Everyone wants a fairytale-style happy ending, right? Everything turns out as planned, for the best, everyone’s happy, dreams are achieved. Movies are great at creating the perfect happy ending, against all odds, where it all just “comes together” in the closing scene.
In real life we too want happy endings, our dreams achieved, challenges overcome, happiness secured. However, real life is not the same as a movie; we have two big stumbling blocks:
How do you define happy?
When exactly is the ending?
Happiness tends to be far more complicated and elusive in real life than in a movie. Nothing is ever really perfect; there will always be some lingering issue or concern. The stuff the characters presumably have to deal after the credits roll and the movie theatre gets cleaned up ready for the next showing.
And what is an ending in our lives? The end of the week, the month, the holiday, the wedding, the big event…?
Maybe we need to let go of the concept of a happy ending, especially when it comes to our goals and dreams. Maybe the burden of a happy ending is weighing heavily on our minds and, as it can never really be achieved in life (as the only real ending is death), it can make us feel that we haven’t achieved our dreams.
Or worse, we do achieve them, but have some expectation that they are going to deliver some change that never materialises.
An ending suggests something is finished – done, complete. But in life, we are never finished, done and complete – we go on, we wake up the day after our “happy ending” and have to get on with the day to day details of our lives, some of which hardly seem appropriate to the happy ending we’ve just achieved.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the concept of happy endings is that we believe the external achievement will drive an internal change. That the happy ending will make a big difference to how we feel about ourselves and the world around us.
Aiming for a goal is great, having dreams are brilliant, I’m a huge advocate of this. I’ve achieved so many of my own personal goals and dreams, but I’ve also learned that some of the expectations I placed on the achievement of such goals didn’t deliver the internal change that I was hoping for.
We hope that when we hit a target weight we will feel better, when we get the job we really want everything will fall into place, when we have the bank balance we’ve always dreamed of, or the car or the house…
These are all external changes, life achievements. Important of course, but external.
Happiness is not external, it is a state of mind, which requires an internal change, a shift in mind-set. When you can appreciate yourself and find internal happiness with who you are and what you want, you realise that it’s not about happy endings.
It’s accepting your happiness as part of a continuation of exploring your potential and living the life you want to live. Accepting that things don’t always turn out as we want, that there is still hard work to do, and that we will always have the bad days and weeks ahead of us.
Endings are continuous, you’ve just ended another minute, day, month and year of your life, depending on where you mark your calendar. When you realise that life is full of endings, full of beginnings, full of potential, full of happiness and sadness, you realise you can create your happy continuations every single day.
Keep being you, keep being fabulous. Live the life you want, just don’t expect the external to drive your internal happiness.
Image credit: Poodar Chu | stocksnap.io