Self

Read This If You're Waiting To Be Happy

Photo: AstroStar / Shutterstock
woman sitting in sunset

By Mathew Towers

When I really think about it, I don’t know if I’ve ever been happy.

Sure I’ve smiled, laughed, and had good times, but I am talking about being truly unabashedly happy. The kind of happiness that we all dream about, which I can honestly only describe as that “5-year-old kid on Christmas” feeling.

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It’s a little strange to think about, if I’m being completely candid with you, that I’ve gone my entire life chasing a feeling that I don’t understand.

How does one become happy? When do you know that you’ve truly made it? I’m not sure.

I used to think that of it in terms of milestones. I’d tell myself over and over “you’ll be happy once you’re thin” or “you’ll be happy once you have friends.” I worked hard and lost 150 pounds, something that I should be proud of, but still I felt this void.

I didn’t know what happiness was, but “surely this can’t be it,” I thought.

It was always “you’ll be happy when” and “just one more.” I was always looking forward, treating happiness as something that I would one day deserve instead of something that I owed myself.

There was always another milestone or another person to please, and I’m starting to realize that at some point I have to stop adding steps to my master plan.

I’m not a super villain and happiness isn’t some priceless artifact that I can just steal. No amount of planning or scheming can force me to be happy, even if I really wish it could.

I think I’ve known this for some time, I’m willing to bet we all have, but for some reason that didn’t stop me from destroying myself trying.

I don’t know when or why happiness became something so external. If you think about it, it doesn’t make any sense; why would something so internal rely so much on everything but me?

Happiness is about me, and it starts with me. It’s so simple, yet I’ve stubbornly ignored it for so long.

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Now I don’t want to be cheesy and say that this is my battle cry, but that’s totally what it is: I’m not waiting to be happy because the future never comes.

There will always be another milestone, another problem, or another reason why I don’t deserve to be happy right now.

I want you to really ask yourself, “why am I waiting to be happy?” I want you to say the words out loud, then sit down and be honest with yourself.

Waiting won’t make happiness any better, and we’re not just going to magically feel like we deserve it one day. My happiness starts with me, and your happiness starts with you.

You’re probably thinking, “dude it isn’t that simple, I can’t just be happy,” and you know what? I agree with you.

When I started writing this, I honestly had no idea what happiness was. I knew I wanted it, but I had no idea how to go about getting there. This piece was an adventure in self-reflection; it was my way of taking back the reins and making sense of what I wanted.

As my answer to the questions I posed, I offer you this: Happiness is this fire inside you that helps keep you warm, even when things are rough. It’s positivity, and that little bit of innocent “5-year-old kid on Christmas” that it’s okay to keep alive.

You can’t have that fire if you don’t light the spark yourself.

Yes, you can’t just magically be happy, but waiting won’t get you anywhere. Be honest with yourself, take control of your happiness, and kindle your flame.

It may be scary, but I promise it’ll be worth it.

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Mathew Towers is a writer, photographer, and former Web Content Editor at Ignite Student Life. Visit his author profile on Unwritten for more of his writing.

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This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.