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I enjoy reading Dr. Perry’s MakeItUltra blog. His goal of “less perfection and more connection” is sound advice for our imperfect and often disconnected world. My blog focuses on self-reflection and how truly knowing oneself can assist in repairing damage from the past and help us live more meaningfully in the present. You can find my posts at https://luannewrites.com/

How to Be Happy According to Walt Whitman

Beautiful landscape shot of cow on hill in foreground and mountains in backgroundPhoto by Ales Krivec on Unsplash

“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks.” – Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Half Empty, Half Full


“Are you happy?”

It’s not a question that someone recently asked me, but rather the one I ask myself on a regular basis. 

When I’m working uninterrupted at my computer, I’m happy. When I’m sharing a delicious meal with loved ones, or receiving good news, I’m happy. There are obviously people and circumstances that evoke happiness within us.  

In contrast, there are people and circumstances who induce anything but happiness.  

So, emotions are transient; they change with any given day and situation. 

However, I’m talking about the overarching view of our experiences; a more existential perspective like “What is the meaning of life?” Or, more specifically, “Does my life have meaning?”

Like everyone else, I’ve faced challenges along the way. Some people have endured far more than me, and others not nearly as much: 

  • Two decades in a toxic marriage, but I did get out.
  • Always yearning for the college degree that I gave up, and finally graduating in 2013.
  • Putting my ailing father in a nursing home, where he lasted nine months.
  • Mustering the courage to leave the familiar to pursue something better, only to  realize the value of familiar, while redefining better.

Thinking back over these difficulties, I will say that the outcomes were positive. Or were they?

Some people might focus on all the lost years and missed opportunities, which culminated in my current situation. I’m no longer gainfully employed, have no assets, and are attempting a new beginning.

What I do have is my health, people who care about me, and the belief that good things eventually come to those who wait, work, and believe.

If we obsess about the level of the water instead of celebrating the glass, we lose the ability to recognize happiness in any amount.

So, maybe happiness is really just perspective. After all, there will always be bumps in the road. But, how we view those bumps and navigate that road ultimately determines our destination. 


Discover Challenge: Tough Questions