In my yoga sutras classes, one of my favorite teachers was often asking us this simple yet profound question: «Are you a happy person?». Being of an optimistic nature and having that cheerful and jolly personality of mine, the answer seemed quite simple to me. However, it didn’t seem to be the case for everybody. While I tend to wake up already pumped and excited about the upcoming day, some people struggle to get out of bed. This made me realize how lucky I was. That joy, that love of life, is deeply rooted within me, and I believe that it is my very own gift.
On the other side of things, even though I consider myself to be a happy person, my deep love of life has led me to discover a darker side to it. My desire to live to the fullest tends to make me go beyond my limits, both physical, emotional and psychological, sometimes leaving me exhausted. In that state, I don’t see things clearly anymore, as if a huge and gray cloud surrounded my head, following me everywhere. No matter how much I try to, it seems that there is no way out.
My solution up to now was to determine what I could change about my life to make it better in the future, counting on those changes to have a brighter future out of the gray cloud. I would come up with amazing plans about moving somewhere else, finding another job, going back to school, or even leaving to travel the world. Anything in the future to get back to my original state of happiness. Projecting myself in a brighter future seemed to be the answer to get out of the not-so-fun days I was going through.
When the smart boyfriend jumps into the conversation
Sharing my insatisfactions and my upcoming plans to improve my life with my amazing and quite smart boyfriend, he asked me another simple yet as profound question, very complementing to the first one: “Will you ever be happy?”. For him, having seen me going through ups and downs, my happiness wasn’t depending on my outside reality, but much more on my actual state of mind.
The only difference between “Are you a happy person?” and this “Will you ever be happy?” is a matter of time. Are you happy now or in the future? As much as we would like to be certain about it, we cannot predict the future. We can plan ahead, make choices we think are going to make us happy, but we never know. The only thing we can be sure of is if we are happy now. Therefore, no plans, no upcoming solutions can fix our actual state, if we are not making the choices that will work for us now.
As for myself, getting to know and respect my limits will help me much more than moving somewhere else or getting a new job. It’s all about defining the real issue, rather than going for quick fixes. Being true to yourself will demand courage, requiring you to not rely on outside things to improve your life for a short amount of time, asking you instead to make deeper changes for longer-term benefits. But trust me, it’s totally worth it.
The Ted talk
Curious to learn more on that topic? I definitely recommand you watch that great Ted talk by Shawn Achor.