I Dare You to Define Happiness

Being happy is incredibly intriguing. There is no one thing that makes us all happy, different moments in life instill a feeling of happiness within us and I would like to take the chance here to talk about what makes me happy and how it is connected to my stutter.

Let’s start off with some things that make us all think of happiness: being in love, spending time with your families, winning a game (sports, board, electronic, or imaginary), getting that big promotion at work, or finding out that you are the true heir to the Oh Henry candy bar fortune. For me it is all of these things, but also speaking fluently. Actually, very often, speaking fluently brings me more happiness than whatever Mr.Henry’s (Mr Oh Henry? The Oh Henry Family?) fortune is actually worth.

Now, don’t get me wrong, a large part of my happiness stems from being in love, spending time with my families, and having general successes in life. But what I would like to expose you all to is the idea that something that many take for granted (speaking fluently) quite often puts a huge smile on my face (or at least emits that feeling throughout my neurons or whatever).

There are times when I am having a casual conversation with someone, maybe a friend or coworker, doesn’t matter who really, and my speech is less than fluent. Getting tripped up on what seems like every word and having a hard time getting my point across can be incredibly deflating. On the other end of the spectrum, meeting someone for the first time and telling them where I am from and where I went to school without any verbal hiccups brings me to a point of elation. Let me write a little formula out for you to try and explain where the happiness comes from: hearing a joke at work + laughing about it + thinking that you want to tell it to your friends + fearing that you are going to stutter on the punch line and thus making it one of those ‘unfunny’ jokes + telling the joke + nailing the punch line + hearing people laugh = right side and left side of my brain engaging in a metaphorical chest bump followed by some solid touchdown grooves (à la CFL).

What I am really trying to accomplish here is to make two points. The first point is that I am able to achieve so much happiness from something that can also cause me so much frustration and deflation, and I think that is really important. If we can pull some form of joy out of something that makes us sad, angry, or frustrated then we appreciate the happiness so much more, or at least I do. The second point, which I urge you all to pick up and run as fast as you can with, is that different things make each of us happy, and sure some of those things may be scary or intimidating, but why not embrace those things? I, for one, used to hate public speaking, scared to death of it, I always felt like my stutter was being put on display for others to judge. Only recently have I started speaking more in public, to actual large groups of people, and that fear that I used to have is trumped time and time again by the sheer joy and pride I have in myself when I am done and have accomplished something that once scared me. So whatever it is that you think might make you happy, whether it is scary, challenging, against social norms, or whatever, just get out there and not only do it but enjoy every single second of it because when we skip out on the little things that make us happy then all we have left to hope for is to get that call from the lawyers at Oh Henry headquarters.


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