This was the WordPress prompt today, and honestly it couldn’t have been a better one. I mean, my reality: there are so many positive emotions that run through my life nowadays.
Love. Joy. Happiness.
Appreciation. Pleasure. Delight.
Exuberance. Lightheartedness. Playfulness.
But the emotion I feel most often?
I used to think “happiness” was what I wanted most. That’s what everybody wants, right? But it’s impossible to be happy all the time. Life happens: things make us sad or irritated or angry, insecure, jealous or afraid.
Happiness is not a place we can live in, twenty-four hours a day.
I had a partner once who told me that we should not be striving for happiness all the time. That happiness is brief, an emotion that flits in and out of our lives, a feeling that comes and goes like the tides, just as sadness does. And it’s true. Even at times when I feel I am the happiest I have been in my life, I feel moments of other, less “desirable” emotions: irritation, angst, exasperation, melancholy, disappointment.
It all comes and goes.
I realize now that probably what he was doing was trying to get me to accept being unhappy, as part of the package of being with him. Of accepting the rollercoaster ride that was my daily existence in that relationship. And, for awhile, I did (for too long.) I think I even came to crave the dopamine hit that it was when it was good – the highs – even as I dreaded the lows. I am not one to look back on every relationship that ended as a failure, or to paint it as “bad,” nor do I demonize my exes – god knows I have made lots and lots of mistakes myself and certainly more than my share in that relationship – but as I have moved into this relationship with Kevin, and as his and my and Adam’s triadic relationship has grown, I have gained some clarity on how unstable, unsustainable, and unhealthy that one was.
And, by contrast, how the opposite of those words this one is. It is – even – happy. I don’t have to accept unhappiness as a part of it.
But. That is not to say that I am always happy. I still feel all those other emotions – just not as a result of this relationship. Yes, I do get disappointed occasionally. And I have my insecurities and I feel anxious at times, though these feelings are less and less as time goes on. What I feel mostly is an overwhelming sense of…yes, happiness. But so much more.
I feel content.
It encompasses such a breadth of emotion. And even persists when those other negatives nip at me. It’s true: even when I am momentarily angsting, or feeling pissy, or disappointed or unheard or worrying over some silly thing – still, like a steady hum underneath and around and through it all – is contentment.
I feel safe. I feel loved. I feel regarded and esteemed and cared for. And I feel those same things for the people in my life. I am content in my life, with my world.
And that makes me happy.