Happiness isn’t something you can manufacture through a series of accomplishments, a milestone you can check off a prefabricated list or a commodity you can buy in any form. You don’t easily stumble across something so precious.
A quick web search will turn up hundreds of results on “how to be happy” or “being a happy person”, but no internet search is going to help you find what you’re looking for. Can I tell you a secret? This article won’t either. You can be happy though. You will be, you deserve to be, and we will be right here as you navigate your path through recovery toward learning to be happy with yourself.
We don’t need to be happy to be loved
There is a very real and pervasive theme in our society that there is an order to the way things must be achieved in order for them to be sustainable or acknowledged as deserving. One of the most damaging ideas to come from that theme is the one that tells us we must love ourselves fully in order to be loved.
This is a lie.
You do not need to be anything but yourself to be loved. If you are already happy, that’s amazing. Let that love enrich your happiness.
If you are still seeking improvement for yourself, there is nothing you need before you are worthy of feeling loved and supported by those around you. Some of us thrive most fully with a supportive hand (or a few) at our backs, reminding us that we are worthy of being loved and showing us how to love ourselves the way that they do.
Feeling loved is not something that must wait for happiness, no matter which version of it you are seeking for yourself. You deserve love now, you are worthy of support now. There is nothing you must do to earn those things.
“I just want to be happy.”
This simple phrase has so much gravity that merely speaking it can level us and pin us to the ground. We feel achieving it should be just as simple as saying it. We’ve identified what we want to be- happy- so why can’t we be it?
Happiness is a single word with an array of meanings that shift and flutter through our world like prisms of light. Each iteration of happiness unfolds and expands around us, all fitting within the singular emotion but defined by its own distinct parameters.
Are you sure it’s happiness you’re looking for?
While they may be less euphoric or immediate in their impact, other emotional states like contentment, fulfillment and satisfaction may result in a longer term positive sense of self.
Fulfillment is a state of being, where happiness is an emotion. While you may experience a range of emotions (happy, sad, frustrated, elated), you experience an overall feeling of complete trust in your path and passion. Contentment, on the other hand, is a perspective. It’s the way we process our experiences and responses to create acceptance and gratitude for the life we live. Each is a distinct measure of positive worth in our own favor, and sought after in its own right.
If you are looking for the kind of happy that often goes by these other names, you may want to utilize tools that have a different kind of impact. To develop a content and fulfilling relationship with yourself, try these:
1. Start a journal.
Spending authentic time with your unfiltered thoughts goes a long way in getting to know them intimately so you can process and identify your emotions as you experience them.
2. Examine your core values
Do what you need to do to uphold or reinforce the things that you hold dear. Whether they are morals, ideals or priorities, make them unshakable.
3. Learn the art of a boundary.
Saying no or even start saying yes to the things that help you engage them more actively in your daily life.
4. Give support.
Sharing energy you can spare without depleting yourself through spiritual connection, volunteering or financial support of the things that help you to feel worthwhile in your life, body, and the universal experience going on around you.
We are sold the goal of happiness to reach some sort of personal enlightenment. In our digitally connected currency, happiness is the pinnacle of achievement we’re all striving for, and it’s what we’re sold in new phones, subscriptions, books and media.
What if happiness isn’t what we’re looking for, but we’re craving something similar that feels more sustainable. As you walk the road of recovery, it doesn’t matter whether you need happiness right now or want to move toward fulfillment long term, we are here with you.