The Truth Behind Happiness

The truth behind happiness, you ask?

*Drum roll please!*

Struggle.

Counting Crows said it best in their song Big Yellow Taxi (where my 90’s babies at?),

“You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”

Don’t worry; this isn’t a depressing article about loss — rather, a refreshing one that brings clarity and ease to challenging situations. You know, the situations that make us feel a bit uneasy. Your stomach is kind of unsettled, but it’s not from food. Your chest feels light from equal parts of overwhelm and excitement of the unknown, but you still feel as if you’re going to pass out.

To add some context to this perspective, let me take you back to its birth a couple weeks ago…

I was in a bit of a funk, scrolling through Instagram stories, trying to discount the uneasiness I was experiencing — the self-imposed pressure I was putting on myself about my path, goals, and next steps to continue growing and evolving into my true self was crippling me. It felt like a hole of negativity that I couldn’t pull myself out of.

I tried working out, reading, writing, going outside, hanging with people, working, practicing gratitude… you name it, I tried it.

But to my surprise, it was social media that started to pull me out of that hole (paradoxical, I know) and I soon found myself comforted. As I was watching my daily dose of “reality TV” as I like to call it (aka “stories”), I found several people were posting quotes or words of encouragement that seemed to have stemmed from a tough time, just as I was experiencing in that moment.

I felt less alone.

Now, I know we need to take the good days with the bad and trust that everything is happening for a reason, but while we’re in the thick of it, experiencing the “bad,” it’s definitely easier said than done to believe that.

Maybe I noticed these specific posts because it’s what I was attracting or seeking out. Maybe they have always been in front of me but I was just noticing them because I was ready to see and properly digest them. Regardless of why, the comfort in their presence made me realize two things:

  1. It’s important for us to not only recognize when we’re feeling “off,” but to have the ability to express it in a way that lifts others up rather than bring them down with us. I decided to stay quiet about my funk because I couldn’t find a good way to express it, while those that I follow seemed to give me the exact words I needed to hear. We never know what other people are going through, so acting with compassion and love are always a good idea.
  2. When we experience what we do not want, we are given the opportunity to learn what we do want. We have the choice to turn our focus towards those thoughts that make us feel good and bring us to a happier state.

“Every situation in life is temporary. So when life is good, make sure you enjoy and receive it fully. And when life is not so good, remember that it will not last forever and better days are on the way.”

To fully support that quote, two hours after I drafted this piece in my phone, I was overjoyed by a surprise visit from my parents for the weekend, which caused a 180-degree shift in my energy.

“Give yourself permission to feel your negative emotions. We can’t truly release something unless we are willing to embrace it first”

I attribute the cause of this surprise to just that — when I allowed myself to accept that state of unhappiness and struggle as a lesson rather than a dramatic state of life, I opened myself up to heal, directing my focus to a desired state of love and happiness, which I soon received.

Just think… it’s equally important for us to know what we don’t want in order for us to clear the path for what we do want. So next time you’re in a funk, how would you feel if you shifted your focus to your desired state of being, giving the Universe space to respond and then provide you with something better?