a workoholic. People were challenged to get out of their comfort zone and confront the pain they held on to, change bad behaviours, take control of their lives and learn to be happy.
So many bells rang with what I have experienced over the last 2 years. Perhaps I learnt the hard way, as these guys did it in 8 weeks! But then again, they had professional help. It made me think of someone I work with. She complains about being unhappy and trapped by her life. My friend Morfia gave her sage words of advice, that if she feels she's trapped in a box, the thing to realise is that you are the one holding the key. No one can do this for you. And it is so true.
The doctors on the show said that most people don't know what would make them happy, so how can you measure yourself against an abstract concept. And it's true. There were some poignant moments on the show. The idea that pain can be part of happiness. You need to feel the whole gamut of emotions to be happy. We can't run away from the hurt and unpleasantness that life throws at you. Also that taking control and facing things that scare us, won't actually kill us. In fact, it may make us more resilient. And finally, letting go of things sets us free.
Best of all, they hypothosized that happiness was viral. Meaning that by doing things (like being selfless and giving to others), we can make someone else feel happy, and this in turn makes us happy. And most interesting of all, that watching people being happy, can make us happy too. I was beaming while watching this portion of the happiness-fest on the teev.
We spend so much time beating ourselves up, or holding onto pain, anger, anxiety or grief. In the end we are the one with the key in our hands. We can unlock the box and make ourselves happy. Hell - I'm living proof. So to mark my happiness and hopefully turn it viral, I've uploaded a photo from my wedding. This is how I spent the whole day - a beaming, grinning fool. It makes me smile and happy to my core to see this photo, and I hope if makes you smile too. After all, we all deserve to be happy.