I need (______) to be Happy! (Fill in the blank).

The United States Declaration of Independence , postulates Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” as three examples of the “unalienable rights” given to all human beings by our “creator”, and which governments are in turn “created” to protect. My quotation marks alone can start many fiery conversations, but lets put aside my issues with the statement that these rights are given to us by A creator and lets focus on Happiness.

Such a pretty word. Such a strong word. And such an abstract word for sure. Abstract because this word will most likely embody many different things depending on the individual that speaks it, questions it or feels it. “Happy Birthday” songs, “Happy Holidays” salutations and “Happy Friday” consolations. Three simplistic usages for a far too complex word.

Right now, before you continue reading, set aside all your preconceived notions, society’s imposed expectations or what your parents conditioned you to believe….

What is HAPPINESS to you? Dig deep and question everything. What will make you happy? Truly happy! Have you ever experienced happiness? Or did you just believe you were happy? Do you have a list of things that must happen in order to claim happiness? If you do (hey, we all do), look on that list and ask yourself exactly why that particular item is needed for your happiness.

One item that seems to comes up in bountiful proportions is the need of a partner to be happy. Man, woman, gay or straight, everyone seems to be looking for someone. People expend much of their energy and financial resources in this pursuit, all for the sake of this supposed or imposed “happiness”. Sure, some may say “easy for you to dismiss as quotation mark trivial since you’re married with kids….twice”. I can without a shadow of a doubt tell you that it is exactly because of this that I can. Well, correction…. I’m not dismissing it as much as stating that thinking that your happiness will reveal itself because of a partner is as fantastical as my beloved obsession with all things Tinkerbell. It’s a sweet childhood idea, but nowhere near the real deal.

I have learned, through life’s trials and errors, through ups and downs, that happiness can only be found from within oneself, and no exterior being… be it a partner, children, friends, family, or even a “creator” can GIVE you your happiness or give you the formula for it. They can love you, shower you with attention, build you up, keep you company and make you laugh daily, and you will still be missing the main ingredient to find your happiness. We watch fallen celebrities and wonder “how could this happen to them, they had it all?” We watch insta-famous women posting up their pretty color coordinated family pics and then read their sad captions. We listen to that neighbor on the news expressing shock about the nice, religious well-rounded family next door that seemed happy before they snapped.

As I was writing this article, I come across a video circulating on FB (I’m sure it’s gone viral by now). I’m not a fangirl, but who can resist clicking on a Will Smith video? And there he was, in all his salt and pepper beautiful glory (okay, maybe a little fangirl) expressing out loud exactly what I was already writing up.

Words are powerful, and I’ll admit humbly that some celebrities have more of an impact expressing depth than others. Call me a literary martyr, but I’m willing to sacrifice my written words as long as it benefits the masses… for now at least. With that said, if you choose to not believe me when I, beyond doubt, state that happiness cannot and will not  come from a relationship, even a great one; then listen to the words of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air here.

Whether you’re hearing it from a famous multi-millionaire or reading it from a humble middle class woman like myself, it’s still and will always be sound and necessary advice… find out who YOU are, get to know yourself, your likes, your dislikes, what makes you tick, what makes your heart skip a beat, what calms you, what fires you up, what you look forward to, what you’re good at, what motivates you, what distracts you. Don’t bottle it up. Let it out. Being selfish is NOT selfish. Whether you trust Will Smith or someone like myself, whether you relate more to him or to someone like me is irrelevant (meaning; it doesn’t matter).

What does matter? YOU. Then you can bring the best of you, the happiest of you to everyone else.

— The Pretty Platform


14 thoughts on “You + More You = Happiness

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I think it is something that is often overlooked, but to make YOUR happiness your partner’s responsibility is just not a good idea. They will always let you down, because no one is perfect. Happiness is a choice and it has to come from you. I’m totally here for the self care movement of 2018!


  2. This is a great piece! I wonder how society would be different if we all acted according to what our bodies and mind told us was needed, versus acting based on what we think society says we need. I am trying to get better at listening to myself, but I wasn’t always in that mindset. Thanks for the reminder! Also – Will Smith was my first celebrity crush, so I understand the fan girl moment 😊


  3. You raise some really important and thought-provoking points here. We all have different definitions of happiness, and I think for some of us (me at least!) that definition of happiness changes, too. So in order to understand what brings us joy, and keep up with those changing preferences, we need to take time to think about our values, likes, dislikes etc. Thanks for sharing!


  4. What a great idea to have people really think about what happiness means to them as individuals. I think many people chase what they think happiness is supposed to be.



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