How Can I Feel Happy?
People say, I don’t know what happy is; I’ve never been happy. Or, How do I feel happy when I don’t have any happy memories in my life?
What is happy? Make it smaller than whatever you think happy should be. Have you ever done something where you had a good time, where you were laughing a lot, where you were with friends and you had a great meal, and you had a really nice conversation and you really enjoyed this person, just, a friend, and you really liked them. What did that feel like? If you can find that place where you had a good conversation, where you felt engaged, connected with somebody, then begin to feel that feeling or recall that feeling. That could be other words – content or enjoyable, but basically, without trying to lock into a single word like happy, how did you enjoy yourself? And was it rewarding or was it comfortable? Or was it an “ah” looking at something beautiful? Start to find that feeling and then just ask yourself, am I enjoying this feeling?
You have really had many feelings like that, and they come in little 5-seconds, 10-seconds, 30-seconds clips. And you’ve had them all your life. But maybe there is a predominance of uncomfortable or challenging experiences that really stay prominent in your mind. In the mechanics of this, what is the filter I’m using to find what I’m looking for? If I’m looking for happy and I’m viewing it through my life as miserable and unsatisfactory, and it’s been painful and nothing’s ever worked, that’s a pretty stiff filter to try to find happy. So chunking it down into something that is smaller, into a memory or an experience, and then sit with it, just kind of be in it.
And this, that concept of being in a feeling that’s positive is a challenging place to start with because some people are so familiar with uncomfortable feelings. So if you can just find that one little one and then sit with it and then validate it. And then give yourself permission to let another one come up either right then or another part of the day. Once you start giving yourself permission to be happy, to allow yourself to be happy, and then let that to be the frame of reference that allows you to expand into more and more. Call that happy.