“later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
where does it hurt?
– Warsan Shire
Recently I was asked by a new found friend if happiness is a mindset; you either have it or you don’t? I paused for a moment before answering as it’s not something I had thought about in a while. My response was this:
I think happiness can be a mindset but (when considered literally) but there are things that make you happy.
I said that because I know people who are happy in almost any and every situation – my mum is one of them. Now that’s not to say that things don’t upset her – they do. But she always seeks to find good in every situation because she understand that to a certain degree, she is responsible for her own happiness (outside of her faith in God).
On the other side of the spectrum, I know people who are miserable or depressed but experience moments of happiness. In those instances, I would think it is safe to say that they have happiness. It may be short lived or fleeting but no less real than my mother’s. In fairness, I’m sure many would argue that it’s not so black and white.
My friend raised a valid point when he alluded to the fact that people interpose the word happiness for positivity. While they usually go hand in hand, you do not have to be happy to be a positive person – trust me, I know. Even in my moments of despair, I can be super positive so ultimately others wouldn’t even know I was unhappy.
In closing, he said “I think happiness is the process of becoming your ideal self.” As someone who is on that path, I’m inclined to agree with him.