Happy vs. Happy

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Happy vs. Happy

A few years ago, my friend said to me “Everyone is just trying to feel better.” I was really puzzled. While the answer to the Great Question of Life, the Universe and Everything is not 42, as Deep Thought answers in The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I figured that it was more complicated than a feeling.

When Dr. Melissa Carr of Active Life Health Clinic asked me to write an article for her newsletter about being intentional, her topic of SAD vs. SAD (Standard American Diet vs. Seasonal Affective Disorder) sparked an idea of happy vs. happy. Dictionary.com defines happy as:

–adjective, -pi·er, -pi·est.

  1. pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing: to be happy to see a person.
  2. characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy: a happy mood; a happy frame of mind
  3. favored by fortune; fortunate or lucky: a happy, fruitful land.
  4. apt or felicitous, as actions, utterances, or ideas.
  5. obsessed by or quick to use the item indicated (usually used in combination): a trigger-happy gangster. Everybody is gadget-happy these days.

What strikes me about #1-4 is that they are about a temporal state, impacted by the circumstances of the moment. Happy is an adjective. If you reach into the recesses of elementary school lessons on parts of speech, that means that it describes a noun. The noun in this case is a person: you. A happy you. So when are you most happy? When you are being hugged? When you get a raise? When you are singing in the shower?

What about when you aren’t…? What if you could make happy a constant state of being?

The ancient teacher Paul, said, “I have learned to be content regardless of the circumstance…” His circumstances included being jailed, tortured and enduring public scorn – ok, so in a difficult circumstance contest, he wins most people hands down but the lesson is true for both extreme and minor circumstances. When we choose an attitude of joy, regardless of what we face, our whole world looks different and we feel better.

What does it take to learn that secret of choosing to be happy? I believe that the operative word here is ‘choose’. It is not always an easy choice. We must say yes to some things and no to others. Here are some places to start:

– I say yes to choosing work aligned with my values, even if there is a financial impact.

– I say yes to simplifying my schedule to make more time for……..

– I say no to relationships that constantly drain me…

– I say no to overcommitting, even when I feel pressure from other people.

Douglas Adam’s wrote: “He felt that his whole life was some kind of a dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” I believe our hearts continue to know what is right for us and also to dream. What, right now, is the thing that would move you towards having a truly happy 2011?

The fifth definition of happy  is “obsessed by or quick to use the item indicated” as in trigger-happy. What would it like to be joy-happy?

Live your dream AND enjoy it. Feel Better. Choose joy.


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January 25, 2011 at 2:56 pm

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