Looking for Happiness
Words by Alexa Marco
Happiness is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a state of well-being or contentment.” That’s a pretty broad definition, right? When I think of happiness, I don’t tend to think of a feeling. I think more of a person or a place. Happiness, to me, is my mom. Happiness is cuddling with my dogs. Happiness is hammocking in the summer with my friends or watching movies with my boyfriend. Happiness is the big backyard that I grew up in or the local swim club.
People tend to view happiness as material things, such as money or owning a large house. Although money can provide basic fulfillment such as food and shelter, money is moreso seen as something that can “buy happiness.” Don’t get me wrong, I would love to not have any money issues, but when I think about it, I would rather be surrounded by the people and places I love than be rich.
The past year really threw me for a loop. At times, I found myself feeling as if I didn’t matter, as if I was always going to be a second choice. I got to the point where I realized all of these thoughts were just coming from my own mind; other people did not view me as “a second choice.” When I let go of all these negative thoughts and feelings, I opened myself up to a whole new world of happiness. I looked around me and saw so many things to be grateful for: my family, my friends, my education. It is definitely a great thing to say “I’m happy!” but take a second to think of what or who makes you happy. When I shifted into this way of thinking, I was stunned at how many individual people were involved in my happiness. It turned out that it wasn’t just the material things I owned.
I don’t think a person defines your happiness. I think we make our own happiness. In the new year, I’ve experienced a lot of people think and act negatively about the smallest of things. A lot of people do not know how to let go of miniscule problems, and so many people are so busy defending themselves that they can’t take a step back to look at the bigger picture.
To be honest, I was this person in high school. I used to let the smallest things get to me. Girls would be catty and make comments to get under my skin, and I allowed it. I had a few teachers tell me my writing wasn’t “college-ready.” Boys made me feel self conscious when they made comments on the acne I had.
Eventually I got to a point where none of these things mattered. I had all of the friends I wanted and needed, I found a boyfriend who accepted me for who I was and I achieved an A on every college paper I have ever written.
I guess the point I am trying to get across is that happiness is individualized. Some of us obtain happiness through good grades at school, others may obtain happiness through family bonding or relaxing at the beach. When you think about it, isn’t it much better to have a true sense of happiness within yourself rather than focusing all your energy onto the small things?