I struggled to write this post, so forgive me if it seems clumsy. Today is International Day of Happiness 2015 and I wanted to share the story of how I 'got happy'.
A few years ago happiness didn't feel like an option for me. It was some wild concept so far from my reach that I may as well forget it and focus on being ok, on managing my extreme emotions and coasting through life. That was the best I could hope for. Or so I thought. Looking back on it now it was a desperately sad state of affairs.
There was no one moment when I decided to 'get happy'. It happened gradually, over time, and with a concerted, yet unconscious, amount of effort. However, there was a catalyst. Running.
I've written a lot about about how running can be a lightbulb moment, the moment when a person realises what they're made of. Sometimes I write these pieces as an outsider looking in, but really I'm telling my story. When I started running my world started opening up.
I used to say 'I can't' a lot. New situations were overwhelming so I thought it best not to challenge myself. I aimed to be 'ordinary', uninteresting, mediocre. I wanted to be safe. When you're used to your feelings running wild and out of control that's a pretty attractive prospect. Which is a shame because it's limiting. You risk felling your potential. You risk regret in exchange for numbness. You will never deliver to the world what you're supposed to give. You're probably not going to be happy.
Happiness is both complex and simple. Action for Happiness explain it best, so I'll spare you clumsy explanations and direct you here to explore the 10 keys to happier living. It's fair there've been times in my life these keys have been absent, it's also fair to say I've found every one of them through running.
Running has opened the world to me. It's helped me realise that 'I can'. It changed me in to a person who is curious, who wants to push their limits, who wants to see what they can do. It makes me feel good. I am equally utterly satisfied and continuously striving to improve. My clumsy thoughts on this subject can only express this as pleasing. Pleasing.
By allowing running in to my life I've been given the keys to happiness. I'd written off happiness. I'd thought that feeling wasn't an option for me. To be given a chance to experience something different is the type of overwhelming you can't explain. It sticks in your chest and chokes you up.
What makes you happy?