Recently my husband and I were laying on our bed talking after putting Henry to sleep. We were gushing about how precious he is (seriously a nightly occurrence) and then had a slight pause in the conversation, after which Kyler turned to me and suddenly asked "are you happy?"
That caught me off guard.
I started to think about all of the good things in my life. I have nothing to complain about. Nothing going wrong. No big trials at the moment. I should have quickly said "yes! I am so happy! Life is great." But I hesitated.
Why did I hesitate? Why didn't I give a resounding, positive response?
His question made me realize that I wasn't happy. And as I stopped to think about why I wasn't happy, I realized that it was all of my fault.
I was living below my privilege to be happy. But what does that even mean?
I had all of the perfect ingredients for a beautiful life, but I wasn't bursting with happiness. How come? Simply enough, I was getting caught up in the mundane, every day tasks. I was forgetting the joy and magic of being able to watch my little boy learn and grow. I was focusing on cleaning up messes and doing laundry and mopping floors. I was thinking more about myself instead of others and had stopped serving those around me. The funny part is that I thought I was doing things that would make me happy. I was trying to take a lot of time for myself, and I was trying to priortize "relaxing" every day. (TV time, playing on my phone etc.) I wasn't trying to grow or stretch myself anymore with goals. I was doing the bare minimum I could to get by. And guess what guys- I was unhappy.
I realized I needed help. I needed to have a good, long talk with Heavenly Father and figure out what I need to do in order to feel my full potential of happiness. I am so grateful I did, because He absolutely helped me realize how I needed to change. Every answer will be different for each individual person, and for that I am so grateful. God knows each and every one of us and knows exactly what we each need to do in order to be truly happy. It's definitely a process to put those changes into action and it can take a lot of time, but they make such a huge difference. Men are that they may have joy (2 Nephi 2:25), and God is the path to that kind of lasting joy.
Honestly, even before Kyler's question, I was doing okay. I was living life and having fun at times, and my happiness was decreasing so slightly that I could have lived a long time like that. Bit by bit each day I could have been slowly growing more and more unhappy until 20 years later I was completely dried up and desperate and looking for anything to wake me up again. But why do that? Why not live my full potential of happiness EVERY DAY. Who doesn't want to be as blissfully happy as can be?
Obviously this may not be the answer for everyone when we stop and consider our happiness. Sometimes we need help from the medical and clinical field. Sometimes we need help from our spouses. Occasionally we need an outside change to occur.
But I will tell you one thing. No one else can make you happy. Not your husband or wife, not your children, not your grandchildren, or your neighbor, or your boss, or your church leader. Sure, maybe these people can help a bit, but only YOU can choose to make yourself happy. If you find yourself relying on others to give you happiness, I think you should try talking it out with God, and see what ideas He has for you. Only YOU have the power over yourself. Only YOU can grow and change and receive your full potential for happiness. God will and does help. We just have to listen and then do as He asks.
I am so grateful my husband asked me that question. It's still a day to day progression for me at this moment as old habits die hard, but I am definitely feeling happier each day.
So please, take a moment and ask yourself "am I happy?" You deserve to be truly, completely happy. Stop getting in your way like I was, and make that change. You won't regret it.