When she asked how I was doing, I was afraid to respond.

It’s a common question, “How’s it going?”  “How are you doing?”  I ask those questions all the time.  It’s been said that people don’t really want to know what’s happening in your life but just want to do the nice thing and ask.  I’m thinking that’s mostly true.  (FYI – when I ask, I really do want to know! 🙂 )

Recently, I was asked, how I’m doing, and I gave my standard answer,  “I’m fine.”  I was afraid to give my real answer, which is “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”  Later, I began to wonder why I didn’t say what I was thinking?  Other than my Italian/Jewish superstitions (which are overwhelmingly powerful!), what is it that keeps us from being afraid of happiness?

We think that if we feel happiness, something could will happen.  The “other shoe” could will drop.  We want happiness, but we don’t trust it.  We let ourselves be happy for a minute or two but then we’re filled with self-doubt and fear.

Fear constantly tells us to hide our happiness.  To avoid it because it makes us look conceited or selfish. It tells us that too much happiness will affect our professional life. We work in a world where being happy once or twice a week is fine but any more and you look like a slacker.  Plus, we believe that if we’re too happy, those who are less happy will be mad or feel bad.

The truth is, it’s ok to be happy.  It’s ok to be happy even when things are not perfect.  We have this image of happiness like we see in the commercials where a drug, a fancy car or a new yogurt will make everything perfect. But it never does.

I often feel pain for others less fortunate than me.  I feel so deeply that I have trouble shaking it.  But I’ve learned that I don’t need to be unhappy because others are unhappy.  I can do all I can for others and it’s OK to still be crazy thankful for what I have.

Happiness is a quiet, subtle thing. It’s not a constant feeling of excitement.  It’s a feeling of joy and abundance.  It’s soft. Real happiness is easy to overlook or take for granted.

Look, no one’s life is perfect.  I’m worried about my daughter’s injury. The boys have stuff (always!). Friends have illness in their lives, divorces, etc.  Plus, I’ve got 10,000 flaws (most of them you likely know!).  But these “issues” and flaws help us to be more generous and empathetic to others.  To be more open. Which in turn makes us happier.  See how that works?

Whether or not you think you deserve happiness (which you do), doesn’t the world deserve the best you can give?  Well, your best will come when you embrace (not fear) being and saying “I’m happy.”

Have a beautiful Sunday!

 

 

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