The True Meaning of Being Happy

Happiness is not an easy subject, and what makes one person happy can make another just as equally gloomy. I have always strived to be optimistic, even when events and situations make it unbelievably hard to be happy. In my earlier years in middle school and high school especially, I would find myself falling into the black hole of the “woe is me” attitude. I didn’t get an A on a test, and I didn’t get into the school I wanted, so-and-so doesn’t like me. Woe is me.

Something finally clicked and changed inside of my head. I came to the realization that the world is not against me and by looking at the positive side of things, even better things came as a result. I didn’t get an A because I didn’t study hard enough. Next time, I will work to develop better study habits that I will carry with me in the future, and excel at all other things.

After what I thought was “settling” into a state university for college, I realized that by taking advantage of everything that it had to offer, I experienced the best four years of my life. The guy I was head-over-heels over and I thought was the epitome of my ideal mate turned out to not be at all. Our relationship ended because, in reality, he didn’t have all of the qualities that I essentially wanted in a companion, and probably vice-versa.

Have you ever looked at the person, perhaps someone close to you or an acquaintance, and thought, “Wow, that person has a perfect life. They are so happy”? Chances are, they have had to go through difficult times in the past, and still presently find themselves in difficult situations. The difference is that they have found an inner peace with themselves that each and every one of us possesses. This inner peace is made apparent at the moment that one realizes that life is not always easy, but if you stop for a minute, take a look around, and assess the situation, you will find that there is always a solution, a way around even the most difficult situations.

There are times when something around us happens that we cannot control and we do not immediately know the reason for its occurrence, but some time down the road, the positive aspects that have resulted from the situation are suddenly clear. The moment that you start to accept that the world works in funny ways, you will find this feeling of freedom—freedom from yourself, as you are often your own worst enemy. Once I was able to embrace this feeling, everything started to look much clearer.

So now, instead of groaning and complaining when it’s raining outside, I throw on my yellow raincoat and pop open my bright yellow umbrella, because even if it’s not sunny out, the yellow helps to brighten your mood. When I am assigned a project at work that is unappealing, instead of putting it off and procrastinating, I jump right in and figure out how to accomplish it, and what new things I will ultimately learn by completing the task. When someone is rude or unkind to me, I smile, take it with a grain of salt, and move on. Unless I have genuinely done something to offend them, they are perhaps having a bad day, or have not come to terms with accepting their happiness yet.

I now pride myself with my optimism. It makes me smile when my peers describe me as “happy-go-lucky”. The glass is always half-full—until I drink it of course, and share another drink with friends around me.

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