Do you know when you’re happy?

Photo from unprofound.com

What is happiness? How do you know when you’re happy? As someone who spends at least half her life depressed, you’d think I would know this.

However, when I look back on my life, I see times in which I now know I was happy, but I don’t think I recognized it at the time. Does that make any sense?

Like when I look back at the time I was married to J. I know now that I was happy then. If you had asked me during it, though, I may have come up with other words: confused, friendly, comfortable, sometimes fun, sometimes infuriating, maybe even content. “Happy” would not have entered my mind.

Gretchin Rubin of The Happiness Project decided to define happiness like the Supreme Court defined porn, “I know it when I see it.”

But that’s my problem – I don’t know it when I see it.

One of my spiritual goals for the year is to recognize when I’m happy and to cultivate being happy.

I’m fairly content right now, despite there being some challenges ahead. But am I happy? How do you know when you’re happy?

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4 comments on “Do you know when you’re happy?
  1. AureLutra says:

    What a valuable question!
    I tend to have a lot of annoyances on my mind –
    and sometimes they bubble over to affect my family.
    I try to be a positive thinker, but if I really were one, would I need to try?
    A/L

  2. Ishtar says:

    I think we need to train ourselves to think positively, and no one can be positive all the time. I have been a positive thinker in the past. The old BF thinks I'm an optimist. But I'm not always one.

    Having annoyances bubble over into other things is a very human thing. As long as you recognize it as such, even later, and can explain it, I think that's ok.

    *hugs* A/L!

  3. Another gem from my dad's wife: Happiness is a decision.
    She taught me that happiness isn't something that is *caused* by anything. It's a deliberate decision you make, moment by moment if necessary.
    Joy is something else entirely. As is contentment. I can be happy and still recognize that the situation is unacceptable and needs to change. I can be happy and not be bursting with bubbles and rainbows. But I am happy when I decide to be, and nothing in the world can make me happy when I don't decide it.
    I don't know if that makes sense to you. It didn't make sense to me when she first told me. Then again, I was a teenager at the time and determined to be miserable. It took me probably 10 years before I finally “got it”. And I won't lie; it still slips away from me a lot of the time.
    But to answer your question: I don't always notice when I'm happy. But I do notice when I'm UNhappy. And when I'm on top of my game (which doesn't happen as often as it should) that will remind me that being unhappy is my decision, and it's time to decide otherwise.

  4. Ishtar says:

    That is soooo hard.

    I mentioned on another post that I had Leonie's “Joy is an Option!” wallpaper as my desktop for 6 months. Something about it just really resonated with me, and it's like it helped shake me out of the most recent funk.

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