Melanie Sheppard.

The Pursuit of Happiness

The Pursuit of Happiness

 

As published on Thrive Global 1st September 2017

Kneeling on the tiled shower floor, I lean forward and press my face into the palm of my hands. A rumbling wave of emotion erupts from deep within as warm salty tears pour from my eyes. As my body convulses, I gasp for air and sob uncontrollably. The steaming hot water stings my skin leaving it red and tender. This depth of sadness is a familiar place I have visited many times before. There is no defining incident that can explain why I feel so desperately unhappy. If there were, it would be easy to reconcile and fix. The sadness is without name or invitation. It is an unwelcome guest that invades my body without notice.

The emotion dissipates as quickly as it arrived and my breathing slowly returns to normal. I scrub my body in an attempt to remove the dark energy that has attached itself to my skin. Leaving the shower I rub my hand over the now opaque mirror and staring back at me is a person I no longer recognize. Her bloodshot eyes are lifeless. This woman is familiar but at the same time so foreign. “Who are you?” I ask myself.

This routine had become common in my life. Through the day I was confidant, outgoing and upbeat. But behind closed doors I was broken. I had lost all sense of myself and detested the life I had created.

For most of my life I had always felt that there was something missing. I had restlessness inside of me and an insatiable desire for betterment.  From the outside I had everything I needed - the family, the job, the stuff. But the reality was that I was an empty vessel floating through life without anything to anchor me.

What I wanted seemed simple enough - I just wanted to be happy. I wanted to live a life of purpose and fulfillment. I wanted to be a person whose company I enjoyed and not this robotic form that I had become.  

And so I commenced a journey in pursuit of happiness.

I spent time with people that were happy. I read books about happiness, watched movies, and listened to songs. I took long walks along the beach, I meditated, and I played with my dog. I did everything I could to surround myself with events and people that would uplift my soul until I found the piece that was missing from my life. What was it that all of these happy people possessed that I was missing?

What I learnt was that the source of happiness lies within all of us. It is easily accessible when we know how to find it. So powerful is its affect that it touches the lives of everyone it comes into contact with leaving them wrapped in a cloud of euphoric bliss. The source of happiness lies within all of us. Quite simply, it is love.

John Lennon sung the words, “All you need is love”. He repeated this one sentence over and over again because in its simplicity comes the most precious message. Regardless of whom we are, where we live, our age, our sex, our race, at the core of every interaction lies a desire to love and be loved. Therefor, love must be our driving force.  I wondered, what would happen if I raised the consciousness of my need to love and be loved? What if I removed my fear around love and lived my life with raw vulnerability? What would happen if I openly loved every single person I met rather than waited for them to prove themselves worthy?

I can openly admit that I need love and by accepting this as a normal human condition and not some kind of flaw in my character, I attract that love. Whether it through my children, my family, my friends or even the love I feel from my fur baby, there is now an abundance of love in my life. It energizes me; it validates me and connects me to a higher purpose.   

The need for love lies at the very core of our human existence. It is the rock on which we build the meaning to our life as our loved ones become the mirrors in which we see ourselves. Through love we evolve to eventually become the greatest version of ourselves.

The woman crying in the shower was me and rather than feeling disjointed from her, I now love and nurture her. I am proud of her because she got me to where I am today. A woman who has been brave enough to stand up and say, “This life is not good enough.” She took a difficult and confronting journey only to be rewarded with the ultimate gift. Happiness.

 

 

 

 

 

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