And not just because our forefathers fought hard to give us an opportunity to chase after happiness (thank you), but because you deserve nothing less than that.
You are more than worthy of happiness. No, I am not talking about contentment. No, I am not talking about settling. I am talking about a full-blown plunge into complete and entire exuberance.
And, you will have to pursue it. It does not just stop by and invite itself in. You, and only you, will be in charge of seeking it out; figuring out what it is that brings you mounds of joy, grasping your fingers around it and holding on tight.
Don’t rely on someone else dropping it off to you. I promise you will be waiting your entire life if you do. Instead, fight for it. Go after it. With everything you have.
Understand that your happiness — it is an inside job. No one can steal it from you and, likewise, no one can give it to you. You must decide that happiness is what you want and let nothing stop you from achieving it.
But remember that it is not just a one-time pursuit. It is an ongoing chase. As you learn and grow throughout life, you may find that your surroundings change, YOU change, and the things that once brought you joy are just not filling your happiness tank.
It is then that I need you to fight even harder for it – your happiness. Give hard and leave no regrets on the table. And if, at that time, your tank is still not full and you don’t like where you are, then move. You’re not a tree.
Since you are not a tree, your location in life may change over and over again. Know that, sometimes, the path you once thought was sure to bring you delight will change. Or maybe that path doesn’t look like what you had imagined. If (and when) that happens throughout life, don’t continue down a path that doesn’t bring you gladness. Choose another route – if all other routes seem less than exuberant, pave your own dang path.
But don’t forget that happiness is not just an end goal, it is a part of the entire journey. Find joy in that journey – in that pursuit. Look around at all the little things that so easily raise the edges of your mouth towards the sky. Hold those things close, use them as building blocks on your path of enjoyment.
Be conscious of others on your trek. Make sure that your voyage toward happiness does not destruct another’s. Rather, sprinkle your glee on those around you who are thirsty for it and need some nourishment. For, happiness multiplied is worth so much more than happiness divided.
But, be careful not to dump all of your delight out because, unfortunately, there will be people who will let you continue to pour until you are empty. Remember, it is not your job to make anyone else happy — that is their job. You are only responsible for yourself.
And pay close attention to how much you glance in the other lane at someone else’s happiness. Wish them the best, by all means, but don’t you dare get caught in comparisons of joy. In fact, comparison is most often the thief of happiness. Besides, even some of the seemingly happiest people are going through things that you don’t see. So, be kind and gentle always, but don’t compare.
Instead, focus more on yourself and your trip to happiness. Know that there will be days where you have to actually choose happiness. You may even physically have to force yourself to smile. But, do that – stare at yourself in the mirror if you have to and tell yourself how amazing you are.
Because you are amazing. Which is why you deserve the right to pursue happiness. Climb, pray, chase, stalk, hunt it down — whatever you have to do – make it happen.
It wasn’t written in the Declaration of Independence as the right to “Life, Liberty, and Happiness” because happiness cannot be handed to you. Instead, you must seek it out.
And go big. Enjoy the journey, but do not settle or stop until you can sit alone with your thoughts and surroundings and feel the peace and satisfaction of absolute happiness seeping out of your soul.
Then, let that moment be your baseline – your starting point. Funny thing about happiness, it doesn’t have a max capacity. You cannot actually have too much of it. Ever.
So go out there and get it. For you live in a country where people have fought for you to have the right to find happiness. All you have to do is pursue it.
Happy 4th of July, friends.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.