Happiness is weird. It’s not really easily defined, but it’s something everyone working on the top level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs seems to want. We have specific goals we assume will get us to “happy” but in general, if you simplified most life goals, we all just want to be “be happy.”
I’ve been thinking about this a lot every since I watched the documentary “Happy” on Netflix, which I highly recommend. I truly believe I’m happy in an overall existence kind of way. I feel like I can say this almost definitively because I’ve looked back at other times in my life with the knowledge that – at those moments – I was most definitely NOT happy.
There was middle school. Probably the most unhappy I’ve ever been and I’m not sure anyone even knew it. (Which is what makes parenting really tough, because I know how a tween can hide misery.) There was early in my pregnancy with E when I was living in this strange house with 5 other people and I was very young and very homesick and very unsure of my future. There was a window after I split with E’s Dad where some of my skeletons came back to haunt me and I was left quite friendless (for good reason, don’t pity Zoot of yesteryear) and full of guilt and shame. There was the time after my Dad died and we moved and I was feeling grief and self-hatred from not working and being overweight and unhealthy. Those four times I can definitively say: NOT HAPPY.
But that’s kinda it. The rest of the time? Seriously? Basically Happy.
I sought therapy finally in March because the unhappy moments were lasting so long and there was a general sadness that was kinda weaving it’s way into everything…and I felt like I was losing grasp on my happiness. But really? Compared to those four times in my past? Still? Generally Happy.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot because as we’re working through this “grief recovery” program in therapy, I’m aware that we’re on the back end of it so the next “phase” will kinda have to be defined. We don’t want to spend forever in the past, so I need to be thinking about what I want out of my life next. How do I want to apply these things I’ve learned to my future? I think the general thought process is, “What do we need to do to achieve happiness?”
But it feels weird because, well, I’m happy. I’ve been happy for awhile. At least relatively speaking. I think.
The problem with my anxieties is that it taints my happiness. So I’d definitely like to make sure that stays minimal and doesn’t turn me agoraphobic like it did after Dad died. Keeping the anxieties in check is definitely a key to happiness. I’d like to work through how to process some of my insecurities better so I don’t react at a level 10 to things that really only warrant a level 1 or 2. I’d like to come up with better management of anxiety and stress and sadness than with food.
These are all general goals I have that I feel like would help me maintain my happiness, but somedays I worry that I’m fooling myself. The rest of the world seems like it’s striving towards happiness and I feel like I’ve been there for awhile yet I’m the one going to therapy.
Sometimes it feels weird to be out of the Sadness fog of March and still look forward to my sessions. Should a happy person be in therapy?
This is kinda just me thinking out loud this morning. I know a lot of you encouraged me to go to therapy because of how it helped you, but did you continue to go? Because truthfully? Even dropping back to once every two weeks kinda makes me sad, I like knowing I’m going to see her every week. I like it because I walk away every week with new lessons or things to think about or apply. Is that enough of a reason to keep going? Technically I think we only have about 3 weeks left on the “Grief” part of the program but some days we get distracted and don’t move forward (which is fine, it usually means it’s because we’re going where I want to go) but in general, we need the next “plan” once this program is done. Is it okay to keep going? Just because I feel like it “helps” in this vague and general way?