Happiness is a funny word. Although we all have a definition of what it means, I doubt many of us would have the same definition. Emotions are funny that way. We use words to describe them, but we don't really know what they mean. Maybe this is the psychologist in me coming out, but I believe emotions to be subjective. What I label as happy, may only be your normal. While what you label as sad, I may see as being grumpy. This is why I hate the question, "How are you?" How do you answer it? Most of us will just reply with a "fine" and move on to the next topic of conversation. I much prefer to ask the question, "What's going on in your life?" Alas, we tend to respond blankly to that question as well though. My point in all of this is to inform you that for the first time I feel like I am finding MY happiness, and I'm so glad that I am!
So I feel like my entire life when I have told someone that I was happy, I didn't actually know what that meant. I may have thought that I had known, but really I was just moving through life with the benefit of minor, or minimal problems on the road in front of me. So what is happiness for me? Well although I am still highly stressed with school, moving, job hunting, and various other tasks I still find that I am happy. Happiness for me involves being in contact with the people I care about and love, laughing with them, crying with them, and connecting with them on an emotional level. Happiness for me is realizing that it isn't the end of the world if my apartment isn't clean when my mother comes and visits. Happiness is making new friends and learning about them. Happiness for me is surrounding myself with people.
It's kind of funny that for me happiness is being surrounded by people since I am a bit of an introvert, and I have panic attacks at stores around Christmas. This is a different type of being surrounded though. Not one of the people that I'm talking about live near me, as a matter of fact one of those people is out of the country! It's being emotionally engulfed by people to lean on, and to have leaning on me.
I have trust issues. Some of you who really know me and are reading this right now are going, "well no shit!" But let me explain to those who may not be as familiar with me. Throughout my life people who I have considered to be friends have betrayed my trust. I have told them something in confidence, and they turn it around on me. Or I have been as supportive as possible for them, only to have them abuse that support I've given. Because of this I often don't allow people near me. I put on masks, or I'm the wallflower that doesn't engage. I've just always viewed that as being safer. What I failed to realize is that this also meant that I was missing out on a lot of opportunities. I didn't meet a lot of cool people because I was too afraid of who they might be, rather than learning who they really were. I can't turn back time though and change that about myself. What I can do is change who I am now, and realize that yes someone may hurt me, but if they do I have people in my life that I can lean on who won't hurt me and will support me until the sting subsides. This realization led me to put myself out there, and since I've done that I have only found happiness.
A dear friend of mine is going through a really rough time right now. She's called me about everyday this past week, and we've talked for close to an hour or more each time. In one of our talks I shared some information that I haven't shared with anyone other than my direct family, and even they don't know some of the details that I shared with her. The reason that I shared this information with her was to help her know that she wasn't alone, and that although it may be tough now, it gets better and it can even get great given enough time. There was a time in my life that I didn't think that I would be happy, I had a definition of happy that based on what I thought happiness was because I'd never experienced it before. I've never been one to say "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" because sometimes I don't believe that it is that simple. I do know that this road to happiness has been long, difficult, winding, and sometimes rather bleak, but it's been entirely worth it. I'm so glad that I've found my happiness, now I just have to be sure that I hold on to it, or at least Skype with it every once and a while. =)