More on Happiness

Being as happy as possible is pretty hard in our society. There’s too many expectations on us, too many people to explain their judgement of another’s behaviour, too many whispered comments into people’s ears at family reunions and brunches with friends.

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I’ve come to realize that I have the potential to be really powerful and that’s not in the least bit unique. Everyone is capable of being powerful. Just as powerful as I can be. Each person with an intelligent mind controls how they look at things. They make choices. They can choose to use their power or not. Just like I can choose to use my power or not. The power I’m talking about is the power over ourselves. Controlling our own happiness, our outlooks, our frame of reference. I used to think those things weren’t in my control. I used to think I had no choice over those things in my life.

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Happiness is what I want to focus on. I thought for a long time I deserved to be as happy as I could possibly be. I feel like I didn’t even realize what that actually meant for me for a large portion of my life. But being as happy as possible is pretty hard in our society. There’s too many expectations on us, too many people to explain their judgement of another’s behaviour, too many whispered comments into people’s ears at family reunions and brunches with friends. But being as happy as possible doesn’t have to be what I, or anyone else, aims for. In a lot of cases it’s impossible for some people, it’s simply not attainable. Think of someone with a celebrity obsession, a stalker. The happiest they will ever be is when they are with the object of their affection, and how many times has that ever played out? Not many, if ever. There are a lot more different situations that bar someone from being able to be the happiest they could ever be. Hence, why I feel this isn’t something I feel like I should strive to grasp. I feel like that happens for a few lucky people, I just hope those people are grateful.

Happiness is a state with a bunch of varying degrees. I was happy 10 years ago. I am happy today. Those two kinds of happy are really really different, for lots of reasons. I’m not sure if it’s better to slide to one side of the happiness scale or the other. I don’t know if one end is “more happy” and the other end is “less happy”. I just don’t know. I feel like the happiness can just be of a different type. This is where our power comes in as people. We can choose to be happy with what we can attain. Being happy doesn’t mean everything on a checklist has to be checked all at the same time. Be happy failing, be happy not reaching your goals, be happy alone, be happy with others, just choose whatever you want to be happy with.

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It’s possible, maybe even likely, that I am extremely wrong. That everyone else is just going around being elated about their life. Working 9-5, washing the car, cleaning the house, going to soccer practice, etc. (God, that all sounds awful to me). But this is me using my power. Making a choice to pursue the happiness I can attain. I’ve had a depressed outlook before. Thinking that things are shitty and I wasn’t going to be able to make them better. To see things getting much worse for myself before they got better, and not knowing if I would actually make it out of those situations alive, literally. But I can use the power I have to make choices for my own life. Recklessly move towards something and leaving behind the potential and eventual judgement of anyone around me. Just like everyone else owns this power over their own life. It feels hard to do, even impossible in some situations. Recently a friend had some relationship struggles and I found myself telling them they had power over their own life. A choice to make in their given situation. Live with or without their partner and face the shitty feelings that either situation would give them. Because both staying and going was going to hurt in their situation. I was “lucky” to be able to give them my personal perspective which was extremely similar. Knowing that leaving hurts and knowing that staying hurts too. But the power still falls in our own hands and we can choose where on the spectrum of happiness we want to move towards.

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I’m a Libra and I don’t know a lot about what that actually means but I do know the symbol that represents Libra is a set of scales. Now I think what the scales are supposed to represent is that I have a desire to see fairness and justice, and I will work towards that. I’m not really going to talk about whether or not that’s true, but what I see scales representing in my life is something different. It represents a process of decision making. Choices aren’t always ‘Option A’ and ‘Option B’, sometimes, often times, there are a bunch more options to choose from. It’s difficult to wade through different options in life and make a decision. Especially when you’re young and it seems that your whole life is decision after decision. As a Libra, as scales, I feel like I understand the many different options, and I can weigh them. I definitely don’t always make the best decisions, some people would say I rarely ever make the right one, and maybe I don’t but I see them all, I understand the impact. When it comes to happiness, it’s a weight on a scale, another kind of happiness is another size weight on another side of that scale. I won’t ever blame someone who doesn’t pick the heaviest weight, because maybe it’s the least painful, or maybe you prefer to make decisions for someone else, or maybe you don’t feel strong enough to make a particular choice. Choosing to use your power a little or to its fullest potential is a choice everyone has, and you can’t choose incorrectly.

At the end of the day, all of this is opinion. It’s a bunch of jumbled thoughts that I’ve tried to write down and find connections with real life events. What I know for sure is that life is hard, being happy is hard, shouldn’t we all just take what we can get?

-Ben

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