Are You Truly Happy? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself
Are you happy with your life — with who you are as a person and where you are in your life? I’ve been giving my happiness an exorbitant amount of thought lately. Actually, I’ve been giving it exorbitant amounts of thought ever since my boyfriend Matthew passed away in December. I want to ensure that I am happy and if I’m not, I’m taking the necessary steps to arrive at happiness. Don’t you think everyone deserves it — true, actual happiness? I definitely do.
But for reasons elusive to logic, it seems cultivating happiness is easier said than done. How many times have you thought, If I just have that, I’ll be happy; This one thing will make me content; When this is done, I’ll feel complete. I am guilty, just as I’m sure you are, but by now you’ve probably learned the truth about that mindset. Not only is it not sustainable, it’s also plain unrealistic and ultimately, disappointing.
There is good news, however. You have agency over your life, over your own happiness, and so at any point, you are allowed to take a step back and reevaluate. Such evaluations are what led me to quitting my full-time, in-office job, to making a move back home, and to meeting the man I wanted to marry. Such evaluations have come in handy now in the aftermath. I’ve decided to return to school, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton. I bought a car, changed my living space, let go of friendships and relationships that no longer suited me.
If you think you may not be tapping into your full happiness potential, keep reading for five pertinent questions to ask yourself. The answers will be telling and might just help you change your situation to one that will potentially bring you the most organic happiness.
(Photo Credit: Alisa Anton)
What gives me true joy?
Chances are — and of course, I could be wrong — you’re not going to answer “finance” or “the office.” True joy is different for everyone but pinpointing it is crucial. Meaningful relationships, my pup, nature, and literature (both reading it and writing it) give me true joy. Defining what truly matters to you, what brings you real joy, is crucial to figuring out how to harness your passions.
Which relationships are the most important to me?
Identify the people (maybe even animals!) and relationships that are authentic, vulnerable, and genuine. Who is most important to you? Who has always listened to you, supported you, and has moved forward with your best interests in mind? Meaningful relationships are necessary to feeling happy. How can we feel happy if we simultaneously feel alone and/or lonely?
What have I always wanted to do but haven’t and why?
If you learned that your life was going to end in X amount of time, where would your mind wander to? Would it travel to the things you’ve always wanted to do or accomplish but haven’t yet? Identify what’s stopping you from doing them. Once you recognize the roadblocks, you can start taking steps to eliminating them.
What is the greatest accomplishment of my life to date?
Most likely, citing your life’s greatest work doesn’t seem possible yet. I’m 25 and I can’t even begin to think about what my greatest accomplishment could be. It feels like I haven’t even started yet, haven’t even accomplished anything worthy of being a life’s work. If you can’t pinpoint the greatest accomplishment of your life to date, or maybe find it trivial, let your mind wander to what could be your life’s greatest accomplishment? To date, mine is both graduating college and getting accepted into graduate school. Hopefully, I will die with a greater life accomplishment than higher education, but at least identifying it has helped me target what my life’s accomplishment could be: publishing a book.
What is my purpose in life?
What is it? Why are you here? What can you do that no one else can? What was the point of your life? It may be one of life and philosophy’s most difficult questions to answer but it is certainly an important one. People with purpose are happier; people with purpose transcend obstacles in ways that people without purpose could not.