Are You Happy?

A couple of weeks ago my mum asked me if I was happy. She asks me this regularly, I guess since for a while I was really unhappy. I replied in a typical teenage fashion (ignore the fact that I haven’t been a teenager for  a couple of years now). In a very unenthusiastic voice I told her I was okay and I was getting by. Later that night I realised I hadn’t exactly answered her question. She asked me if I was happy, which is actually a simple yes or no question. I’ve gotten used to telling her I was just okay. I’m used to saying I have anxiety and using that as an excuse to say I am unhappy. The truth is that’s not okay anymore. I AM happy. Yes, I’m also anxious, I have bad days, I get frustrated, but that's life. My mum is asking from a place of worry, she’s a mother, she wants to believe I’m okay. And I have the power to give her that cause I really am happy beneath all the other stuff.

I need to stop feeling sorry for myself. My life isn’t that bad. At the worst parts of it, it wasn’t that bad in the grand scheme of things. I’ve been very lucky, very loved, and very supported. I don’t think any of this means I didn’t struggle, or that I still don’t struggle from time to time. I think it’s just a wake up call, to keep life in perspective. I think it comes down to realising we don’t need life to be perfect or be perfect ourselves. We just need to own up to who we are and embrace the now and count our blessings that we have this life.

We need to get better at paying attention to what is being asked of us and focus on that. By doing this we come to realise how much we do have in life. When we become aware that we are in fact happy, and keep that at the forefront of your minds we are able to develop a sense of gratitude. Life is a lot more fulfilling when we are happy and grateful. Last year having a weekend jam packed with plans used to make me so terribly anxious to the point that it would make me physically ill. I was so focused on everything that would make me uncomfortable about that situation. I was focused on the time I’d waste on the subways, or the social interaction that I used to dread, or simply being outside my comfort zone. The whole time I was out I’d worry about all the work I’d have to do back at home. My chest would feel tight, and I’d feel nauseous. I wasn’t present and I wasn’t happy. Now, that same sort of weekend still scares me but I’m consciously trying to be present, and grateful for the opportunity I have to do these things. I’m starting to believe that life gives us what it knows we can handle, usually stuff that by ourselves we don’t even know we can. By realising and accepting this, I’ve been able to let go of so much unnecessary stress and anxiety. Doing this forced me to observe and accept that I am blessed and be so much happier.

So take a minute now and ask yourself, are you happy?

Don’t worry if you are not where you want to be in life, or if you’re even close to being there.

That’s not the question.

The question is if you are happy, right here, right now?

Finding happiness in exactly where you are is an art. I think it’s also the start of life falling into place. If you are able to be content in the now it makes working towards the future so much easier. I’m not saying don’t have goals, don’t work hard or don’t wish for more. I’m saying do all that and be happy and grateful too.

Think about it, not only at the surface level, but really think about it. Are you safe and healthy? Are the people you love alright? Are you fed, clothed, and sheltered? Don’t focus on the person that was rude to you on the subway, focus on the stranger who smiled at you instead. Purposefully look for the good in your life. Then, ask yourself if you are happy.

So Mom, I am happy! I am happy to be where I am and for all the experiences that brought me here. I am happy to have a family that has always had my back. I am happy for things that challenge me in life cause they help me grow. And, I am happy to have so much to be grateful for!