Happiness. We seek it; we covet it. There are endless number of books about it, how to get it, what it means, where to find it. From professors to psychologists, to doctors and yogis and anyone in between, someone has a suggestion about how to find it.
Each of us has our own way to secure happiness. Some may read books where countless authors write about it. I recently saw a book that is a practical step-by-step guide to help focus the mind, improve performance and be happy. Methods and advice are offered for gaining resilience, confidence and communication skills. We look to a methodical, guided approach to get us to happiness through focus and better performance. Others may even attend a class. Yale University now offers college students a class “Psychology and the Good Life” with requirements to meditate for ten minutes and sleep for eight hours. Perhaps that will get them to their happiness.
We seek to be happy. We want to connect to that good place to be.
But for those who don’t seek their happiness through books or a class, how do they find their good place to be?
The movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, is a true story of a salesman who, with his son, faces defeats, challenges and hardships, and even homelessness. In the end, he did not have self-help books or anyone to teach him how to find his happiness. His determination with self-belief and persistence leads him to happiness, a literal and figurative home place to be for himself and his son. He never gives up and stands firm to his goals. His resolve comes within him, from a deep-rooted need to connect. He connects with himself.
We all know someone who may see the world as “half empty” These people appear to thrive on negativity, opposition, finding the empty in all things. But perhaps you are a person who sees things as “half full”. You not only see but believe in the positive; it just jumps out at you. Your outlook is, humble, grateful and “full.” Responding to the half-empty people with, “how can you not see that,” is part of your dialogue.
As a full-person, emptiness that others see may saddened you. You notice the negativity blocking the positive like a wall that shoots up, defending the choice, disabling a positive stance. They can’t connect because the negativity blocks the way. In fact, no connections can be made, not even to one’s self.
In my memoir, Under the Birch Tree, due out this June, I share with you how I discover connections to find a good place to be, to find home. I learned this as a result of the many disconnections — divorced parents, moving away from home, not fitting in in high school, not finding the right job, to name a few — I faced through my years.
As I wrote in an essay, “I Called You a Memoir” in the anthology The Magic of Memoir, “I was once eager to find complicated significance in what I now see as simplicity.” When writing my memoir, I was relentless to find something complex within the significance of my story when really it wasn’t complicated at all, but sheer self-evident simplicity.
Finding my happiness wasn’t to be through reading books or attending classes – too complicated. But having a half full view of myself wasn’t. Noting resolve and self-belief ensured the connection to myself.
By sharing my discovered connections, and their purposes in my book, I hope to help you to discover and see your place, your home, your happiness.
How do you find your happiness?