How To Be Happy

I’m not happy all the time. I’m just happy a lot. When I’m not happy, I know how to spark and sustain happiness for myself.


The preceding sentence is a significant statement.


It’s significant because I did not know how to be happy five or six years ago. I did not know being happy takes practice. I didn’t know that, for a pretty huge number of people, happiness really does take a LOT of practice. I did not know learning to be happy meant unlearning covert habits that generated fairly persistent unhappiness. Like many, many other people in the world, over the course of my life, I’ve been bullied, suffered abuse, and experienced successive losses that made sadness, anxiety, and eventually, chronic depression, constant companions to my consciousness.


So, when I say I’m happy a lot and I know how to spark and sustain happiness for myself, it’s a big deal. It’s really good news.


The great news is I can teach you how to be happy too. So, here is the question of the hour:



Do you know how to be happy?



If not, here are some steps (caution —> these steps work by faith, not by sight…you have to believe it to see it, not the other way around):


Wait. Let me back up.


Before we get to the steps, let’s start with the opposite of happiness so we can understand what we’re working with. Let’s start with sadness, then get to happiness.


Sadness is a unique, distinct emotion. It’s not frustration. It’s not irritation. It’s not despair. All of these energies are different from sadness.


Here’s a definition —> Sadness is the absence of, or detachment from, happiness. (Just like despair is the absence of, or detachment from, joy).


Here’s another definition —> Happiness is incidental contentment. It’s a moment of pleasure brought on by a happening. It’s happenstance. Happiness is about moments.


We most easily recognize the presence of happiness in physical bursts such as laughing, singing, smiling, snapping, crying, and clapping. Happiness can also be signified by breathing, jumping, running, and dancing (and lots of other things).


Keep this in mind.


Now, back to sadness.


For the purposes of this post, let’s say there are two types of sadness: momentary and monumental.


Momentary sadness happens when we perceive or imagine a little loss. This sadness is often about absence or lack. It comes from perceptions of poverty. It’s what happens when you think there’s not enough of something: Not enough love, not enough time, not enough money, not enough attention.


So, when you feel sad because:

  • the guy doesn’t call
  • you failed the test
  • you missed the deadline
  • you can’t pay the bill
  • you don’t like your boss
  • you lost something important


A solution is to think BIGGER.




Practically, this means scaling back and up in your imagination so that you’re rising and gaining territory in your vision. Grow. Go big and far away from your perception and circumstances. Meditate on the BIGGER picture of your life as a lover (there will be another guy), a student (there will be more tests), and as a producer-worker-artist (there will be more projects and more deadlines). Meditate on the BIGGER picture of your life as an economic force (you can, and will, find another job and make more money), an employee or consultant (you can be assigned another boss or say farewell to her/him and start your own thing), and as a collector of goods (you’ll get more stuff…there’s lots of stuff in the world). After you meditate on the ABUNDANCE that’s available (try starting with the room you’re in and noticing everything that’s in it…keep going by noticing the building or park you’re in, then the neighborhood…then the town, go for the state), scale back even more. Include more vision in your perspective until you’re considering the gamut of the universe and all its abundance. Go big and far away…scale baaaaaack. In your embrace of abundance and BIGNESS and more-than-enough, you’ll gain perspective on that thing that made you momentarily sad. You’ll also gain access to so many people, places, and things that make you momentarily, and eventually, semi-permanently, happy.


Go ahead. Try it.


Monumental sadness happens when we perceive or imagine a BIG loss. This sadness is often about the worst type of abundance. It’s about feeling overwhelmed. It’s what happens when we think there’s too much of something: Too much distance, too much arguing, too much failure, too much rejection, too much loneliness. Too much time wasted. Too much debt.


So, when you feel sad because:

  • someone you love literally died
  • you have to file for bankruptcy
  • you’re getting a divorce
  • you lost one of your closest, oldest friends
  • you got a scary diagnosis


A solution is to think small.


Think less; that’s best.


Practically, this means scale forward and down in your imagination so that you’re letting go of territory in your vision. Shrink. Go small and close. Meditate on the smallest picture of your life as a daughter, sister, friend, mother, and lover (you were blessed to have that day, that hour, that moment of laughter together). Meditate on what happened for you, not to you in that last position (focus in on the way you closed that deal, finalized that project, participated on that team). Meditate on the parts of your body that are whole and functional (hone in on your skin, the bone beneath it, the blood coursing through your veins, the bone marrow, the platelets….see if you can think about the atoms and their nuclei). Zone in on the least operative variable. In your embrace of minimalism and smallness and tininess, you’ll gain perspective on that thing that made you monumentally sad. You’ll also gain access to so many people, places, and things that make you monumentally, and eventually, semi-permanently, happy. Go ahead. Try this too.


Thinking BIG and thinking small are only two of many simple, quick methods that can be practiced regularly in the quest for happiness. There are others. You can be happy.


Don’t let anyone take that away from you.


You can be a Supreme Lover too.


If you want to learn more about Supreme Love and your dominant and/or subordinate Lover Identity, be in touch. I am here to serve women in anchored ascendency.





Jeanine Staples is Associate Professor of Literacy and Language & African American Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Her book, The Revelations of Asher: Toward Supreme Love in Self, is an endarkened feminist new literacies event (Peter Lang, spring 2016). In it, she explores Black women’s terror in love. She produces research-based courses and methodologies that enable marginalized girls and women to realize internal revelations that fuel external revolutions.

Dr. Staples’ next book details the evolution of her acclaimed undergraduate course, The Philadelphia Urban Seminar. In it, she explores Supreme Love in schools. She shows how she generates curriculum and methodologies that incite anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-ableist pedagogical stances among teachers interested in urban education and equity for all people in schools and society.