What If We’re Looking For Happiness In All The Wrong Places?

Khánh Hmoong
Khánh Hmoong

Let’s talk about happiness for a minute.

You find what makes you happy, and you do that. Over and over again, adding new things to the list as they bring you joy.

Simple, right? Not always.

There have been years in my life where a state of happiness was not something I identified with. I knew it existed, I held hope that I would feel it again someday, but I didn’t know how to live happily every single day. I held on strong to the things that life had ripped away from me; the people and the ideals and the destroyed dreams. My smile was false, my laughter was empty, and my heart was heavy. I felt completely alone; I couldn’t cope, I couldn’t be honest about how lost I was, and I couldn’t figure out how to find myself again. I repeated the same mistakes over and over, searching in vain for different results. My world was full of chaos.

I don’t say this to shock you or to make you feel sorry for me, I say this because I want you to realize how far I have come.

Today, I am happy. Truly, honestly, blissfully happy. I laugh often, and my smile reaches my eyes. I really mean it when I’m smiling. It is now possible for me to live in a state of gratitude, where before I only felt desolation and fear.

It didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t happen without work. I had to ask for help. I eliminated toxic people, places, and things. I had to get to know myself. I took a hard look at my past, and faced my demons. I had to learn to build my faith. I kept at it even when I wanted to give up. Finally, and most importantly, I figured out how to love myself again.

One day, out of nowhere, it hit me. I was happy again. Genuinely. Somehow, someway, the sadness had lifted. I felt more me than I had in a very, very long time.

It really is possible for anyone to turn their life in a new direction, and to finally become what they once might have been.

You just have to do the footwork.

Is it always easy? No.

There are bad days. There are even terrible days. Some days I want to give up completely. Some days I am fed up with working so hard for everything, exhausted with the constant effort of trying to build the new.  It takes focus. It takes dedication. At times, it is incredibly painful.

Then, there are the good days. With the good days come the best days; the days that you feel completely and utterly alive, capable of achieving anything and confident that the world is full of limitless possibility. These are the days that you hold on to tightly, the ones that you store deep inside your memory for recall during the tough times. These are the days that make you understand that all the hell you have ever been through was necessary to become the person you were meant to be. On the best days it is easy to believe that you really are perfect, in every single way.

Today, I actively choose joy. I embrace being alive. I laugh. I have 30-second dance parties (all my Grey’s Anatomy fans, you know what I mean). I look for inspiration in the ordinary. I rock out to Taylor Swift. I try to help others, and to be a good friend. I look past the stress, the hurt, the mistakes, and the crap that used to hold me back. I focus on the good, in spite of the bad, because there is so much to be thankful for.
Today, life is beautiful.

Happiness, and joy, are things we can choose to welcome into our lives. It is a choice to believe that the best is yet to come, that the universe always has your back, and that things really will work out. When we choose to believe in these things, absolutely and completely, they are translated into our everyday lives.

Miracles happen when you least expect them, and a there’s a little bit of magic present in every single day.  Anything is possible. You just have to believe. TC mark

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Image Credit: Khánh Hmoong

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