I have to say, when I saw that HAPPINESS was the prompt for this week’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge #WQWWC, I was delighted. Thought to myself, “I love a good science project!” Thanks, Ronovan and Colleen!
What? Science project? Seriously, Annette? Oh yes, you of over used curved punctuated phrases, happiness is about as scientific an energy as they come. After all, dealing with the brain is a matter of science. So what does the brain have to do with emotions anyway? Oh, I am so HAPPY that you asked!
See, happiness is an emotion, it’s a reaction to stimuli. And believe it or not, we tell ourselves how to feel about something. Therefore, something we attribute to the passionate, red flames of the heart, is really a matter of grey. Let’s test this theoretical statement, shall we. For the purposes of this experiment, we are going to all LOVE ice cream, specifically, chocolate ice cream. You’re with me, right? We are all, ALL ABOUT chocolate ice cream. Chocolate ice cream makes you HAPPY! Let’s roll with this, shall we…
Someone sets a dish of chocolate ice cream in front of you and pick up your spoon and dig into this creamy, delicious bowl of frozen wonder. It smells great, tastes even better and you can barely wipe the smile from your mustachioed lips as you proceed to down every last drop. Go ahead, lick the spoon. Get your mug into that bowl and do it doggie-style, cause no one is watching. Happy? You betcha!!
Now, let’s back that up to the beginning of the experiment. Here sits you, awaiting the ice cream and yes someone deposits the dish of delectable deliciousness directly in front of you. However, they have neglected to provide a spoon. Happy? Of course there is no one to bring you a spoon and you have nowhere to go to find one, so the ice cream simply melts away. Happy? Of course once it has melted, you can drink it, so that’s cool, right? Think a happy thought, here.
What changed? You had the object of your affection right there in front of you and you know how chocolate ice cream makes you happy! Oh, wait, you say this is true but only if you can eat it with a spoon and only when it is still cold. But if chocolate ice cream makes you happy, why should it matter what it’s temperature is or whether or not you can eat it, it is still chocolate ice cream, right? Right?
Perhaps it is the enjoyment of the chocolate ice cream that generates the happiness rather than the substance itself. Could it be that you have been thinking of this all day long and in anticipation of that creamy texture, deep, rich flavor and cool sensation you have built up the most remarkable expectation of the pending event. Eating chocolate ice cream has the ability to transport you back in time to a place where eating that ice cream contributed to the magic of the moment. When you close your eye anytime you eat chocolate ice cream, you can relive that HAPPIER time. Ah, I am beginning to see a pattern here.
Could it be the emotional attachment we have to the chocolate ice cream and the memory of it that creates the happiness? After all, the dish of chocolate ice cream didn’t change, even though the circumstances surrounding its presence did. We told ourselves there was only one way we could be happy and that was to be eating the ice cream, with a spoon, while it was nice and cold.
Hey, wait a minute, Annette. Are you saying that happiness is a choice we make? Like it’s up to us to decide to be happy or not? That it’s not the ability of another person, place or thing to ‘make us happy’ moreover it is in how WE FEEL about said person, place or thing? WTH?
Yup, that is exactly what I am saying. Here, let me dish you up some chocolate ice cream… it realty won’t make you feel any better but it makes me feel better to give people chocolate ice cream! Wait… What? I am doing something because it makes ME FEEL HAPPY? Yeah I’m funny that way.
You mean to tell me that you wouldn’t allow me the opportunity to BE HAPPY and simply accept my gift, such as it is, with a smile and a hearty, “thank you”. How could YOU ruin such a beautiful moment for me? What a cruel and inhumane thing for you to pop my balloon, sabotage my joy and downright hurt me! Fink! Rat fink! Double rat fink! I… I… (pardon me whilst I run into the other room, fling myself dramatically upon my bed and bawl my eyes out).
Hey, you left me here sobbing like a drama queen without even so much as a ‘there, there, there’ or the ubiquitous ‘it’s going to be okay’ or the obligatory “I’m sorry, Annette, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
Good for you! You get it now don’t you? Since my emotional reactions are completely and totally my responsibility, you owe me none of those comments. Though it may make YOU HAPPY to deliver them, whether or not I accept them can have no influence upon your happiness. It is up to ME to decide to get over the egregious action (or lack thereof) allow my emotions to have their moment and carry on with my life. Once I have set the offending energy free, I can do whatever it takes to get back to the role of owning and creating MY OWN HAPPINESS!
Basically, HAPPINESS is a CHOICE. It is a reaction to stimuli that we have told ourselves to have and that is where the POWER of HAPPINESS exists. By owning the choice to be HAPPY, we let everyone and everything around us off the proverbial hook. Imagine a world in which our HAPPINESS is not based on being accepted for our looks, clothing, beliefs, deeds, financial status or health. Imagine a life of increasing HAPPINESS because we release the expectations and raise our standards. Imagine how the power of determining said standards leads to deeper fulfillment and inevitable HAPPINESS. Wow, they surely don’t teach this stuff in school, do they? Well, they do but you have to take a few psychology courses and even then you may need some life experience to get a good grasp. After all, a great theory is only proven great via practical application and truth is only true for us if we believe.
*disclaimer: no emotions were hurt during the creation of this post, duty is in the mind of the beholder
But the hostage heart’s folly
©2016 Annette Rochelle Aben