oh whelmed

I’ve recently written an article on happiness – what it is (perceived to be) and how to get it. My conclusion (not necessarily the expert’s) is that it isn’t measurable at all. Sometimes we smile for no reason, sometimes we cry for no reason. Sometimes we do both for good reason.

There’s a kind of line, though, that we all have – a barometer so to speak – of what our happiness levels are. Here’s a new concept though.

Have you ever been overwhelmed with emotion? Whether happiness or sadness.

If you can be overwhelmed and certainly underwhelmed, then surely your normal state of being could be described as whelmed?

You see, instead of pursuing that elusive state of happiness even experts are hard-pressed to truly define, how about getting to grips with your individual state of whelm?

What is it? When do you feel just  . . . alive. Not completely flying carpet alive, but alive. When do you feel simply at peace, without worries or expectations or hopes?

I’m trying to define this state, but I’m not going to get it right, so fill in your own terms about what your whelm entails.

Give it some thought, because I truly believe that each person’s unique level of whelm must be telling – and must assist in defining the other, outer reaches of it. By finding your whelm line, you can more easily access the meaning of joy, sadness, excitement, elation, despair and so on – because its uniquely comparative.

I had a friend who was never over or under whelmed. I watched her receive the most beautiful diamond ring, with just the merest hint of a smile and the comment, ‘oh, that’s nice.’ I also went with her to witness an area steeped in poverty and despair, and there was no mouth movement, just a mere, ‘this isn’t nice’. I’m yet to see her move from her constant state of whelm.

But we’re all different. Some of us have whelm states that shift and change daily like hyperactive bipolar bunnies, while others are more  Eeyore-like sloths, changing position only once in a while.

But whatever it is, it is there and I do think it’s important to assess that state, so you can fully enjoy and experience and learn from the under and over times. It also helps, I imagine, to give you a sense of being okay in this world – whether you’re constantly surrounded by a whirlpool of movement, happenings and people, or you’re mostly alone in a silent space.

So, at the risk of ruining one of Jimi Hendrix’s more provocative lines, ‘are you  . . . whelmed, have you ever been . . . whelmed’?

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