Everyone loves happiness. We aspire to find that ‘happy place’ inside that’s warm and fuzzy. Yet, life is sometimes uncomfortable and cold. It seems the more discomfort we face, the more we strive to be happy. The result isn’t what we crave, though. Just as no two days are alike, our mindsets differ from day-to-day.
One day we might be happy, and another, for no apparent reason, sad. We also face setbacks, disappointments and tragedies, many of which we can’t control, and they alter our emotions.
No matter how we try to keep smiling, there are days when what we want and what we get don’t match, and if we think we should be happy all the time, we feel like failures.
When we strive to be happy every minute, we find our goal is impossible, and wonder what we’re doing wrong. Why is it, we think, plenty of other people have learned the secret of happiness, while we can’t get close to it?
One of the biggest misperceptions, perhaps, is some people are in a state of permanent joy. We might listen to celebrity interviews, or view the lives of other well-known stars on various media sites, and imagine their lives are blissful. How could they possibly not be happy?
But we don’t get to see their true lives and the problems they face. Addictions, family dramas, loss: Everyone meets similar challenges whether they are wealthy and famous or poor nobodies. Success, far from what we’ve been led to believe, has little to do with financial wealth and social status. And it’s not about the ability to maintain a constant happy emotional state, either.
The truth is, we’re not meant to be happy every second of the day. And sometimes we are far from joyful. We face problems, difficult people, and practical disruptions in our lives. So how can we expect to be happy all the time?
Even if you greet challenges with humor (often, a helpful way) doing so won’t mean you’re happy. It just relieves the pressure. And, indeed, like an oyster aggravated by sand that creates a pearl, your own wisdom can grow after difficulties.
Life is filled with contrast, and happiness and sadness are part of the full spectrum we experience. We might feel overjoyed, miserable, or meet an emotion somewhere between the two extremes.
What’s more, that’s just how it’s meant to be because contrast helps us learn and grow. If we were always happy, we wouldn’t have to overcome challenges. There wouldn’t be any hurdles to master, and our emotional intelligence would remain static.
Many of the most content people in the world describe themselves as fine rather than joyful. They understand happiness comes and goes, but they’ve accomplished something doable and more pleasant than the roller-coaster of extreme highs and lows.
The bottom line is, they are well-balanced. They don’t aim to get rid of one type of mood in order to experience more of another. Rather, they accept challenges as learning tools, enjoy happy moods, and spend most of the time feeling okay.
Okay? What’s so great about okay?
If you’re okay, you have a sense all is well in your world. You aren’t upset about issues you can’t control or bouncing off the ceiling with joy, only to plummet when happiness fades, as it does.
Balance stems from coming to terms with how you feel and accepting you won’t be happy every day. It also comes from growing on purpose, so you gain self-understanding. When you understand your emotions and why you feel as you do, you at least don’t suffer from despair and confusion as you battle to be different than you are: unhappy, angry, frustrated, the list goes on.
Not fighting what we often term a ‘negative’ mood makes managing it easier. You don’t add the misery of the illusion it’s unfair you are unhappy, and there’s one less problem on the table.
Real success is about enjoying a calm emotional life. Life’s highs are fantastic. We all love those. But they’re not sustainable, and if you were to experience them constantly, they would wear you out and make you old before your time.
Balance, on the other hand, is a feel-good place where you find less pressure. It’s secure and comes with clarity and peace.
Recognize you need not, and probably won’t, be happy all the time, and you’ll be in a better position to accept circumstances you can’t alter. You’ll shift into a state of balance more readily because you don’t resist your natural moods. You’ll accept yourself, including your mistakes, better too. And strangely enough, not trying too hard to find happiness might just bring you more joy after all.
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Copyright © 2020 Bridget Webber. All rights reserved.