My home is not a place, it is people.
Published on January 14, 2007 By Cordelia In Blogging

A few years ago I become ill with the stomach flu. I woke up and felt fine, but by the time I was driving to work I knew I had better turn around and go back home. I don't mean to be crass or crude, but I spent the rest of the morning being violently ill. It was difficult to walk, I felt terribly weak and shaky, and by Noon I began to wonder if I shouldn't take myself off to the emergency room.


I really did not want to go to the emergency room, but I couldn't keep even a sip of water down. Even thinking about a drink of water was enough to send me crawling back to the bathroom for another prayer at the porcelain altar.


By one pm I determined that I probably needed to go to the doctor, but by god I wasn't going to. I clamped my teeth shut and said to myself "SELF! You are not going to be sick anymore. You will lay quietly on the couch and you will not be ill again today. You will drink some water within the next hour and you WILL keep it down".


And you know? It worked.


Now what I want to know is this: If I can grip the stomach flu and by sheer force of will turn it away, why can't I force my mind to think happy thoughts when I'm down?


Sounds simplistic, doesn't it? Nevertheless, most of the literature I've read on the subject states that happiness is in the eye of the beholder and it is up to the individual to choose happiness over unhappiness. I want to believe this, as it goes along with my own personal philosophy that we are all in charge of our own destinies. We are not at the mercy of fate or some capricious god. The paths of our lives are up to us.


So when I'm unhappy for whatever reason, why then can I not simply clench my teeth against those negative thoughts and spit them out, rather than swallow them down?


I ask you, JoeUser, are you able to do this? Do you catch yourself in a negative thought spiral and begin to count your blessings and turn your gray thoughts to sunshine? What constitutes your happiness? What in your life makes you truly happy, and how do you define that happiness?


Abd Er-Rahman III of Spain (960 C.E.):

I have now reigned about 50 years in victory or peace, beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot. They amount to fourteen.


Money does not make me happy, but the lack of it certainly makes me unhappy. I don't need to be in charge of every last thing to be happy. I don't need servants or lots of clothes or a huge mansion and I don't need to be dreaded by my enemies. I'm not even sure I have any enemies...but if I do, eventually I'll destroy them. I have patience.


Albert Camus:
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.


I am constantly searching for the meaning of life (and for you jokers out there, if the meaning of life is 42 then I'm still searching for the question, which is not likely to be 7x6). More specifically, I'm looking for the meaning of MY life. There is nothing more unsatisfying than knowing that I'm likely never to find the answer. It makes me very uncomfortable. I think Mr. Camus has a point, but in truth I feel compelled to think about the meaning of my existence. It's like a scab I can't stop picking at.


So what makes me happy? The times in my life that I remember of pure, and genuine happiness (I can immediately think of 2 days), I was sitting on the couch, warm and comfortable, reading a good book. Maybe at the end of the day that's all it takes. It's worth a shot anyway.

Allan K. Chalmers:
The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.

Comments (Page 2)
on Jan 17, 2007
Ohh, Tova, I'm so sorry I missed responding to your comment the first time around

No problem.

Hope you are having good thoughts!  
on Jan 18, 2007
Hopefully you're having a much better day Cordelia.

For myself, I talk and pray aloud, in conversations with God. I know, it might sound silly, but I have conversations and I 'air' my concerns and when I talk it out, I find myself thinking of solutions I didn't see before. I sometimes write as well.

I find that when I do dwell on things, it makes me very grumpy and unhappy and I don't like being that person so I usually do something to cheer myself up. Like a walk, a workout, watch a fav program on tv or a fav movie or just listening to music and dancing to it as well. Being silly with the children as well helps to get my mind off things that are too intense.

But I do believe that positive affirmations work, as Maso said, they really do and I use that sometimes as well.
on Jan 18, 2007
I'd lend you my baby but I doubt she'd have the same affect on you as she does on me

Seriously, I think there are different answers to "getting happy" depending on what is preventing your happiness. If it is "attitude", obviously a lot of the things that others have suggested like meditation and "counting blessings" (which I do constantly), are good solutions. However, if the problem is chemical, and no, I don't mean drug induced (although it can be), it is a bit more complicated matter.

I have only had a few experiences with chemically induced unhappiness. I experienced different levels of "blues" following the births of my 3 children. I also experienced issues when I was on vicodin when I broke my leg. I tend to get the blues when I'm very ill also. Happiness is a bit more illusive under such circumstances.

I am extremely fortunate to be a happy person by default. When I'm unhappy it is because something or someone has altered my default state. As you know, I am very close with someone who is quite the opposite.

Right now, having my dear childhood friend battling cancer, I am happy any day I wake up, can breathe, can walk, can hold my baby and take care of my family. My degree of happiness merely depends on how comfortably I can do those things. Right now I am battling my sinuses but I am still happy.

My only observation about your situation is the following, if a simple thing like sitting and reading makes you happy, perhaps your happiness tends to be hinged on expectations. Maybe lowered expectations is all you need to be happier If that doesn't work, meet me for a Margarita and we'll work it out
on Jan 21, 2007

'Mind Power Into The 21st Century'by John Kehoe

I'll check it out, thanks Dynamaso!

Hope you are having good thoughts!

Thanks's back and forth but I'm trying.

I'd lend you my baby but I doubt she'd have the same affect on you as she does on me 

She IS a bundle of pure joy! While I was having negative thoughts when I wrote this article and have them now and again, the real issue is not the blues or the negative thoughts, but getting stuck in a rut with them. One bad thought seems to lead to another, and before I know it I've talked myself into a very bad place. I'd like to be able to recognize those moments and then STOP doing what I'm doing to myself it would be...nice.

I find reading helpful because it gets me out of my own head. Going out with friends is nice too...Logan's, anyone?

on Jan 29, 2007
What makes me happy is thinking of times when my two daughters were younger. I can still remember both times when they told me, without my prompting or saying it first, that they loved me. I remember my first "Daddy." I remember when they had a fight with a friend at school and came to me in tears. I remember the first time they thought a boy was cute and the inevitable crushed heart that soon followed. I remember rocking them to sleep each night on my lap and singing our favorite song to them and telling them how absolutely perfect they were.

Kids, it's the very definition of joy.
on Jan 29, 2007
on Jan 29, 2007

Kids, it's the very definition of joy.

Yes...that's what I hear.  I guess it all comes down to finding your bliss, whatever it may be. Now, if only I could remember where I put my bliss.


Awesome link. I'm going to add that to favorites and pull it out whenever I need a pick-me-up.


Thank you both. You know what makes me happy? Meeting people online and hearing about their days, either on my blog or on theirs. Really, to everyone who has commented here; it means a lot to me.