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My Own Happiness Project

Are you happy?

I’ve had this question posed to me. I’ve asked it of others. In some cases, people have suggested to me that life isn’t about being happy. (Frankly, at the risk of seeming judgmental, their lives didn’t appear very happy, which is what prompted me to ask the question.) The idea that life is what it is and we just have to accept it can be found in any number of people. On the other hand, I am also struck by those who seem to think happiness is something they are entitled to, that others are responsible for providing to them.

Recently, while listening to a scholarly discussion on the radio (and being momentarily distracted by how not scholarly I really am) I was reminded that the pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence. While the “inalienable right” thing probably has the entitled folks patting themselves on the back, in my opinion, the key word is “pursuit.”

We have the right to pursue happiness. It’s not just the acceptance of happiness bestowed upon us by others. It’s not just sitting around waiting for happiness to show up and surprise us. It’s active. It’s pursuit. Picture Will Smith in Bad Boys 2 or any number of the Fast & Furious movies. It’s a heart-thumping, all-in, quest-like chase.

When I picture myself or the community members I serve living a truly flourishing life, I and they are happy. There are bumps in the road and a few less than stellar moments, but happiness prevails. I am in control of that. I haven’t ceded control to the random circumstances that may take a shot at my day. I get to dig deep and courageously commit myself to doing the daily work that I may need to do to build a habit of happiness. Admittedly, some days may be easier than others, but happiness remains my project.

Comment and share – I’d love to hear!

To accomplish our vision of a society where all individuals are safe and can flourish, the programs, services, and decision making at all levels of A Woman’s Place are rooted in and guided by the following values: Courage, Creativity, Equality, Integrity, Respect, and Social Justice.
*excerpt from the Values Statement of A Woman’s Place

Ifeoma U. Aduba
Executive Director

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