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What is happiness?

March 08, 2015


happiness, joy, contentment, what is happiness


Recently, I auditioned for the “Listen To Your Mother” event that will be taking place soon in cities around the country. I was extremely proud of the piece I auditioned that was about my journey to motherhood, and wanted more than anything to be chosen to perform it at the event.

When I wasn’t chosen, I was heartbroken. The rejection letter, explaining how the judges had to look past the individual pieces, themselves, to consider the event as a whole was very heartfelt, and helped a little. Still, in my mind, I kept toggling between blaming the judges and blaming myself—either way, taking the rejection personally. How easily we can get sucked into that.

Yet, the rejection came at the perfect time. A few days later, I was co-hosting a Google Plus Hangout On Air for the Small Business Network Roundtable on “happiness,” a show I chose to co-host because of the richness of the topic. Do you see where I’m going with this? I was not happy that my piece wasn’t selected, and had it been, I would have been thrilled.

But doesn’t this point at the insignificance of happiness? The fact that my piece wasn’t selected didn’t change how proud I was of it or how it could impact someone’s life. So what did my unhappiness really signify: that I didn’t get what I wanted. In this context, our happiness is so dependent upon things that happen to us, which we have limited control over and on our emotions that come and go with the wind. So happiness is given to us, so it is taken away.

Network Roundtable, which airs Fridays on Google Plus at 10:40ET, explores the softer side of business, and is brought to you by Dennis Duce and Kristin Drysdale. My co-host was my  Kalyani Roldan, and our featured guest was Marilyn Shannon. Marilyn talked about happiness as a “state of being,” rather than something that’s happening to us we happen to like. This idea really resonated with me. However, since the word “happiness” is so loaded, and because of my spiritual leanings, I prefer the word joy.

For me, experiencing joy isn’t dependent upon our fleeting desires, which are so influenced by the media and whatever else we’re exposed to. No, it’s very different than that. It’s based on trust, and on trusting that no matter what, the Universe has our back. Joy doesn’t disappear, if someone looks at us funny, decides that our piece doesn’t hit the mark—even if we lose our job, (although it will probably be harder to recognize then.)  To me, joy is the outcome of God’s echo within us.

Who’s to say that I wouldn’t get into a car accident on the way to the performance? Or that somebody else doesn’t need to perform their piece more than me? Or that the depth of my honesty made the judges too uncomfortable? Or that I woulnd’t learn more from not being chosen to perform my piece than from being chosen. Believe me—for me, deepening my trust is far beyond a fair tradeoff for not being able to perform at the event.

I may never know the reasons why my piece wasn’t chosen, but I don’t have to. I know that a few minutes of happiness pales compared to the joy that wells up from within from knowing that what Mick Jagger said was right. “You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.”Tweet This


4 Responses to “What is happiness?”

  1. I am struggling with several personal issues right now, and your words definitely helped.

    Thank you, Gail <3


  2. Gail so well put. Maybe regardless of the word we choose it’s the feeling that we have in that state of being that matters and how the over all landscape of our beingness is sustained. Thank you for continuing the conversation and the discovery.

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