The Value of Happiness

(I had intended to have this be a Thoughtful Thursday post, but I could not get my thoughts aligned yesterday…)

So I posted a Facebook status update this week called happiness is overrated. I got some posts from friends who gave me hugs (thank you) and gave me amens! (thank you, too)… I even inspired a song. It’s quite satirical and made me laugh. From Paul Sonnenberg:

Too Damn Happy

That’s just too damn happy
That’s just too damn glib
That’s just too damn happy
That’s no way to live
So stick your peace of mind
Where the sun don’t shine
That’s just too damn happy.

That’s just too damn tragic
That’s just too damn sad
All this talk of magic
All those dreams you have
But when the rent comes due
For Mother Hubbard’s shoe
Magic beans ain’t magic.

And yet you’re so damn busy
And yet you’re so damn rushed
That’s just too damn busy
It’s not the life for us
We’re gonna stay in bed
Til the dogs need fed
You just make me dizzy

Give me honest feelings
Give me honest work
Give me time to linger
Don’t be such a jerk
And stick your peace of mind
Where the sun don’t shine
That would make me happy…

Thanks for sharing this with us, Paul!

It’s not that I’m depressed (well, actually maybe I am but nothing serious), it just seems to me that there is so much pressure to conform to this notion of being happy… kinda like breastfeeding, if you know what I mean. It’s a worthy goal and I am envious of those people who are truly happy, I know it’s work to attain that and it’s a choice everyday to find it. But is it realistic?

In my 30s, I decided to let go of the daily battle of being unhappy with my weight and began to accept that I’m heavier than I’d like. There used to be a constant nagging voice in my head that constantly criticized myself and was disgusted with myself. I used to avoid getting my picture taken and would not even go to reunions or events because I was heavier than I’d like. I’m not sure what changed… but I realized that the people I most admire and respect are all different sizes… and that in the end, weight is not what matters most in defining who I am, how much I am valued, and how much I like myself.

How does this relate to being happy? So much of what my life is about is out of my control… I take the pieces and make the best of them. If I’m quite frank, my day-to-day life is not one most people would want or envy, it’s hard work. My marriage is hard work; it was difficult before our special needs daughter arrived, it’s hard still. There are compromises you make in life due to circumstances beyond your control, there are compromises you make so that the icky tension goes away. One day, like when you’ve faced a breast biopsy, you find yourself reflecting on your life and realize it’s just… meh. That’s it. Meh.

So now what? I’m 40. I’m not blissfully happy and I do not see any scenario where that will change. Do I continue to feel awful about that? No, I need to reframe it…. hence the happiness is overrated post on Facebook. I am grateful for the blessings in my life and of those I have many. I spend time laughing and playing, I seek opportunities to do things that bring me joy, and at the end of the day, I know things could be much tougher. There is value in happiness, there is also value in accepting that happiness is overrated. I’m tired of comparing myself to the positive people and falling short, I’m tired of feeling like a failure in yet another aspect in my life. Today I’m embracing my MEH.

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