I am the woman who has everything. I have a beautiful house, two beautiful kids, a good, hard-working husband, enough money, interesting work, no major traumas or tragedies, and yet, I don’t feel really “happy.” I have tried keeping a journal of things I should be grateful for, to look at my life positively, to do good things, and exercise, etc. I do these things and certainly don’t lie in bed all day. I don’t think I’m depressed, but I can’t seem to reach that feeling of each day being important, and enjoying each breath of my life, as Oprah might say. I have been in therapy for some time as I did not have a very happy childhood. Like I said, I have achieved a good life, but I did think by now I would feel happier. I know that you don’t know me and can’t respond to an e-mail, but I was wondering what you think a “key to life” is for obtaining enduring happiness.
From the Woman Who Has Everything – Almost
Dear Woman Who Has Almost Everything,
I think one of the keys to enduring happiness is feeling loved. Feeling loved is something that other people have to give you, as well as something that you may have to clear the path for. You can do this, ironically, by indulging your unhappiness. Sometimes, you have to sort through mental clutter before you decide to get rid of it. If I were you, I would use my therapy to talk about my unhappiness. Don’t be afraid to “go there.” Let yourself be as unhappy as you want! I think you may find the rest will follow…
As for Oprah, whom I love, not everybody experiences life with the same passion, vim and vigor as she may. Some newborn infants, for example, seem consistently enthralled with life, while others seem indifferent and still others, downright disgruntled. Are any of these infants are any less perfect in the eyes of God? I would say that if a person can say to themselves, “wow, I feel really happy right now” just 3% of the time, and accept a modest baseline of security the other 97% of the time, that that is quite sufficient.
Another key to happiness may be having the sheer determination to seek it out. If this is true, you certainly have what it takes to find it…I wish you all the happiness that you desire.