June 6, 2011

Happiness is a Verb

“Happiness is that feeling of joy, peace, or delight as we live and celebrate our lives.”

Recently I caught up with an old friend who has spent their entire life being unhappy.  While I have struggled with the concept of my own happiness many times, I am confounded by the simple determination that this individual has created for their life to be in a permanent state of unhappiness.  And, being happy for them is defined by what others give or bring or by new toys and playthings.  Since no one wants to be continually responsible for someone else’s happiness, this person has essentially secluded themselves into an isolated, dark, lonely spot.  Now, I know this is the extreme; however, it demonstrates what happens when someone doesn’t understand that happiness requires affirmative, accountable action.

Happiness is a state of mind and, it is also an activity.  To be happy is to search for happiness.  To search for happiness requires a commitment to searching for, discovering, and celebrating those things that bring joy and satisfaction to your life.  Once you discover those sources of positive energy, you embrace them and get more of them.  In general, unhappy people stop believing, looking, or challenging themselves to find those sources of happiness and wait for something to happen to make them happy.  Life doesn’t work that way.

Happiness is an active quest to celebrate and enjoy.  It does not engage in a discussion of what I don’t have, it is a continuous process of enjoying what is and building from there.   And, if what is here today is not fulfilling in the happiness quotient, taking action to search out other opportunities.

I know I have found myself saying “I am not happy.”  And, when I have shared that with others, I expected them sympathize or empathize with me.  Often they did – for about 15 seconds.  Then, they would challenge me to search out and discover components in my life that I can build on to find the happiness that I allowed to elude me.

I know that Brandon has struggled with his happiness.  We go through the same drill together in his world.  His life has been significantly disrupted.  He has lost much and experienced a lot of pain.  However, he too has things that he can celebrate, build on and find more of.  The challenge is to look for those things that you love and enjoy and discover ways to get more of it in your life.  Not being able to enjoy them as much as you want is not an excuse for being unhappy – it is and needs to be the driver for you to create your happiness.

Happiness may be a state of mind.  But, it also a verb – happiness is taking action in celebrating those things is your life that give you joy, peace, and delight.

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.