How to be Happy

 

This week’s writing challenge is to share something you’ve learned with your readers. I’ve noticed that if I’m present enough in each moment, I’m always learning. Unfortunately, my self-awareness isn’t a regular ritual of mine. More so, it comes and goes in binges. I strongly believe, and know, that my life would be better if I could be more present in every breath I take. I’ve found the best way to return to that essential place of knowing is to slow my breathing and to listen to my heart. I know, it’s so cliché, but there’s a reason why that line is used as advice in virtually every circumstance. At risk of sounding even more cliché, I’m going to say that my heart has proven time and time again to be my greatest teacher. So, I want to share the lesson it taught me a few days back.

***A note to readers: In case you aren’t one of my earlier followers, you might not know I have bipolar disorder. Not that it should matter, but I’ve decided to discuss this aspect of myself in this post. I sincerely believe this piece is relevant to everyone, even those without bipolar disorder. However, if you’re not interested in reading about the bipolar aspects, feel free to skip the italicized segments.

I’m assuming I’m not the only person who lives in cycles. I mean, with the changing seasons and tides, it’s only natural, right?

Well, being bipolar has a whole other world of cycles, which can be much less predictable than when the leaves are going to fall. Typically, I’m depressed and dormant from roughly November to March. But once spring comes, something hits me, and I’m inspired, ecstatic, and confident- in a healthy, non-manic way.

When you’re bipolar, there’s a blurry line between being genuinely happy and falling into the rip-roaring tides of mania. Ever since I’ve had some very destructive episodes, I’m always on red-alert for signs of mania. Thus, I’m apprehensive whenever I feel happy. In fact, I’m almost terrified to be happy because it’s nearly impossible to distinguish it from the earliest symptoms of mania. By the way, mania is awesome. You feel invincible and everything in life is absolutely perfect, including yourself! Not to mention, your productivity skyrockets. It’s so awesome that you don’t realize how poorly skewed your perception of reality is. No matter what your friends and family tell you, you’re fine. The problem is with everyone else, those pessimistic party poopers you call your loved ones. In fact, you don’t need them. You’d be better without them, and you’ll find someone who will treat you better. After all, you’re such a stellar person, everyone loves you, so basically, the ball is in your court. Oh, and if you finally come to the realization that you’re manic, it’s not just something you can pull out of, and it’s usually too late.

Anyway, it seems that nearly every spring, I come to some *non-bipolar* epiphany that empowers me to believe in myself and gives me the fuel to work toward my goals. Kind of like a pep-talk from my soul that lasts for a few months.

So, the snow finally disappeared a couple of weeks ago, and every day I’d look at the sunrise and think, Ok, epiphany…I’m ready for you….anytime now!

Heck, I even subscribed to O Magazine this year to really boost my aha-moment potential!

However, I got nothing. No inspiration, no sudden recognition of my soul’s infinite power… Nope.

So last Sunday, I sat down to meditate, and I asked my soul something like, “When the hell are you going to enlighten me?!” I sat in silence for a while, when it finally came to me: I’ve been waiting and expecting happiness to just come to me… but that’s not how it works.

Things happen.

Life happens.

Sometimes it’s easy to be happy. Sometimes it’s impossible not to be happy. But sometimes, you have to choose to be happy.

So instead of moping around and waiting for an epiphany to turn my attitude into flowers, hearts, and unicorns, I have to make my own happiness. After all, our souls have the infinite power to do anything, and that includes choosing happiness.

Happiness isn’t something to find. It’s something to be.

Oh, and by the way, my soul reminded me that happiness ≠ mania. I need to be happy, and I can allow myself to be happy while being aware of any triggers or onsets of mania. It’s possible to be happy without tailspinning into reckless behavior.

So today, I’m going to be happy. I do hope you’ll join me. If you need some extra inspiration besides that which your heart may provide, take a look at some more quotes about happiness!

With happiness and gratitude,

Adelie