Happy Is . . . What Exactly?

Rawhide treats make our 10-year-old Greyhound, Baylor, really happy.

He made that point with gusto following a recent early morning walk. As I watched him devour the Christmas-decorated bone, I pondered the state of happy and what it means.

Pretty broad–and deep–subject for 7 a.m., wouldn’t you say?

Happy is a slippery word, I think, and is hard to define yet most of us are quick to respond to the question, Are you happy?

For me, at least at first blush, the word happy seems superficial. Who says, No, I’m not happy when asked?

Personally, I would rather someone ask me if I’m at peace, than whether I’m happy. The peace question seems a little easier to answer.

Maybe I’m just uncomfortable with the word Happy. I mean, think about how easily it gets tossed around. People are always throwing out Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary or Happy New Year.

Have a Happy Day, a Happy Life.

But what does that mean?

Maybe we need to think about what causes happiness. Is it the source of satisfaction? Comfort? The ease with which we move through our days?

Maybe happy is a summation of being kind and gentle, thoughtful and charitable.

Perhaps the state of happiness is the absence of tension and envy. Sometimes I realize I’m empty of certain emotions, so is it at that point that other emotions–like Happy–can enter my consciousness?

Maybe I need to drain first, fill second.

All this really makes no sense, and truthfully, I’m started to remind myself of the late Andy Rooney delivering his closing comments on 60 Minutes.

Except . . .

Maybe the purpose of contemplating the meaning of Happy is merely to point out my incessant need to define my feelings.

There it is. The crux of discomfort. That old ugly urge to harness my state of mind.

Well, I say phooey to that today. I have only one need that can make me happy.

I just need to be; be in this moment because in this minute space of time, I am everything and anything and fine.

I may even go so far as to say I’m happy. Happy as a dog with a rawhide bone.

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  1. Hi Beth,

    Dogs do brings back to the basics and remind us that life doesn’t have to be so complicated. Happy feels like an overused word, even though it’s a much better feeling than the alternative. There are best selling books on how to be happy, yet how true it is that when we let everything else go and just be, we can find happiness.

    • Beth Wilson says:

      Hi Cathy,

      I have to first be honest and say that living with two dogs in a loft isn’t all peaches and cream, especially when I’m on a roll working and they are being bratty (or just need to go potty!). But for the most part, they bring so much joy and attention to the here and now.

      Have you heard of or read a book called The Mindful Addict, written by Tom Catton? I think you would enjoy it; Tom lives in Hawaii and he and I are becoming pen pals and friends of sorts. He posted this on Facebook the other day (close enough to exact words): If I can’t let it go, maybe I can let it be.

      I’m focusing on letting things be and less on letting go and am finding a HAPPY sense of balance.

      Best to you!

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