Brumal Summits:

The Peaks And Valleys Of Happiness

“You can’t be happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes.” – Lauren Oliver

Happiness is not an exact destination, nor is it a finite goal whose criteria can be met and ultimately accomplished. Instead, happiness is a journey. It is an infinite pursuit, endlessly sought because it is a state of being that is cultivated, rather than an objective eventually fulfilled. As such, happiness will always need to be renewed, your sense of contentment rebuilt, repaired or maintained in response to life’s impediments. This constant need to revitalize your sense of well being is indicative of the duality of human existence. The best things in life, so to speak, tend to be both fleeting and delicate. It is the precarious and impermanent nature of these things, as well as their existence in a chaotic, demanding universe that makes them precious and deeply meaningful.

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

As emotional states can often be overwhelming, it’s very easy to get stuck in a less than desirable state of mind for an excessive span of time. Your sense of wellbeing will always fluctuate, but take care that you have not allowed your emotions to obscure a logical assessment of a physical obstacle. Take a step back, breath and reevaluate what you’re dealing with and how you may overcome it. Try to reframe the issue that’s causing you distress, examine the positive things you’ve overlooked and refocus on the larger picture. Happiness doesn’t just happen, it must be chosen, created, willed into existence in spite of the chaos of the universe. Never let your emotions control you. They are valid, but will only increase the chaos and unhappiness in your life if left unchecked.

“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.” – Jonathan Safran Foer

In a world teeming with chaos and potential miseries, it’s very common to foster avoidance rather than resiliency or acceptance. While there are surely damaging things that are best avoided, excessive evasion of life’s experiences or challenges based on fear or discomfort, only serves to increase your overall torment. The most rewarding things in life are often fraught with the highest risk. If you avoid everything that presents the risk of personal upset, you’ll miss out on the greatest joys in life. You must strive to embody resiliency and acceptance whenever possible, so that you may navigate the challenges of life and reap their rewards without being damaged by the experience.

“Look up at the sky and be grateful for being a tiny little fragment of a beautiful blue planet.” – Nitya Prakash

Gratitude, above all else, is principal to happiness. The better able you become to feel grateful for everything in your life, the more adept you’ll get at maintaining a resolute sense of happiness despite the challenges you are certain to face. First, be grateful for those things which are self evidently, undeniably positive in your life. Then, work to be grateful for everything you’ve denied, written off or overlooked. Think about experiences you’ve had that caused you distress. Did you learn anything from these experiences? Are there other ways to frame them so that gratitude becomes you more easily? Maybe, a seemingly negative experience gave you the foresight to avoid the pitfalls of an even more challenging obstacle in the future.

There is a great sense of empowerment that arises as you get better at seeing the positive side of all things. The goal is never denial of reality, as this is delusion. Instead, the objective is a better control of your awareness and focus so that you predominately fixate only on those things which make you stronger. This is what it means to be the master of your own perspective.

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.” – Walt Whitman

In life, you’re not presented with any real ability to physically control which challenges you’ll face. You are, however, always in control of how you choose to respond or react to said challenges. To attain and maintain a consistent state of happiness as regularly as possible, you must strive to see the good in all things. When negative thoughts invade your perspective, examine them, let them breath. Likely, you’ll come to realize that there is little benefit in fixating on these things, as dwelling on negative perceptions is only productive when positive actions or changes of state occur as a result. Therefore, you should seek to disempower those thoughts or beliefs which make you weak and practice your ability to willfully focus only on perceptions that make you stronger, happier and more productive.