There is a song on the radio lately by Pharrell Williams that is a catchy little ditty about being happy. It espouses the type of unbridled happiness that one feels when falling in love, being super proud of your children’s latest accomplishments, or after you’ve won the lottery.
Part of the lyrics say: “Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth…(Because I’m happy)…Clap along if you know what happiness is to you.”
Once I was done singing along and dancing about to “Happy,” the words resonated and it raised the question, what is happiness to me?
Happiness is waking up comfortable in your own skin. It’s being able to look yourself in the mirror, still seeing the wrinkles, but knowing that a lot of important life experiences put them on your face and that you wouldn’t trade your crinkles or laugh lines for the world. It’s also knowing that your partner thinks that you’re beautiful just the way you are.
Happiness is the hot shower that you stay in for longer than you should because it’s one place you’re usually alone, not bothered by questions or to do lists. As someone who has travelled extensively and has had to make do with lukewarm or fluctuating temperature dribbles or pelting monsoons for showers, a long hot shower with constant water pressure is terribly underrated. A hot shower is cleansing in more ways than one. The water takes away more than just dirt. As the hot water hits the back of my head it also loosens any negativity and sends it rushing down the drain.
I’d also have to say that happiness is good food. It’s having food in your house, it’s knowing how to combine ingredients to make something delicious, and it’s sharing a fantastic meal with people you really love.
Happiness is definitely good friends and family. We need to surround ourselves with people that fill our emotional “cups” instead of always drawing from them. We want to be loved for who we are (the pretty and the dark parts). Happiness is found in us loving ourselves unconditionally, and also knowing that there are people out there who agree that we are more than worth loving.
Happiness is in a hug from the right person that melts away the day’s stress: someone you are safe with, who won’t betray your secrets or take advantage of your generosity. (And if you are lucky enough that that person will also kiss you like they’re leaving for war, all the better!)
Another of my top happiness-makers is a good night’s sleep. Everything in life seems easier to smile about or at least deal with when I wake up rested.
Happiness is also in adventure, travel and new experiences for me. I never feel as rejuvenated or alive as I do after I have travelled to a new land, tried a new sport, or found a new trail to explore.
Sometimes, happiness is in escapism and putting the world on hold for a great movie or great book. Happiness is not noticing the hours fly by because you are engrossed in a good conversation.
Happiness is laughter, from giggles to guffaws, from chuckling to full belly laughter.
Happiness is also being in nature, in feeling hot sun on your face after a long cold winter. It’s seeing the crocus poking through the snow, and knowing you can similarly prevail.
I’ve pointed to a lot of situational things that make me happy, but fundamentally what makes me most happy is the ability to find the positive in most any situation – even if it takes me a while. I’ve been drinking a lot of lemonade lately, and I am thankful for that (even if the lemons were thrown at me).
Being positive, finding beauty and joy all around me, and then taking the required moments to absorb and be grateful for it, that’s what happiness is to me.
With that, I’ll express my gratitude to Pharrell Williams for his song, and for the moment’s pause that it gave me to reflect upon one of the most important facets of life.
Bring it home Pharell: “(Because I’m happy)… Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do.”