Sunday, July 10, 2011

On Happiness (Or Brace Yourselves, Really)

A few days ago I almost made a decision that would’ve left my apartment and credit card bare for the next 6 months.  I was struggling to understand why I was facing certain adversities, but most of all, I was struggling to understand why amidst all of them, I was still happy.  This happiness came as a shock to me because there didn’t seem to be anything really ‘there’ to evoke it.  So, I thought, “I need to nourish this happiness by living in a country that has always made me happy.”  In all honesty, I was afraid that maybe I was going nuts, and that the happiness would fade away, so I wanted to secure it by being in a place that I thought could make me happy even when the feelings wore off.  The flights were pretty expensive, and the flats I found were somewhat seedy, so I needed to make sure I was investing in the right decision.  It was then that I started thinking about the way I felt, and, coupled with some interesting readings, somehow, thankfully, came to the conclusion below.  I must warn you, this isn’t a blog entry about my new coat or scarf, but I really think that this knowledge could benefit everyone, no matter how style-savvy. 

My teacher of fearless love: my cat Nousha

Clearly my ideas of happiness have been a little side-tracked over the past several years (or, dare I suggest for all of my life?)but I now think (I don’t want to sound like a dick and say ‘know’) the following: Happiness is inside us, unconditionally. It’s our compassion, our thoughtfulness, our patience. It’s our ability to laugh, and to forgive, and our capacity to love, among many other things.   Despite the fact that that bouquet of peonies or Prada heels seemed to evoke a sense of happiness in our hearts, happiness never really comes and goes, but we make the decision to feel it.  A man will wake up tomorrow, look at the rising sun and feel happy.  Later that day, another man will get a promotion at work, and feel just as happy.  Different stimuli, same feeling.  Happiness, then, cannot simply be considered a ‘by-product’, but our ability to let ourselves be happy at any given moment. 

A view of London from the bridge. How can this not make someone happy?

 Someone once said to me, “I don’t make you feel this way.  You make yourself feel it.”  At the time I was very angry and was convinced that the emotions were basically ‘handed over’ to me by this person’s actions, but the fact of the matter is: we choose to accept the happiness within us, or to reject it and embrace some other emotion.  When we rely on others or other things to make us happy, we can’t avoid living in fear. We fear losing this person or thing (my recent blog on talks about just that – my fear of wearing my Marc Jacobs bag because it made me so happy) and we hold on to it so tightly that we cripple our ability to see the happiness within us.  And with all that fear consuming your heart, there isn’t much place left for love.  Love, I think, is giving one another the opportunity to express that very happiness that is within us, and our appreciation of another person’s capacity for all of the things mentioned above.   

Okay, okay, I'll admit I still love the occasional bouquet of flowers...

 The moment I understood this is the moment I moved myself away from the computer and put my passport back on the shelf.  London can’t make me happy- only I can.
Dear friends, if you love your Prada shoes, max out your Visa. If you love travelling, then travel on. But remember that happiness isn’t where you’re going, but there, with you, even before you’ve left.  Or, as Jon Kabat-Zinn said, “Wherever you go, there you are.”

Because I’m trying to maintain the guise of writing a fashion blog, I’ll mention that Versace is collaborating with H&M, with the special day being in November.  Mkay wow, no big deal. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm actually tearing up a bit after reading this. I love that photo of you at the end. You are strong and beautiful and YOU make ME happy.