It’s been a month ago I was telling you about the last project I’ve got myself into. The #AugustBreak2014, project from Susannah Conway, started quite good I must say. Until the middle of the month August I felt happy to be participating with my Instagram and Twitter accounts, I even posted some pics on my Facebook profile as well.
Then later, I came back from a short week holidays in Brussels and life here turned out to be much more difficult than what it already was. And to tell the truth, I’ve started to lose feet in it.. Feeling more and more lonely and unsure on how was I going to continue living in this tiresome situation without a clear end in sight?
For this reason I sort of quitted making pics for this project, other stuff was keeping me busy and I was full with stress. Although, of course there were always reasons to keep me alive and kicking, once holidays were out, kids back to school and routine, then the usual stuff started to pile up again.
Anyway, I’ve been feeling hopeful since I returned from my short holidays. A new I or a new vision of me started to form in some point of the way. I also met new people, enjoyed great moments of fun and awesome music moments when I felt alive and happy.
Then later I started to think about how is it possible that from one to the other moment somebody can feel so up and then so down? On one moment I was feeling excited and happy; on another I was feeling wasted and sad. So I started to reflect on this, how is it possible to measure happiness?
In this search for my true self, all these sort of things became my food for thought.
Here one definition for Happiness (source Webster Dictionary): a state of well-being and contentment. That emotional state the dictionary refers to is arguably different for everyone. At the same time, we know the physical effects of happiness; humans smile and laugh as a natural sign of glee. Certain physiological reactions, such as increased activity in the brain’s left prefrontal lobe and decreased amounts of cortisol (a stress hormone) coursing through the bloodstream, happen when we’re happy.
Yet, those physical indications of happiness are temporary, just like the feeling of pleasure fades after watching a heart-warming film with friends or opening a birthday present. Evaluating happiness in terms of consistently finding fulfilment in the sum of life’s events is harder to grasp. Someone can’t communicate it with a single grin or giggle. Consequently, researchers wishing to measure happiness have to go straight to the source. (These two fragments are from the website How Stuff Works)
So, thing is, it’s just difficult to measure Happiness, because this is an emotional state of well-being and contentment, and as such emotional feeling, it can be quite different from one person to the other. Anyway, we can all agree that there are main happy moments which can be for lots of people the same. That’s the reason why (marketing) research agencies or other sort of agencies (e.g. the ones that measure scientific issues such as psychological ones) love to make surveys and find out how is it for people all around the world to measure their own happiness. We even find surveys stating that the inhabitants of one country are happier than the ones from another one, or that a certain city is where people feel happier than in another one.
Then, it’s interesting to notice that this thing we call Happiness is it indeed something that we all understand the same way. What can change is what makes you happier than me, but we both agree that there are certain things that make life happier to everybody. No matter what.
These things can be based on satisfaction, the more satisfied you are with all aspects in your life, and the happier you will be. All these aspects can be related to your health, love, relationships in general, your job, the country where you live, if you live in peace or war for example, the place where you live, the opportunities you can get, social life, hobbies, and much more of course, also having the economical situation to fulfil many of these ones.. All together, if they work well in your satisfaction poll, then it will give you that state of happiness everybody talks about.
So, what about me?
Well, at the moment I’m fine. I won’t say I’m truly happy because that would be a lie. And I hate lies. Reality is that many of these satisfaction aspects of my life are not yet fulfilled. I’m working on them, of course. Sometimes it gets easier than other times; sometimes it’s really hard, so hard it can hurt.
Many times I find that happiness is not something you look out for yourself. It’s like a synchronisation of people, situations and matters. Sometimes it looks like the universe is working all together in harmony, sometimes things go crashed and we have that feeling of emptiness, of feeling lost.
In the last two years I’ve been feeling really miserable and sad. Many times I thought my life was getting worse. I was battling along the way a lot with myself, with my own visions on how my life should have been. Then later I developed some serious sickness issues, went to the doctor, got enough medicines to keep me back on track, and had therapy, and so on. I think that at the moment I realized life was not just trying to get along with it, with all negative aspects I could barely stand on my own feet, and then things started to change. Then came this magical moment when I knew I was wrong by trying always the same middles to the same problems. New solutions needed to come my way, but first of all I needed to accept that what wasn’t going ok, needed to stop. I couldn’t continue the same way. I was lost, terribly sad and felt every step I made as a failure. Like something that was not meant to be, but couldn’t admit it to myself.
When that magical moment arrived it wasn’t easy for me to give up my current state of thinking and being. It was a process, it took a lot of time for me to accept the situation, to elaborate the fact that what I was living at that moment wasn’t the life I really wanted for myself and my kids.
A whole year went by, had plenty of moments where I just wanted to run away, forget about it all but reality was kicking on my face every time I wanted to do that. It has been awful, tiresome and really difficult.
I don’t remember much happiness during all this last time.
I remember I was back from my trip to Argentina, came with more self-esteem, my batteries were higher, life was looking more promising than when I left. Then, reality again screaming to me that if I wanted to stop the whole thing I needed to be stronger to say no to the things I didn’t like. And that required a more assertive way to take my life back on the track.
I’m much happier today than some months ago. Since the moment I decided to give that step forward in my life, things in it started to move. At first they weren’t the smooth moves I was expecting, but yes, I needed to accept that all the signals along the way I didn’t have pay attention to, needed more than time to start to change into the right path. I had many times my mood was almost gone, to keep me up and strong, to see beyond the tree and the forest, to realize this was just the start.
Today I can say I’m better, stronger, and a bit happier too.
I know I’m walking the right path, I can feel it in my own heart, and beating fast towards a life that now seems clearly than when it all this started.
At the end, happiness is also a question of accepting life for what it is, but most important to accept yourself for whom you really are. And if there’s no satisfaction and something feels not right, then, yep, you and only you can do something about it to change it for better. I don’t think there are recipes for feeling happy, still I choose happiness for the rest of my life!