“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable” – Joseph Addison.
As part of International Happiness Day I decided to write about this unofficial official day even though I just only found out today that it even existed. However, I had been meaning to find the inspiration to write about some current feels and decided to explore this refreshing part of my chase.
Before we get into the deep heavy stuff (pre-warning), lets define what happiness is. How ironic though because when it comes to defining happiness, it can be the most daunting task to carry out as the definition can be so vast and varied in many ways. It’s almost inevitable to describe it because it means something different to everyone on this planet. For instance, happiness can be seen as the love shared between two lovers, someone winning the lotto and being able to be financially secured for the rest of their life or even waking up in the morning feeling refreshed and well rested (…said anyone).
But if we were to be literal and research the meaning, the definition that is given to us through the internet (thanks to Google) can be seen as this;
“Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Happy mental states may also reflect judgements by a person about their overall well-being”.
So therefore, happiness is pretty much what makes us all feel good whether its coffee, sex or running, whatever floats your individual boat. It’s all the things that make us excited and content and joyful. And to everyone one of us, our happiness will take different shapes and sizes.
As a sufferer of depression, happiness seems like the last thing you’ll find and feel,ever. Especially when all you feel like is the total opposite. You can sometimes feel like over a serious of days and months going through depression, everything seems negative and it doesn’t seem like it’ll get better but I’m here to tell you that it does. One of the lessons I have taken away from depression is to appreciate the little things in life, as cliche as that sounds. It’s been through the little things that I have been able to grasp onto a little bit of my happiness without a lot of hassle.
To me, I have found happiness in places such as the way in which I come home and kick off my heels after a long shift at work and plonking myself onto my comfy bed. Happiness is the long drive home around the bays where I watch the sun set behind me showing me that it is another day that I have lived to conquer. It is the way in which you greet people with kindness and they open your heart up to you. Or spending loads but not enough time with my partner before going back to work. Not to mention the queen treatment I receive on the daily. it is being able to wake up to your favourite person without the worry of not knowing where they are and if they are okay. It is the way in which you greet strangers and they tell you their stories of the things they have gone through in life and the things they have seen. It is the innocent hugs and kisses you receive from little kids who are so oblivious to the big dangerous world out there that you just want to protect them from. Or it is the way in which a family congregates and fellowships without the use of an electronic device in their hands for a period longer than 30 minutes.
Happiness is vital for our health. It’s almost like another invisible organ. We cannot function without happiness, without contentment and joy. It is important we find things that make us happy no matter how tough it gets and it doesn’t seem like there’s a way out. Happiness will always be around, even if it’s just through a smile.
“The good they do is inconceivable”
A vital part of dealing with my depression and finding my happiness was my decision to take up an interest in photography as a way of letting go and expressing the way I felt. I knew that I had to be different from everyone else not to stand out but because it was the best way I felt I could interpret that way I had felt. This meant that for every photo taken, I had decided it had to include a person. Preferably people that I knew because I knew their stories. And for every photo I captured there were different emotions and different feelings but the ones that made me the most happy and made me love photography were the ones that contained a smile.
To me, a smile is worth more than any highly valued item this world could put a price one and that doesn’t even compare to that than the smile you see on a loved one. This photo for example is one of my favourite photos to date.
“Let us always meet with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love” – Mother Theresa.
This quote couldn’t some up this photo any better let alone any of the photos I have taken regardless of it being two people in love or one person with a great amount of self love. There’s something in the way that love is an absolute healer and a fire that can fuel our souls. And for someone like me, I needed a lot of healing and I need re ignition. As I started finding happiness and love in what I was doing, in the little things around me, in the people I was surrounding myself with, I noticed that my frown was continuously turning upside down. I had previously envied the way in which people smiled in my photos because I knew that was something I longed for. To be healed, to feel alive, to feel liberated. Over time, battling through my depression, a smile revealed itself to me one at a time. And that was simply done through something along the lines of the serenity prayer;
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference”.
Going through depression and anxiety is just like being sick. And in order to get better, there are things that can be done and need to be done to make sure you get better. When I finally learnt to accept that, I decided to nourish and nurture my body physically by changing my mindset mentally by accepting everything I could not change and learning to let go. When you let go, your frowns will start to disappear time over time and you will start to find your smile again.
Don’t stop chasing your smile,
Dedicated to the one person that has made me smile more times than I have fallen down, I wouldn’t have gotten this far without you, I love you!