Choosing happiness

Someone posted a clip of Mo Gawdat on Facebook (I have a habit of opening stuff like that in another tab and not viewing until later; then I don’t remember who pointed me there 🙂 ) and his message about happiness turned out to be so in line with things I’ve been thinking.

I particularly love the distinction he makes between fun and happiness — much like my thoughts about over-stimulation often being mistaken for joy.  Though there are longer videos in which he discusses this in greater depth, I purposely chose to use this short clip to make it easier for you to get the gist:

Backing into happiness


It’s been a rainy year in Kentucky (I’ve been wondering if it’s too late to start building an ark…) so when I found myself tooling along on a sunny summer day that in itself was an occasion to feel a little sparkly. Some big releases in my muscles had given me one of those lovely respites when my mind was so aware of the relief that it forgot to notice all the tight and painful patterns still holding so my body felt really good. Humming with the oldies on the radio I realized with a start that I felt really happy, happy from the inside out—and that the feeling was pretty unusual for me.

Just as it occurred to me that I’d rarely experienced such complete content a voice deep inside announced, “It’s OK for you to be happy. You deserve it.” Grinning and teary-eyed I wondered, even as my elation grew, how I had missed noticing that on some level I never thought it was okay for me to be happy. I mean a quarter century of self-examination, meditation, practices and transformation that all began because I wanted to finally feel happy and yet deep down I never believed I deserved to be.

One of those “wow” moments but no angels flew by, I just kept driving along feeling happy. The happiness of course comes and goes and I still don’t often have that complete sense of all being right.*  But I know a turning point when I hit one and I’ve been exploring that day’s revelation ever since from “where did that begin” to learning to own that “it’s OK for you to be happy” message, to feeling grateful every time I realize yet again, yes, it is OK.

I’ve had to recognize many times that there’s always another surprise somewhere within. And sometimes a belief I didn’t have a clue I had rises up to say hello. I used to feel disappointed, like this meant I hadn’t done a good job. Now I say hello back and get to know another part of me. I imagine you have some surprises waiting inside you too. Do you really believe it’s OK for you to be happy?


*This is a different happiness from the excited and fun happy I described in the Relaxaton and happiness post (see below).