How Do You Know You Are Happy?

Why is it that people know sadness more than happiness? Why do the negative stories of our lives stand out so much more prominently in our minds than the good stuff? And, why do we hear all of the no’s and take the yes’s in stride barely registering them?

When we learn that emotional pain is a state of mind, why isn’t that good news? Why do we go right to judgment, either of self: “If I can’t change this, what is wrong with me?” or judgement of others: “They must not understand how bad it is.” And let that stick us to the negative place even more.

Last night someone said to me, “It is going to be hard.” I said “Why?” He said, “I don’t know, I just made that up in my head.”

Yeah, you did. Who knows how it is going to be? How do you think that will effect you to think it is hard? What if you go through the whole event saying “This is hard, this is hard.” Could fun even find you in that state of mind?

My son has been stressed all weekend because his coach told him that they were going to do a 2K on the erg (rowing machine) at Monday’s practice. It takes ten minutes. He is stressed all weekend. Why not just be stressed those ten minutes?

If we let our negative feelings be our identity, we feel worthless and are left with fear and guilt. A breeding ground for panic and shame. You can get lost in it.

We have a game we have played since my oldest was little. (He is 21 now.) One of us draws a squiggle and the other one has to create a picture of something out of it. We can do it for hours with just scraps of paper.

If you feel like a squiggle, draw something new out of it. Creativity is the key to healing. It takes the brain from limited-and-stuck to open-to-new-possibilities.

How do you know you are happy?

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It is hard to know when you are happy because when you are happy you are being, you are experiencing and living and relating. Present enough not to think too much about it. The point is you are not analyzing every nuance, every thought, every tweak of the mind. You are just being.

When we are sad, we are overly aware, but of all the negatives. We analyse the heck out of ourselves. Lament, and judge and worry all day long. Sometimes I ask people how long these intense periods of sadness last. They inevitably say something that gives me the impression some distraction took them out of it. Action is the key. Do something, and be into that instead of into your monkey mind. Staying still, staying in our heads, make it worst.

We are going to always have good days and bad days. On happy days, we go about our lives. On bad days, if we showed some self compassion and allowed ourselves to be sad, we would also go about our lives. Instead on bad days fear arises, “I am always going to be like this.” and shame chokes us, “Why am I so weak?” and we can begin to drown. Sadness itself is manageable. But sad, with fear and guilt is some heavy stuff.

Know when you’re happy

I know I am happy when I am not feeling like a victim of the world. I know I am calmer when I am not feeling like a perpetrator of all the world’s problems. And, I feel relaxed when I stop thinking that everyone else’s problems are my responsibility.

I know I am happy when I am feeling grateful. Or maybe it is when I feel grateful I am happy. I feel balanced when I am not thinking about past mistakes, because I got what I needed out of them, and they no longer exist. I am relieved when I stop listening to the voice of shame that tells me I hurt people, make things worse, and make people want to leave me. And, I am content when I stop letting Fear trick me into thinking “I can’t.”

I feel here when I am in the present. I am being when I allow myself to just be.

And over to you, dear readers,

How do you know you are happy?


33 thoughts on “How Do You Know You Are Happy?”

  1. Hello Jodi,

    See your beautiful smile gave me happiness, because your smile is so contagious, I believe.

    I came to your blog from Hiten’s blog and loved your article..

    Your son’s example wrt the 10 minutes stress is an amazing concept..If everyone thinks like this then there will be more happy people in this world..

    Personally, I strive to maintain a balance between my happiness and sadness…I don’t overdo both because I trust in Buddha’s principle which says, the journey towards excellence is always in the middle path and not in the extremes..Keep doing your great work Jodi and wish this is a beginning to our long term relationship..

    Inspiring Citizen Rafi recently posted..10 Benefits Of Having A Mentor And Characteristics Of A Good MentorMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      I am into the path in the middle also! Thank you so much for coming and joining me! Nice to meet you and have you here! Hopefully we’ll see more of each other in the future!

  2. Love this post wand very timely for me – I was listening to the voices in my head!

    I always ask people that, when they say , this will be hard. How do you know?

    I know I’m happy when I choose light over dark, joyful over bitter, love over fear.

