Lim: Happy

Melanie Lim

PEOPLE put such a high premium on happiness and that, I think, is the reason why so many people end up depressed. It’s not wrong to want to be happy but to expect to be happy all the time is to set yourself up for a lot of disappointment.

For most people, happiness means a multitude of positive emotions—joy, hope, love, pride, success, satisfaction, bliss, contentment, peace of mind. And who does not want to experience all these? To embrace a lifelong quest to experience ONLY positive emotions, however, sets us up for a lifetime of therapy.

We cannot pursue happiness with the idea of avoiding negative emotions. We need to allow ourselves to be sad, upset, disappointed, anxious, worried, angry, afraid, uncomfortable, stressed. Negative emotions are unwelcome but they are necessary for growth.

When I decided to write about happiness, I had to ask myself what happiness means to me or what makes me happy.

When I’m learning, growing, thriving—that makes me happy. When I’m productive, efficient, effective—that makes me happy. When I’m doing the things I love—I’m happy. When I get things done, when I’m able to help someone, when I feel well, when I do well, when I spend time with the people who matter in my life, I’m happy.

When I am able to put a smile on someone’s face, I’m happy.

For me, happiness does not come from a life devoid of negative emotions. Happiness springs from a realistic view that life is a cycle of daylight and darkness.

If you can come to terms with the fact that difficulty, discomfort, dismay and disappointment are inevitable, you will, no doubt, find the capacity to be happy, no matter what.

Happiness doesn’t come from having a perfect life. It comes from having an appreciation for the perfect moments in your life.

It doesn’t come from the expectation of having perfect people in your life. It comes from the realization that though the people in your life aren’t perfect, the fact that they’re there for you should be reason enough to be grateful and happy.

Happiness should not be the goal. Growth should be. Happiness should simply be the by-product of growth.

Am I happy? Yes. All the time? Of course not. What makes me happy? The list is long. How did I find happiness? I didn’t find it. It found me.

Any lessons learned? The greater the gratitude, the greater the joy. Did I lower the bar? No. I changed my perspective. How did I find “the one” who makes me happy? I looked in the mirror.

Happy is a choice. It’s not about never feeling sad. It’s not about never feeling bad. It’s not about always being on top. It’s not even about always feeling loved. It’s about seeing the silver lining. It’s about making a choice every day to be happy, no matter what.

It’s to live inspired and aware that no one can make you happy except yourself.