Why you aren't feeling happy
Not your standard type of how-to post. Rather a real conversation on happiness.
Hi beautiful soul, I got a beautiful new inspiration today. Hope you enjoy it!
How to be happy and fulfilled? This episode is about the myths around being happy and some advice on how to get there yourself. In a simple way without any steps or tricks.
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Are you not fulfilled? “Are you not enjoying life?” “How could you not?” “With these easy steps, you can become happy!” “Read this book you’ll be happy!” “Don’t think of life so much, just enjoy it more! How easy is that?” Haven’t you heard one of these questions or quotes in your life? You have maybe just started on your journey. You might just start with finding what happiness means to you. Or you might have read tens or maybe hundreds of books about it. You might have watch videos or blogs just like this one. One after the other giving you steps to become happy and fulfilled. Follow these principles and you’ll be happy. It all sounds so easy. Yet it never works. One day you think you find it. The other day your back where you started. You feel in a rut. Stuck or maybe even depressed. It should all be so easy to do right?
Well, it is and at the same time, it isn’t. Life is more complex than just following a guideline to happiness. You can’t just implement some new ways of living and feel happy all the time. You can’t just read a blog, listen to a podcast, or watch a video and at that very moment become happy and fulfilled. If you think you can there is a long road for you ahead. As this year started I had just passed one of those years where I felt stuck. Nothing worked out. I was sitting at home. I just didn’t feel myself. I felt hopeless and fucked up. At times I did feel better. When I was with friends or with my girlfriend. But most of the time I didn’t. But why? I don’t know. It drove me insane. It felt like I stopped living for just half a year. Like everything passed me by as I stood there. You probably have seen one of those movie scenes where a guy or girl is standing on the side of the street and cars pass her by at a rapid pace. A soft melodramatic song is playing, heck it probably even starts raining. Her make up is al over the place or his hair dangles down his face. That’s how it felt. Or rather, that is how I made it feel to myself. Most of the time I would think of the two years that had past. The two best years of my short, yet full, life. I think I just finished the first year of my higher education when I felt at my best. In a desperate attempt to get back to there, I relived every memory in my mind. Thinking of what made me so happy. Was it the education I was following? Was it the exciting things happening like exploring photography and writing for the first time? Or was it maybe helping others? It could be so many reasons because my mind bent all of reality. It was all a big fluffy pink cloud of happiness back then.
No, it wasn’t it was just like now. I just didn’t focus on what was going wrong. Instead, I accepted that some things just go the wrong way. Like steering your car to the left but it had just become a living thing and decided to steer you the other way. It just wasn’t what you wanted to happen. Maybe it didn’t help that I just wanted to quit school. The fact that I wanted to pursue this writing thing full time. Quitting in my final year of school. Yup because that to me sounded like a great freaking plan. I didn’t even think of how I would be able to do it. I didn’t even manage to write consistently at that time. I was all over the place. I was trying to force myself in that direction. Against my own will, against what life served on my plate. My perfectly clean brown colored plate. Every now and then life served me something I didn’t like, so I threw it away. So life gave it to me in a different way. Still, I didn’t like it and threw it away again. Until it started to slowly starve me mentally. That way I got stuck.
It’s a personal thing
Okay, you get it now. I was stuck, that’s how every story begins because you need to start with a problem. You don’t have that much time so let’s skip straight to where you need to be. You are stuck. But how do I get out? I want to be happy NOW! Well, start by removing NOW, then remove the want because that is a desire and then remove the I because that is ego. You are left with. To be happy. Tada, you are happy. I get it, this doesn’t just work for everyone. It most certainly isn’t that easy. The battle to be happy isn’t as easy as you think. It sounds really easy but there is more to it. Demons are fighting back. Voices that are like ghosts. Ugly monsters, one of those bed monsters that lived under your bed as a kid. They live in the shadows and make you feel scared, nervous, and anxious if you leave them there. They are what make you feel unhappy, unfulfilled, or depressed. They are the problem. At the same time, they are also the solution. I’ve read quite a lot of books on happiness or joy. All of which say some different things. All of them with their ways of becoming happy. All of them unique and strong. Yet I never learned how to be happy myself. I felt like something had changed within me when I read the book, but it never truly did. There was one thing missing in all of these books. One thing I have not come across yet. There might probably be a book out there that is telling you this but for me, I have not found it yet.
In all of them is a lot of truth, I will not deny that. All of them give steps and ways to become happy. Yet there needs to be a rock-solid foundation for those to work. There is just one fundamental understanding most of us get wrong. Something that is within all of us. We forget that there is no universal way of being happy. Okay shit, now we are talking. For example, I get great joy out of talking to myself in these kinds of blog posts. To some, this might look silly, or a bit weird, and for some, this is absolutely hilarious. The most important thing is that I take great joy out of it. Every time I write a story like this I feel happy, I laugh behind my desk and that sounds silly and nerdy. Yet that is who I am. It makes me feel fulfilled and happy and useful. For my girlfriend that is music. If she writes, creates, or learns about the music she feels alive. Her problems fall off her shoulders and she feels alive. That is where she shines, that is where she can be sunlight to the world. For your pet, that joy is yet again different. My dog loves to bite on a stick that smells like an old wet towel that has been dragged through the mud and sewer water, but he enjoys it very much. His little tail wiggles when he is bitting that stick as if his life depends on it. Watching that gives me great joy in return. You see it isn’t just experiencing our own lives that make us feel joyful, fulfilled, and happy. It also is watching the lives of those happy, fulfilled, and joyful around us. It works both ways. Happiness is like a decease. It spreads easily, especially if it is genuine and strong. For every one happiness is different. You can not just simply read a book or watch a video to become happy. If it would have been that simple everyone would read a book and be happy. The whole world would be that pink fluffy cloud. No wars, killings, or racism to be found. No monsters under the bed, just happiness all around.
