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The Secret to Happiness

What if I told you there was no such thing as sustained happiness? Would that sound super depressing? Would it be a relief -- knowing that you didn't have some grand unrealistic expectation to live up to? Most likely it may make you feel a sense of both.

One of the most common quests we go on in this human life is the quest for happiness. I'm here to tell you, the quest is constant, and the rewards are fleeting.

The treasure of happiness at the end of the hero's journey is temporary.

It's momentary bliss. There's good news and bad news. The good: It's not a one and done reward, firstly. The moments of bliss can continue to happen throughout your life, for sure! But it's not some magical necklace that you wear and feel instantly happy. Sometimes it just happens; and other time's (often so) it's creating joy in your life. The bad news: Once you have it, it' won't last forever. That's because life isn't about being happy, believe it or not.

Life is about being alive. When we choose to be alive, we choose to experience all of life's emotions, not just the happy ones.

In therapy, this is what I often call the unachievable "permanent yellow crayon quest." Many of us want to feel happy ALL THE TIME. We cling onto it, as if being happy is what life is all about. I relate these bliss moments as "yellow crayon moments" or joyful experiences. Keep in mind, one does not create a piece of art by only coloring the entire canvas yellow... then it's just a yellow square. You see, you can create magic and story, with all the colors - vibrancy, emotion and depth.

Life is similar to a piece of artwork - one has to color our lives with more than just the yellow crayons. First off, we are setting ourselves up for unrealistic expectations and failure. Not to mention a pretty boring life. You see, when you live fully, you color your life with more than just yellow. You create blue moments (sad). You have red moments (angry). You use black (dark, shameful times). You have pink (love). There are 63 other crayons in a box, aside from your yellow.

Do you find yourself clinging to only wanting the yellow ones? Once you figure out that life is full of other colored crayon moments, you have just learned a great lesson - that it's normal to experience an array of emotions in life; and most of the time you wont only have black crayon moments either (although when it rains, it pours, I know!).

In addition, you are a multidimensional being - meaning that the different experiences you have create and shape your own personal self, one that have more meaning. If you were only using yellow, you would be lost in reverie, with little to no effort, and furthermore, no pure joy (because you cannot know joy without knowing his sister, pain -- opposite emotions give us wonderful points of comparison). The colors also give you reference points, opportunities for gratitude and lessons in impermanence (this too shall pass; it won't last forever; I know that life offers an array of experiences, so I can look forward to other different moments).

In closing, stop clinging to YELLOW CRAYON MOMENTS! And STOP TRYING TO REACH A CONSTANT STATE OF HAPPINESS -- it's impossible! Instead, learn to live; and in living learn to navigate life's experiences as graceful as you can.

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