Happiness

Apparently I come across to some people as being unhappy. As near as I can tell, the consensus in some circles is that I spend my days obsessed with blaming my misery on the religion I no longer practice, when I should just realize that I’m unhappy because I have problems.

Of course, all of this relies on the assumption that I’m unhappy.

I am not.

I’ve probably written about this before, but as I’ve grown older, my conception of happiness has changed, and I realize that being happy means being comfortable and at peace with who you are. For a variety of reasons (some related to Mormonism, but that was just a part of it), I was never satisfied with where I was in life, and I never felt like I was good enough; if anything, my obsession was with self-improvement, with proving to myself, God, and whomever else, that I was good enough, smart enough, and–doggone it–people liked me. On the inside, however, I was filled with self-loathing; I remember feeling that if people knew the “real me” inside, they would be horrified. So, I looked outside myself for validation, and as I noted recently, when I went through my crisis of faith, I was overly concerned with getting that validation from other people.

I don’t think life got any better until I finally realized that I didn’t need approval, understanding, or validation from other people. I just needed to be OK with myself. In the immortal words of the poet Edgar A. Guest:

But here in this struggle for fame and pelf,
I want to be able to like myself.

And I do like myself. The person I am–the natural man, if you will–is not a bad person or unworthy, let alone an enemy to God. It’s just me, and I’m happy with me.

It’s a good place to be. I’m a new grandparent, and life could not be better.

ETA: Now this song is stuck in my head.

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5 Responses to Happiness

  1. mvdbman says:

    I really need to reevaluate where I am! I think I am getting closer to where you are. Not quite there yet but closing in.

  2. Agellius says:

    Congratulations to you.

  3. Jenny says:

    Hey runtu!
    I have thought about this some personally, and I think what might be in play here is: Writers gotta write!
    Writers have words that have to be written down, and often shared.
    What do many of us write about? Ourselves. Our life experiences, and our observations!
    People who are not writers sit quietly, and read the words of the writers. Then they make judgements of the words that have been written down by the writers.
    But what is a writer gonna do? Not write? IMPOSSIBLE!
    You keep on sharing yourself. Keep sharing your journey. Keep writing!
    Cheers!
    Jenny

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