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Happiness is the most enticing feeling. The pursuit of happiness is what we’re all supposedly on. We often ask ourselves as we assess situations, “Is it really worth it if you’re not happy at the end of the day?”
But, how to be happy?
Happiness is a wonderful emotion. But, I wonder, can happiness be achieved? Is it something to pursue? If so, can other emotions be pursued as well?
I think happiness is ever-present in a healthy mind, like other emotions, but it is the only one that we embrace wholeheartedly. It is so good to feel happy that when any other emotion dominates it (like sadness), we feel uncomfortable. While happiness, in the best case, should be the emotion we most often feel, it is essential to embrace all the times that it’s not.
Running away from emotions like sadness and fear will not preserve our happiness, rather it will stop us from feeling true, intense happiness because we haven’t given ourselves the freedom to embrace the diversity of human experience.
The only way to experience true happiness is to embrace every other emotion too.
The way that we can’t force a true smile, we can’t force true happiness either.
How to be happy
1. Embrace sadness
“Some days are just bad days, that’s all. You have to experience sadness to know happiness, and I remind myself that not every day is going to be a good day, that’s just the way it is!”
– Dita Von Teese
Life is a vast array of experiences, full of diversity. Are you the same as anybody else? Are you even the same as you were a year ago? The way your personality will keep evolving, so will your experience of life. Expecting or aspiring to live without phases of pain, grief, fear or setback is unrealistic. This is the beauty of life, with all its different colors. We might not like every single one of them, but they add value in their own way. And, sometimes, things will just be bad, and we will have to accept them as they are. Embrace every emotion that you feel with each experience. Running away from what we need to face will never work.
“The only cure for grief is to grieve.”
- Dr. Earl A. Grollman
Some days might go by where sadness is what you feel most intensely. Something must have mattered to you that didn’t go down so well. Give yourself the time and freedom to feel what is natural.
2. Live fearlessly
“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”
– Jonathan Safran Foer
It often happens that after an unpleasant experience we shield ourselves from living fully and freely. We become afraid of getting hurt again, fearful that someone would break our trust. But, how’s one to know if history will repeat itself every time? What if something wonderful was waiting to happen but you let the memory of your past experience take away that opportunity?
As Taylor Swift said, “To me, ‘fearless’ is not the absence of fear. It’s not being completely unafraid. To me, ‘fearless’ is having fears. ‘Fearless’ is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, ‘fearless’ is living in spite of those things that scare you to death. It’s fearless to have faith that someday things will change.”
Don’t be afraid of fear. Accept it. But, don’t miss out on the chances that life gives you. Things can turn out in any way. Learn lessons from your past, and move on. If we wish to experience life, in its fullness and magnificence, we will have to take the leap.
3. Some happiness is also happiness
Even if happiness may not be the dominant emotion in some situations, there can be little bits of it that we can find in ourselves.
For example, if you really miss someone, it is painful. But, why do you miss them? It’s probably because they mean a lot to you, because you love them, and because you’ve shared happiness with them. So, this sadness exists because of happiness. Our emotions are connected with each other. Again, this doesn’t mean that you should stop feeling sad, just that you should recognize the happiness that is a part of it. Even in the darkest of times, there is a little light that breathes hope into us.
“Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.”
True, intense happiness cannot exist in isolation from other emotions. It takes bravery to live life embracing all that comes with it. But, that is a magnificent life. Staying connected to our emotions will save us from unnecessary stress to escape them. Living with walls and barriers around us leads us to a mediocre life with basic experiences. Living with an open heart that embraces all that comes to it and gives love fearlessly leads us to a rich life with marvelous experiences. It's up to us to choose the way we want to live.
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Wishing you a happy day!