Sadly that isn’t the case. Or maybe luckily it isn’t that case. It would be a dull society. Imagine only seeing faces that have these huge smiles on their faces. All happy grinning and smiling all the time. No, stop it! I would not want to live in a world like that. Man, it would scare me to death. You see happiness can only be like a decease if it is genuinely acquired. If everyone would just get it by reading a book it wouldn’t be genuine. We all have our unique ways of getting there.
Use the dark side
What is it then? What can make you happy? Well, there is no straight path. No here is the cheat code to living a beautiful life. I am sorry for that. You will have to figure it out yourself. Wow, that is horrible advice to give. Imagine spending 30 bucks on a book and reading that as the final line. You would feel shit. You would feel robbed of your money. You want your 30 bucks back. The same goes for this story. It didn’t cost you any money but it did take some of your precious time. Some of that time you could have spent reading a book that did give you satisfaction. I can’t give you a how-to guide to happiness. I can give you some advice. Some ways to figure this stuff out yourself. Now I am a student. I am not a master at psychology nor have I had a lot of life experience. So take all of this with a grain of salt. It’s yet again all up to you what brings you joy.
Stop thinking you can be happy all the time. Or at least think of it differently. Reframe your mindset of happiness. Cause man the frame around happiness is crooked and weird. Being happy means for most of us feeling great. A physical sensation that makes you feel alive, active, and positive. You do what you love but, and that is a big but, there is a huge misconception with happiness. Being happy is regularly mistaken for fulfilling your desires. Nope. That’s the wrong way. That is not at all what happiness is. In that way yes you can never be fully happy. Desire is something that can never be stilled. You desire new clothes or new stuff. You desire new experiences or more money. You see desire is based on numbers. On having as much as possible. Having more, but that will not get you anywhere close to being happy at all. That is a filter you place over the world making it indeed look rose-colored. The thing is that filter is wonky and doesn’t work in the shadow. You can not stay in the light all the time. If you are outside it is beautiful and everything is colorful. Birds sing and man this is a wonderful life. But if you step into the dark the filter doesn’t work. The dark stays dark. You can not change that. You panic and take off the filter. You run out into the light again and bam your world has changed. No rose-colored filter to make it look pretty anymore. That’s why desire will not work. It bends reality. If I might give you a tip try to see life without any glasses. Just as it is. Now, what the heck does that mean Daan!
By that I mean understand the power of the dark. Wow, that sounds like I got Darth Father real quick. It almost sounded like one of the lines the Sith in Star Wars would use, or any anti-hero would use to make the hero believe that the dark is the way to go. NOOO, that’s a no go as well. Don’t go into the dark and see it as the only power there is. Getting closer to happiness is something different for each one of us. That is because we all carry different shadows. They might look like one another. Some of us have been bullied in their youth, some have had a bad relationship with their parents or in extreme have been abused. These are all shadow sides to our lives. They are the monsters underneath our beds, scaring us throughout our lives. During the day they might seem harmless. But when you are going to bed they become really scary. They linger in the dark shadows. So even during the day, you carry them around in all the shadows around you. A conversation with friends, family, or a stranger could trigger them to come out. Scare you to death and make you cry. Yet all they want was to have a little bit of attention. They can’t help it they look freaking scary. Remember the movie Monster Inc. where these monsters would scare little kids. Well, there was one kid that they couldn’t scare. She becomes friends with them. She loved them. Be that cute little kid in her pajamas. Making friends with the monsters and using them as a power. That is the way I would do it. That way you get a little closer to your happiness. The way you can be living a happy and fulfilling life.
Now that doesn’t sound as scary as using the power of the dark. Infect it sounds kinda cute doesn’t it? Being that kiddo again in pajamas hugging big fluffy monsters. It doesn’t sound as badass as fighting your demons. I’ve never really been a big supporter of fighting anyway. I don’t think the solution to happiness is found in using force. So for some this might not work. They think this is silly and they want a more strong or manly approach. Completely fine by me. That is what I try to show you. Everyone has their way of getting to happiness. There is no how-to book on this. There are millions of different verses to solving this one riddle. You have your riddle, your key to the lock. I can assure you, those keys are scattered throughout life but you will not acquire them if you can’t make friends or live with your demons. Your very own monsters. That way you will never be happy. So in some sense, there is one common understanding. That demons are part of life. They are just as beautiful as the angels that guide us. They couldn’t help that they are so ugly looking and live in the shadow. It is just the way they were created.
One more time for all the ones reading headlines and skipping through the post. There is no standard way of being happy. There is one understanding of being happy. That is, that you either live with your demons or that you love them and use them as a strength.
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Today I lived is a three word quote that reminds me and you to live. To enjoy this life and look for the sunshine in your day! Cause “beauty is everywhere”