Are You Happy?
Apr 11, 2023

Peter Chindewe
Core Spirit member since Mar 21, 2023
Reading time 4 min.

Are You Happy?

Somebody just fired that question at me a year ago. It was a simple question. It still is! And my first answer was “YES!” in capital letters. That’s what most people would do, right?
But in a way, I think I missed the real question. Not just because I uttered the answer without thinking. It’s because they repeated it a couple of times.
I believed I was happy. I told myself I was happy. Anyone could see I was always jovial, a smile never left my face. Why would they ask me that?
What was it that they saw? It had to be something. Or do we need to have a certain certification to show happiness? The more I pondered about it, the more that question pissed me off. Nobody should ask me whether I’m happy or not. It’s my business and mine alone, Jeez!

· ** Don’t be enslaved by the captivity of negativity! -Cole Pfeifer**

In a way, I might say I had it coming. The question wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was an eye opener. But I ignored it.
Everything was okay. I had no reason not to be happy. That’s what I told myself!
Until one day when I caught my reflection in a mirror. It was quite a shock to see the unrecognizable man staring back at me. I thought it was somebody else at first. Until it sank in, that it really was me. I looked worse for wear.
My first thought was; “What happened to me?”
Physically I was okay. There was no sign of illness. Now what was it that was slowly eating at me like a disease?
Instantly, that question from a year ago resounded in my brain; “Peter, Are You Happy?”
Not really, I wasn’t happy. Not the way I was living my life. I had a lot to be thankful for but I didn’t see no joy in any of it. My goal was to live like the man next door. To get whatever I want at the flick of a finger. I wanted a job that paid well. I feared death was going to take a sick loved one. I hated my job. I lived with people I thought didn’t really want to see me prosper.
My list of reasons not to be happy was endless!
To pile on to that, something in the immediate future caused me sleepless nights. Where am I going to be tomorrow? How stupid am I going to look if I don’t achieve my dreams?
The institution I worked for kept making loses. It was obvious we were going to close. It was just a matter of time. The fear of joblessness crawled at my insides like a vulture every night. I was afraid I’d die and leave my loved ones alone. I was afraid my life wasn’t going to get better!
I wouldn’t have looked good on the cover of get slim quick magazine. Kill yourself slowly magazine maybe!
Are you happy?
A simple question with a deep meaning. I wasn’t happy. I was stuck in a loop, where I saw everything from a negative angle. But Cole Pfeifer in the Prison Break TV series said in one episode, “Do be enslaved by the captivity of negativity. We are living in prisons of our own creation.”
Indeed, I had been a captive of my own negative thinking. I realized had to change my thinking. There was a lot I had to be happy for. And yet I found no reason to at least acknowledge that. It had to change. Why was I putting myself through such torture?
A prison of my own creation!

· ** One Today is Worth Two Tomorrows. – Benjamin Franklin.**

My health is important. I didn’t have to waste it worrying about things that weren’t guaranteed. I woke up one day and guess what? I’d gotten fired. The loved one I was so concerned about died.
All that negativity, for what?
I’d made my life a living hell. And the things I feared ended up happening anyways. What if I’d appreciated my lousy job? Imagine if I’d spent more time enjoying the loved one’s company. I wouldn’t have lost precious time, energy and my own health. And to imagine it all because of things that were out of my control.
Benjamin Franklin was right: One Today is Worth Two Tomorrows. It would have been better if I’d enjoyed each day as it came. Worrying about the future didn’t help me. I’m in the so called future now. And guess what? I’m still worrying about another tomorrow! I don’t even know if I’ll get there.
I do not mean it is bad to think about tomorrow. It is good to plan for the future. And our plans can only take us so far. It’s up to us to act on them. But we don’t have to forget to be happy. Marcus Aurelius said something that resonates with what I learned the hard way. He said, “Remember this, that very little is needed to make a happy life.”
I realized that my focus was much on what I didn’t have. More than what I had. It was yearning that made me have mood swings like the weather. But really, all I needed was to enjoy each day as it came. I’m still trying to change my thinking. I’m still trying to live each day as if it’s my last, because it could be.

Leave your comments / questions

Afsheen Shah2023-04-13 15:40 UTC

Yes, it is so important to focus on the positive and let the negativity go.

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