This might be surprising, but you can’t always be happy. It simply can’t be done. Life is happening all around us, and we all have difficult times. We all find that things aren’t going as planned, leaving us frustrated, or that our hard work is unappreciated, or that a car accident can really be stressful for a few days or weeks as we straighten everything out.
When bad things happen and we are effected by them, it’s only right that we would be angry or sad or have access to our whole range of emotions. One would expect to cry upon hearing of a good friend’s death or feel empathy towards someone else’s misfortune. Without that range of feelings we don’t feel truly alive. And it’s human nature to want to turn away from anything uncomfortable. We would much rather feel content or valued any day to the pain and suffering we feel. This takes the form of suppressing how we really feel, working too much so we don’t have time to stop and think, and making others responsible for our happiness, among others.
And if you’ve been paying attention to social media, you’re probably aware of the phenomenon of knowing that everyone else in the world is having a better time at life than you are. They’re more successful, have more satisfying relationships, and doing many more exciting things than you do every day of the week. It’s enough to make a person feel inadequate if not entirely depressed by your own circumstances when all you wanted to do was check up on your friends and family.
If you’ve had a few bad days (or weeks) in a row, you might begin to suspect that there’s either something wrong with you or that you’re doing everything wrong because you aren’t the happy person doing exciting things that you think you should be. So what’s a person to do?
When making any kind of change, I recommend starting small. Look at what you do every day and figure out how much of it truly brings you joy. When we get stressed or feel we have too much to do, the first things that tend to go are the ones that help us maintain our equilibrium. We stop doing the little things that bring us a sense of accomplishment or serenity when we most need it. Make sure you start to do those things again, whether it’s meditating or sitting down with a good book or cooking your favorite meal. Add joy to your day. It might not be groundbreaking stuff to post on Instagram, but it’s what is most important for you.
Gratitude is also important, and something we give lip service to, but don’t always do very well. Look around right now and notice three things you feel grateful for. It’s the little things we tend to gloss over that really make a difference, like a working internet connection or a few minutes of peace and quiet before the next task needs to be done. Seeing the small things that really are great can really help raise our positivity quotient for the day.
Finally, find a way to love the life you’re living. You’ve made a lot of choices that have lead you to where you are today. You may think some of them aren’t worth talking about, but you did have a plan once upon a time, and you worked to implement that plan. Of course, that plan has a way of changing direction and taking you to places you never knew existed, but some of those were wonderful! Love something about where you are. Love the completely ridiculous and improbable life you are living. Love how you’ve learned so much that is changing how you plan to live the next 30 years of your life because you don’t want to make the same mistakes you’ve been making for the last 30 years. Love your imperfections. And love those who make your life the beautiful mess that it is. That’s the real secret to happiness!