I Just Want to Be Happy

Nearly every person I’ve ever served has expressed the sentiment, “I just want to be happy.” Some speak these words with frustration and others with consternation. The really whiny folks get my ire as I have no tolerance for self pity. Regardless of how it’s said, my most common response is to simply ask,

“Ok, and what do you need in order to be happy?”

Rarely do I get a reasonable response to this question. Mostly I get blank stares. Now, it’s ok not to know this in this moment what would make you happy but if you keep not knowing, that’s a choice.

Happiness itself is a choice. It’s not a lasting condition and it certainly isn’t a place we arrive at and remain. It’s largely a product of attitude and gratitude and a bunch of other clichéd (but true) shit that nobody really wants to listen to because it all sounds too simple, yet unattainable.

So…how about this:
– Happiness results from eliminating self defeating behavior and getting out of your own way.
– It’s wrapped in things you think are taboo or otherwise too inhibited to try.
– It’s what happens when you release baggage (by resolving inner conflicts and letting go of pain)
– It occurs when you pack a bag and go to new places (adventures!)
– It comes from choosing not to be a victim and not to be passive in your own life
– It comes from saying, “fuck it” to what is expected of you and choosing what you truly want
– It comes from accepting that you’re not going to lose those extra pounds and deciding that you’re sexy anyway.
– It comes from asking good people very simply and directly for what you want and need
– It comes from music (quick – check your playlist – is it depressing shit?)
– It comes from realizing that if you’re bored then you’re not investing in yourself.
– It comes from freedom. Too many of us are killing ourselves to feel good enough.
– It comes from serving others and promoting their happiness.
– It comes from better sex than you’re having now.
– It comes with friendship, great food, dancing, creating, expression and laughing your ass off.

I’ve been saying for years that I want a prescription pad so I can prescribe:

– More fun
– Massage therapy
– Masturbation (seriously!)
– New experiences
– Better food
– Taking at least a holiday from alcohol
– Journaling/blogging/painting/drawing/singing

Bottom line: Saying, “I just want…” is bullshit. No one has ever thought or wished their way into a better life. Get out. Get around people. Netflix will still be there when you get home.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.