In Search of Happiness

One definition of thriving is feeling Happy.  Living through deep depression, PTSD or some people call it CPTSD, cancer, and suicidal ideology, happiness seemed elusive or fleeting.  Years ago a lady I knew wrote a song about Happiness is Like a butterfly….When pursued is frightened and shied.  I lived hearing things like when you get this you’ll be happy, when I get to this weight then I’ll be happy, it was like happiness was some distant future reward for checking off boxes A-Z but never quite attained.

“Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you; but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”

Author: Henry Thoreau

But what if they are wrong?  What if happiness is not a place or a prize to win but an emotion that can be invited into your life and stay with you most of the time.  What if the psychiatrist, psychologist and all the other ist missed the point?  They studied depression but not what makes people happy.  This changed with Happiness Psychology.  I was quickly disenchanted with people whining that they have to stay away from depressed people to stay happy.  Well I would lose every friend.  During counseling I learned I use depression like wet blanket over the smouldering outrage of my childhood.  It is a tool to protect myself and others from rage that I held in check for years by using depression.
I was feeling like an outsider again.
Hurrah for my son-in-law’s video sharing a book he read called, “The Happiness Advantage.”  I trust his judgement when he says something is awesome, it is.  So on his say so, I looked it up on Amazon and bought one then promptly put it on my shelf.  Too much sadness was coming at me.  Deep sadness.  Grief.  I spent all our internet time and needed to shut off the internet for a few days.  Tackle a book on Happiness when I was feeling anything but happy.  I am grieving.  It is ok.  I’m allowed to feel grief for a great loss.  This makes sense.  Now, is when I started reading the book.  I am skeptical by experience, questioning all magic beans that bring happiness.  The author Shawn Achor has a writing style that appeals to me.  A quirky comment here of there, just to see if you are paying attention.  However, this paragraph grabbed my attention and I read it several times.    (He is referring to the principles of happiness.)
Here is what they will not do. They will not tell you to paint on a happy face, use “positive thinking” to wish away your problems, or worse, to pretend your problems don’t exist.  I’m not here to tell you that everything always comes up roses.  If there’s anything the past few years have taught me, it’s that this view is deluded.
A few lines and this author has my full attention.  Like so many other feel good statements the trickle down distorted the original message.  I am going to the author that wrote about the Happiness Advantage and what I am reading so far is WOW.  I’m going to enjoy reading and sharing my perspective.  If you would like to read along with me https://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Advantage-Principles-Psychology-Performance/dp/0307591549
I bought a used copy and it is in beautiful shape.  Thanks Amazon.
I like Achor’s approach and I am looking forward to reading his book and sharing my perspective.
I had a poster on my wall as a child that said, “Live is a Journey, Not a destination.”  I think I could change that to read, “Happiness is a Journey, Not a destination.”

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