There are times when we are so busy trying to fit all the little things into our lives that we can miss out on the big things. The important things, like people. Like ourselves.
We seemed to have been trained, yes – trained – to strive for more of ... everything. And until we get it we are expected to experience the feeling of emptiness. The feeling that something is missing.
How do we know what's missing? How do we know if anything is missing? What are we constantly looking for and how can we ever be sure that we have found it?
I watched a film several years ago called The Pursuit of Happyness. Based on the true story of Christopher Gardner, the actor Will Smith portrayed a man consumed with big dreams and the determination to achieve them – Gardener knew what was right for him, he knew what would make him happy and he pursued it despite the tremendous sacrifices that he had to make along the way. He did what he thought was appropriate because he knew he deserved that happiness for himself and his family.
I wondered how Christopher Gardener knew that his path would bring him happiness. I wonder how you know what is right until you experience it. Maybe it’s only then that you can know that all the sacrifices were appropriate.
Many sections of the constitution of the 1776 United States Declaration of Independence are forgotten but one that is oft remembered, if not always followed, is:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
How do you know what happiness feels like until you have initially experienced it?
How do you pursuit of happiness if you are unfamiliar with happiness? This is a difficult position to be in. The best time to identify it is now. I believe that we are all capable of identifying happiness if we stay still for long enough to recognise it. Once we allow ourselves to go deeply enough we can see the shape of our own happiness.
With a little reflection and deep thought you can figure out what is really missing from your life and what will bring you the happiness you are relentlessly pursuing (and often masking with many other ersatz items). Sometimes it is difficult to name your own happiness because of the memories of it floating away in the past. This is when you have to be brave and claim it as your own, because it is your right to be happy.
I’d suggest that when you find the path to your own happiness that you draw a map to remind yourself of it where and how you found it in case you inadvertently get lost one day when all the minute missing things try to cloud your way.
My partner explained it in a beautiful way when she said that there is a feeling of emptiness and strange loss when you are away from a loved one, and this could be because just being with them makes you 'happy'. Being together is the shape of our happiness. I wish everyone this type of contentment.