Relearning Happiness

One of the things I’ve spent a lot of time pondering over the last few months is happiness, and how I acquired it and them seemed to lose it again. The summer of 2011 was one of the most joyful times of my life, and not because everything in my life was perfect or was working out the way I wanted it to. I’d learned how to be happy, and once that knowledge was securely in place, it was easy to maintain until some big changes knocked them loose again.

After that, I told myself I was happy. I’d learned how to be happy, hadn’t I? I only struggled with anxiety and gloominess again because it was winter, right? As soon as spring came, I’d feel that joy again. All I had to do was wait. It wasn’t my fault.

Spring came. Summer passed. I never really felt spring or summer though. I felt like it just got hot. That anxiety and gloomy mood stayed with me. As much as I lied to myself, I wasn’t happy. That joy from the previous summer didn’t return with the sun.

That’s part of the reason why I decided to put everything on hold for awhile so I could figure everything out.

After a particularly overwhelming week, I decided that I wouldn’t lie to myself anymore. I wasn’t happy, but I knew happiness was possible because I’d achieved it before. I knew it didn’t depend on what job I had, how much money we were making, or anything outside of myself because I’d been happy in far less “ideal” situations.

So how did I do it? I spend the day reading my journals from that time, rereading blog posts from the spring and summer of 2011, and reading the book that introduced me to the ideas that turned everything around. If I could learn happiness once, I could do it again.

I realized that I just had to relearn everything.

The ideas and practices that brought me happiness before, I’d taken them for granted. I thought I knew them all, so I stopped practicing what I knew. I just expected that mindset to maintain itself, and I unconsciously let it slip away.  I felt humbled, because I realized that no matter how much I think I know, I will always have to practice and relearn these things. Gratitude, positive thought patterns, trust, affirmations, love…those things are practices rather than a permanent mindset that never goes away once it’s in place.

So now I do the things I used to do. I write things I’m thankful for in my journal every single day. I use affirmations and mantras to maintain positive thought patterns. I make an effort to appreciate others. I make a conscious effort to trust that things will work themselves out instead of fear that they won’t. I feel like a beginner again, but I actually feel happy and peaceful now even though there’s a foot of snow on the ground and the sun goes down earlier every night. I have less energy for sure and I get a little gloomy in the evenings, but overall, I can honestly say that I’m happy right now.

If I’ve learned anything from this, it’s that happiness is both a choice and a practice, not a result of circumstances or luck. As humbling as that knowledge is, it’s comforting to know that I can always choose happiness.

I wish you all the joy and happiness you deserve. Have a wonderful Tuesday!

 

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Posted on November 13, 2012, in Happiness and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’ve struggled with depression on and off for my entire life and can completely relate to this. I am an expert at appearing happy on the outside, but often am suppressed by gloom and self-doubt inside without the slightest reason why. I feel my best when I take time to enjoy the little things in my life, but that often requires help of medication. The sigma attached to taking these “happy pills,” as my husband calls them, and my dependence on them makes me feel weak and foolish. After all, am I not just as strong as people who manage to navigate through life without them? A war secretly wages within my mind over taking them or not, all the while I miss daily doses. As can be predicted, my world crumbles. This strong, motivated, rock of a mother can hardly find a nightlight in the darkness.
    Once, while in that very funk, I snuggled one of my life lines to joy, my youngest son, only months old, and without making a sound, he smiled at me. I broke down into tears. His simple, toothless smile whispered to my heart, “Mom, I love and need you. Do what you have to do to be happy.”
    Isn’t that what life is about? Some people drink a glass of wine at the end of the day to wind down and keep their spirits up; others read sacred texts to bring about their inner peace, and I need to not be ashamed to admit, that I take anti-depressants and my whole family is blessed because of it.
    Thanks, Kella, for your blog and wisdom well beyond your years.

    • Thanks for your wonderful comment! I understand the issues with “happy pills”. Some people really do need them to stay balanced, and I don’t think it’s any different than relying on drugs for physical ailments. I’ve taken antidepressants but found that they didn’t agree with me. Consciousness and working to keep my mind in the right place seems like a better path for me. Different things work for different people.

  2. Right now I am experiencing something similar. There is no use searching for happiness outside, we must dig it out from our own inner selves. Beautifully written. Enjoy the peace!

  3. Beautiful Post and a Great Reminder pertaining to one’s happiness! Happy Tuesday:)

  4. I love this post, for years I pretended to be happy but expecting something or more appropriately someone to bring or make me happy. I was happy in 2010 and I mean really happy with my life and I became complacent with my happiness, life was going well until it crumbled and I let someone knock me down. It’s taken me over a year to become happy with myself again and it feels great and the best thing is I have done it on my own for me and no one else.

    • I’m glad you’ve found your joy again! It’s really something we have to do for ourselves, not for others. When we do that for ourselves though, others always benefit because we have more light to give.

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