By Abby Berman Mazenod
What is happiness?
In truth everyone has their own definition and a list of their own personal ways of achieving it. In starting this post, my intention was to help people find simple ways in achieving daily happiness. My list really included similar items to what I would assume most people’s lists would contain-things like the importance of taking care of yourself, the value of alone time, time management and filling your day with productivity. But when I actually wrote down my list, my “roadmap to happiness”, I realized that almost everything I could tell anyone about “getting happy”- they really could figure out for themselves. Most people know themselves, and what day-to-day things they can do to make themselves happy. When I wrote down my list I realized that only one thing on it was even worth mentioning. Of course you know that you are the only one who can bring you happiness. I don’t mean to downplay the power of “self” and a need for confidence in ones own life. However, in my opinion, after finding yourself and understanding who you are, the “root of happiness” and ultimately “life” is human connection.
This one is hard. Possibly one of the hardest things for me to do period. I’m not sure why, but the older I get the harder it is for me to allow myself to connect with people. Connecting with people takes an effort. It means that we need to take down those protective walls we have built and actually let people in. The older we get, in hopes of protecting our fragile little hearts, we push most people away and stop our chance at feeling real feelings for them. It’s hard to know when we can really trust someone not to disappoint us because most of us have become so accustomed to disappointment. It’s sad to me that we start to associate all new encounters with disappointment. True, people will disappoint, but they will also be the ones to help you find meaning in your own life. We have so much and can learn so much from ourselves, but life can be just as enriching when we choose to learn from others too. True connection is where humanity lives and it’s what this crazy thing called life is all about.
It’s easy to be lazy! It’s hard work to get to know someone and to find someone that you really feel a natural connection with. It’s very instinctive in this digital age to shut ourselves off from the physical closeness of people because we have limitless access to them through our phones, tablets, computers, etc. However, it’s also unnatural and unhealthy for our happiness. While this modern access to so many people can eventually lead to connection, this connection through a device isn’t the physical connectedness that we need. As humans we need true human closeness.
If you can’t see it in yourself, look around. We live in a world that is hungry for human contact. We have starved ourselves from the beauty and the essence of humanity itself. Please allow it in your life. Take your head out of whatever device it’s stuck in and give the gift of a real friendship to someone. Give the gift of real friendship to yourself. I’m working on it too. People will shut us down out of pure habit, but don’t be too hurt. They are only a product of this time. Be persistent and take the time to allow yourself to feel the fulfillment of closeness. Open yourself up to the possibility of connection. It’s important for your health and happiness.