“The key to being happy, is knowing you have the power, to choose what to accept and what to let go of”.
I have done a lot of soul searching over the past year and what it means to be truly happy. A quick scroll through social media will see a myriad of quotes and memes thrown at you about happiness. Most of them shallow and some of them again highlighting this bullshit fake positivity.
It is correct, happiness does come from within but you absolutely need to be in an environment conducive to happiness. There’s also confusion over success and happiness-they are two very different things! You can be incredibly successful and NOT happy and you can be happy and NOT deemed successful in societal terms. Generally career prestige, money and material items would escalate someone’s level of “success”. But we all know wealthy people, who seemingly have it all who are miserable.
I’ve done a lot of reading, listening to experts, speaking to people and going deep within myself and far too often we see happiness as some sort of destination, when in reality it is the journey.
We also have been taught in far too many cases, to put on a “happy face”. To not speak of our “non happy” feelings because it makes other’s uncomfortable. To minimise our own pain because there’s always someone worse off. To always be positive because nobody likes negativity.
Well I’m flipping this bullshit on its head because to be human is to feel.
To be an authentic human is to be honest about those feelings. To be honest about those feelings is to be vulnerable. To be vulnerable is to be courageous. To be courageous is to face your darkness. To face your darkness is to acknowledge your pain. To acknowledge your pain is to start being truthful with yourself. And to be truthful with yourself is to start healing.
How can we be f*cking truly happy if we are carrying around wounds? If we have unhealed trauma? If we are lying to ourselves or others? If we are keeping secrets? If we are ignoring our emotions and feelings from others? If we are not being true to ourselves? If we are not following our soul?
We can’t! The simple answer is we cannot be truly happy until we address what needs to be addressed. We are surrounded by people “pretending”- putting on their smiling face in the hope they will eventually convince themselves that they are happy. I know, I did this and I’m here to tell you it slowly festers inside of you. It will seep out of you and there is absolutely no avoiding this. How explosive and damaging it is will be dependent on how much you are burying.
We steer clear of tough conversations because let’s be honest, the truth can be bloody painful. We distract ourselves, start new things, buy new things, change things but all this is superficial and most of us are not prepared to really address the things that make us unhappy.
So what do we do? We fake it. We people please. We take on board toxic positivity. We lie to others. We lie to ourselves. We craft and portray the life we want others to believe we have. All the while we continue to bury shit.
Getting to this stage of my journey, I understand there is nothing more detrimental to our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing than by-passing our healing and lying to ourselves. I have been fortunate enough to have a tribe of people who I can be completely open and honest with. The ability to be vulnerable and a wonderful hypnotherapist.
We are not meant to be happy all of the time. A positive outlook of course is beneficial but for the sake of your health, please let yourself feel. And never let anyone dictate how you should be feeling or dismiss your feelings due to their own discomfort. Do not allow other people to put timeframes on your healing.
I am a happy person but f*ck I have been to hell and back and it really puts things into perspective. The things that make me happy are simple:
- I never bury my feelings. I talk about them. I write them. I meditate on them. I address them. I’m brutally honest about them. I seek help when required.
- I avoid getting caught up in the dramatisation of news events. Yes it’s good to know what’s going on in the world but the exaggerated dooms day media crap and people abusing each other on social media is just a sad indictment on a society that has lost its way and angry people who have not addressed their issues.
- I don’t listen to or read toxic positivity. Most of these people have avoided dealing with their own demons and all have some 3 step, 5 step, 10 step, 15 step process that will change your life. I read a post by an American “coach” that I was a fan of. It was a post about cutting people out of your life that were “negative”. It was arrogant and dismissive and when anyone made a comment that disagreed, he became defensive. He often spoke about his number of followers and even his income. It was at that point I realised he was insecure, privileged, unhealed and lacked the wisdom to understand other points of view or to grasp the concept that what he deemed as “negative” was in fact honest vulnerability.
- I learn something new every day. It gives me a sense of achievement and I know I continue to grow.
- I exercise daily and include grounding (walking on sand or grass barefoot). A walk in nature and on the beach is good for the soul.
- I dance. Dance whilst cleaning, hosing, just move your body and pump up the music. Trust me it will always make you smile.
- I laugh. I do ridiculous things to make others happy, which inturn makes me happy. I love to have fun.
- I cry. Seems counterintuitive but crying is such a release. Let that shit out.
- I write and let all my creativity out to dance on the pages. Both cathartic for myself and resonates with others.
- I give. I have set some decent boundaries these days but I’ll always be a giver. To give of yourself in a pure way, without any expectations is a beautiful gift.
- Balance. I make sure I balance all of my passions, including my training, volunteering and writing with a good mix of rest, sleep, socialising, exercise and me time. I do what is right for me and what works for me, rather than get caught up in all the hype of what the “successful” people do because I’m already successful and I have my own drive to follow my dreams.
- Kindness. I endeavour to always be there for my tribe and help people where I can. Again this is about genuine kindness, not manipulative kindness. Being kind without expecting anything in return. Being kind to make another feel better, not to validate yourself. Kindness makes the world a better place.
- And of course vulnerability and authenticity, you cannot be truly happy without them. Just be yourself. Offer your individuality to the world. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
I am grateful to have finally gotten to this place. I’m not searching for anything and am happy just where and as I am. I’ve harnessed my happiness just as I’ve harnessed my sadness, my joy, my pain and any other of life’s emotions and feelings. There’s real magic in that.
“Happiness is like an orgasm. It’s a lot better if you don’t have to fake it”.