  3. I am happy every day. Not generally all day, every day, but there is always something to feel grateful for, to feel blessed about. Even on a really busy, stressful day at work – it’s good thing to HAVE work, to feel useful, the sense of accomplishment from getting things done.
    Beverly Diehl recently posted..If I May, If I MightMy Profile

  4. Hi Jodi,

    This was a quite brilliant post as you covered so many issues with the human condition in a simple and easy to read manner.

    Regarding you question about how do we know when we’re happy, I know I’m happy when I’m just being, as you also explained in your post. This is a state of not thinking and just being in the present moment.

    I know when this state is out of balance because unhelpful emotions like fear or worry about this or that have kicked in. However, this only causes a problem when I’ve identified with these emotions as being me. When I observe them in a detached way, they lose their power.

    Thank you.
    Hiten recently posted..How to Stand Out From the CrowdMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      I hope more and more people can practice that not thinking, and present moment. we must spread the word and practice what we preach! Thanks Hiten!

  5. Nice website and an awesome smile you have my dear.
    Few people have such wonderful smile.

    I like your blog and I subscribed for news 😀

    Best regards from I. C. Daniel – Romania

  6. Jodi – I always think of the things that make me happy in that moment, and feel gratitude for the long list I can come up with.

    But you are right. I had an aunt who always felt happy when she was unhappy. Did I make sense? Unless she was cribbing about something – could be something minor – she would find it! 🙂 And one could make out that she was content, now that she had something to be irritated about! It is a good thing we found it humorous.

    Hugs! And doodling is very very therapeutic!
    Vidya Sury recently posted..Happiness Is EverywhereMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Some people are comfortable with misery. I think some people confuse it with worth. Like if they complain, it somehow means they are worthy. Maybe this is why your aunt did it! Thanks for your kind thoughts! XoJ

  7. That was just what I needed today. I know I am happy when I am giving from my heart and am unaffected by others response wether negative or positive. Thank you Jodi, for caring enough to share your insights with us.

  8. Wonderful post, Jodi! I don’t think I’ve ever asked myself that question: “How do you know you are happy?” That’s probably because, as you write, when we are happy, we are in the moment, grateful, living, and we don’t need to analyze the moment or figure out what’s wrong.

    I am happier when I am grateful and when I am able to be mindful of what’s around me and inside of me right now.
    Tina Barbour recently posted..Adapting in the world of OCD and depressionMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Sometimes it is helpful to analyze and sometimes it just keeps us in place Nd we’re better off just moving on, gently. Thanks, Tina, for all your support! XoJ

  9. A wonderful post on so many fronts! Reminded me of the quote “Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.” And loved the scribble/drawing game. Oh and one more quote about your musing about gratitude. “It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us happy.”
    Galen Pearl recently posted..The Little Car That CouldMy Profile

  10. This is an amazing post. I wish I had read it a week or so ago when I started feeling listless and crappy. I think when we feel down we tell ourselves we “always” feel that way because it takes so much out of us. It’s only once it passes – or we figure out the problem – that we realize it’s not so bad after all.

    Thank you for this post. Also – love that scribble game!

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      I agree, when we are down it infuses everything. It is hard to see anything good then. It’s only from a distance we can see differently. Xo

  11. solidgoldcreativity

    Hi Jodi. Great post. Thank you.

    I know I am happy when things are flowing. There is a sense of ease and grace and the day seems to have a thousand pockets in it. And when I’m creating something, an experience, a work, a connection with someone, rather than just letting myself be carried along with it.

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      I know what you mean, Narelle, I call it being in the flow since it hard to find words for it. But it is like a state if no worry or judgment and it is powerful! Thanks for stoping by! XoJ

  12. Yeah, We happy when we grateful things we have, we are alive, we can do many things that we love. We can start again. So I choose to fun at moment than worry or sad about something. I know law of attraction always work well and bring me happy and fun more than before.

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Thanks Chu!
      I agree, there is always negative to see, and we see what we want, so why not be grateful for what we have? Thanks for coming and commenting!

  13. I know I’m happy when I can accept sadness as a part of my life, as a simple experience. I also know I’m happy when I feel loved, accepted, understood, when someone smiles at me, when I manage to make someone smile.Happiness and sadness are just emotions that last for moments. Life is a mixture of both. It is neutral, this is why it is so hard to define myself as a sad person or a happy one. I am just a person who lives and feels happiness and sadness everyday.Sadness is not wrong nor bad.It’s the other things that come with it that makes it bad.
    Nikky44 recently posted..Guest post: An open blessingMy Profile

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