It’s been half a year since I started this experiment into the landscape of happiness, and choosing happy. I’ve written every Saturday since I started the challenge – about my experiences, my observations, my perspectives, and my learnings about happiness.
It has been quite a fascinating ride so far.
I started this challenge because I felt that being happy on a regular, consistent basis was beyond me. I wondered if I were constitutionally unable to be happy on a day-to-day basis – perhaps that was for other, more naturally sunny, people than me?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no
Sure I felt happy some of the time. But not consistently, not everyday. And some days I felt very blue, very low, very much under a dark cloud that didn’t seem to be lifting.
And somewhere deep inside me, I had an idea that I was somehow getting in the way of my own happiness. That I was making it far harder than it needed to be. That I was an obstacle in my own path.
I thought too much about things. I felt things too personally and too deeply. I paid too much attention to things that I should let slip by me.
I suspected my skin was too thin, my resources too unreliable, and my nature too sensitive to have the sunny winds of happiness blow through my life day-in, day-out.
Turns out that whilst some of that had whiffs of truth to it, none of it was The Truth.
The Truth is that we all have access to happier thoughts, and therefore happier feelings, if we allow the natural process of allowing unhappy thoughts to drift away to occur.
The Truth is that it is natural to the human psyche to feel calm, centred, at peace and yes, even happy.
The Truth is that we are built this way – it’s part of the elegant design of the system. Just like our bodies are designed to always move in the direction of wellness, so is our psyche.
It’s not magic
But it works that way. Especially if the winds of happiness seem to blow infrequently through your life, or are so capricious that you never know when they’ll turn up or what they’ll bring with them.
The thing is: we don’t need to mess too much with the system. We just need to understand that this is how the system, the human psyche, works, naturally. And we need to let it work that way when we most need it to. Which is often when we are upset or feel down.
This sounds very simple, and unless I’d experienced it for myself, I would have likely raised a sceptical eyebrow at such a notion.
And yet, I’ve found it to be true.
If I don’t obsess, if I don’t keep going over and over The Thing That’s Upsetting Me Now, if I allow my thoughts to drift like clouds in the sky and move and change shape and disappear – then my thoughts will move on of their own accord. It’s how a healthy human psyche works, naturally.
I don’t have to do anything to feel better, if I’m a bit down or upset – I just have to stop hanging onto the thing that’s currently bothering me.
This doesn’t mean I don’t ever get upset. I still get upset, I reckon about as often as I used to. That part hasn’t changed. It’s not as though I’m currently living in the Land of Oz where the streets are paved yellow and there’s a rainbow over every head. Life is still happening to me.
I’m just taking it a little less seriously. And I’m trusting that the system — the beautiful, elegant and simple system of natural wellness within my psyche — will work for me, every time.