I have been talking for a very long time about how we should be happy, how happiness comes from within. I have always believed that happiness is a way of thinking. We should not wait for something to happen, nor wonder why it does not come to us. Happiness is the way we perceive the world around us. So far so good, but what if we face a difficult situation or life brings us adversities?
So how do we find happiness within ourselves, when the only thing we feel is pain, fear, and anxiety?
Not long ago I have faced such a trial. My life was amazing and if it was a movie I thought I was already on “and lived happily ever after”, but suddenly everything turned upside down in minutes. I lost my dreams, my hopes, I lost myself and I didn’t know what to do, how to move on. I was at the bottom. All I felt was a pain. Strong, unstoppable, and excruciating pain. But deep inside I knew that this was just a period and no matter what the losses are, I am alive and I will continue to live. And at some point, when the emotions and pain fade away, I will find the strength to seek joy and meaning again. It is no coincidence people say that time heals everything. This is the cycle of life. We just have to accept it and move forward.
I understand happiness not as a momentary emotion, but as the ability to enjoy life, with all its differences, beauties, and shortcomings. Because moods come and go. Various events happen in our lives, there are new challenges every day and nothing is constant. The question is how we perceive all this?
The illusion of happiness
The life we see on Instagram, Facebook, all the Hollywood movies, even the commercials, makes us think that everything can be perfect. We drift into the false reality and build illusions about a perfect world of which we want to be part. And we begin to live our lives struggling to adjust to this utopian notion of perfection. I’m not just talking about the desire to look a certain way, to have perfect bodies, or to have a certain standard of living. I’m talking about immersing ourselves in the idea of being happy and experiencing only good emotions. We get so engrossed in this and when it happens to experience something negative as an emotion, we feel even worse. We feel as if we have done something bad as if we have gone out of the norm and something is wrong with us.
We forget that life is not really a straight line. There are peaks, there are falls, there are even flats. Feeling pain, or anger, frustration, sadness is perfectly normal. It is a part of life. Along with joy, excitement, and love. And trying to escape the negative, because allowing yourself to be sad means going beyond the framework that social networks or all happy-life-gurus have imposed, means running away from yourself. And I believe that this running can be the reason for the development of various addictions and eating disorders. Because addictions and eating disorders are actually coping mechanisms for different situations and feelings.
Imagine how much easier it would be if we just assume that emotions are to be experienced?
Whether good or bad. Imagine we know ourselves and we do not rely on emotions to determine who we are. Because emotions are not eternal, they happen, we experience them for a while and then they disappear. Then there will remain only us with our consciousness. And only then we can be happy.