Are You Happy?
Are you Happy?
I have come across the question, “Are you happy?” several times in the last few years in many situations. I remember first thinking [about how I would answer the question when I was teaching Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Clarrise, a girl of about 17, asks a Fireman if he is happy.
The fireman is confused by the question and not sure how to respond.
We Were Asked This Question Early On
As I read this, I realized it might be reasonable to assume most people don’t consider the gravity of the question too often. Ironically, the question of whether or not we are happy has been on our minds since our earliest years.
It is funny that the well-known song, “If you are happy and you know it clap your hands,” actually asks kids to consider their emotions and respond accordingly.
Being So Happy That It Shows
As the song suggests, imagine a person feeling so happy, that he or she wants to clap his or her hands or sing loudly as a reflection of what is being felt. Sometimes I feel happy, but don’t make the effort to show it.
Happiness Is Our Responsibility
Several years ago, I watched the Oprah Show, where a featured guest suggested that we are all responsible for our own happiness. To my surprise, people who had lost jobs, family members, friends, and possessions had the uncanny ability to describe their life as overflowing with happiness.
What if happiness depends on a person’s ability to be creative and grateful. What if it is possible regardless of current circumstances?
The Decision to Be Happy
As I considered each of these examples, I realize that God allows things to happen to us (sometimes really awful things), and then we get an opportunity to freely decide how we will react to what happens in our lives. Deciding to be happy regardless of our circumstances is a steep challenge.
Nurse Feelings of Happiness not Sadness
Once I allow myself to embrace feelings of unhappiness, I want to nurse feelings of sadness. It is not to say that a person should ignore motions and pretend to be something that he or she is not.
However when it is difficult to be happy, careful prayer, a solid workout, meditation and journal work are great ways to begin lifting the spirit.
Happiness is Linked to Gratitude
Embracing a gratitude list also has a way of reducing feelings of sadness. For example, if it is a lack of money that feels depressing, start by making a list of some of your favorite possessions. If someone bothers you, consider how this person serves you. What lessons are you learning from the opportunities you have interacting with him or her. There is always something to be thankful for.
Finding Happiness is a Process
Our human nature makes it difficult for us to always choose gratitude and happiness. However, if someone asks us if we are happy, we can consider how we are working on improving our mood and contentment.