You should be happy, right?
The pursuit of happiness cannot be experienced in the way we are led to believe. In the blink of an eye, happiness fades away like the light of day.
We are led to believe that we should be feeling 100% of the time. If you don't, perhaps, you are not (emotionally) together enough or maybe, you fear that others will think less of you.
Happiness cannot be a permanent state of being. In psychology, being 100% happy can be symptomatic of mental illness, sometimes diagnosed as Atypical Affective Disorder.
Happiness, like all emotions, is elusive, and we can be drawn into the needy frustration to be happy all the time on the advise of experts who misguide us.
Have you ever paid for the hope of achieving perpetual happiness? Maybe you bought books and audios, or enrolled in a course or signed up for coaching, to learn the secret to life-long happiness!
If they can have it, why can't I?
At a luncheon, I sat with a woman who paid $52,000 dollars to attend a year-long mastermind with a very popular coach to find her happiness.
Did she find it? Oh, no, she didn't.
She was still unhappy, cranky, and just as frustrated as she was before making the commitment.
"I'm just not happy." "I need to find happiness." "If only I could be happy..."
No one can make you happy.
Let's say, I have an experience with a dear friend with whom I generated happiness, and then, have a minor car accident on the way home. Not happy.
Am I messed up to feel unhappy? Is it better to fake a smile, rather than to be true to what I am feeling?
"I felt happy... and now I feel upset."
Happiness can never be a constant neither is feeling upset. It is one of hundreds of emotions that pass through us.
You may be shortchanging yourself by not recognizing the transient nature of emotions and disallowing the satisfying experience of a variety of emotions.
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, a quote by Ben Franklin, wasn’t referring to hedonistic happiness, which is a fleeting emotion, that is dictated by things, events, or other people, all external to ourselves.
He had in mind the deeper concept of finding meaning in our lives, which combines the pursuit of living with a deeper purpose, while recognizing everything and everything exits in life as is and as being transient.
We are happier when we approach life with a clear purpose, because then we have a greater strength to navigate the good times, including the hardships.
As we move through this pandemic experience, you may be struggling to recognize what generates happiness for you. You may feel confused or think that the lighter emotions are no where to be found. Of course, a good self-help book can be helpful, but --
Be wary of anyone who attempts to lure you with the promise of perpetual happiness. It is a lie that perpetuates less authenticity and superficial happiness.
To rediscover the flow of happiness, here are five ideas to help you re-think the experience:
1. What made you feel happy before the pandemic, may not make you happy now! Does what you felt happy about 10 years ago, still make you happy today? Maybe not.
It might be time to revisit what creates happiness for you.
===> When you feel happy, tune into it, and hold the experience for 20 seconds longer than you normally would.
If you increase the awareness of feeling happiness, you will notice how it is a package of thoughts, emotion, feelings, sensations, and postures.
Also, you can recreate the experience anytime you want to bring up happiness!
2. Think of your ancestors and the hardships they endured. Whether they survived or died, their lives continue to teach you. Honoring their passage through the hardships of their time will enrich your life.
A client shared that her grandmother, in spite of surviving the concentration camps, shared many joyful moments and insight of her life. 'Diane" chose to hold her grandmother's joy in her heart, while also recognizing the sorrow.
3. If you attempt to only feel happiness of 100% of the time, this quest will leave you burned out, drained, and shallow. Do we deny certain emotions? Maybe you weren't allowed to feel anger as a child.
It is ok to feel pissed off, radiant, and down. The wide the range of emotions, the more in tune you will be to yourself.
I have a list of several hundred feelings to expand your awareness. If you want a copy, email me. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
4. No one can make you happy, nor can you make anyone happy.
Clients are surprised to discover that the experience of happiness, and other emotions, can be purposefully generated. It's an inside job.
Developing a rich expression of a variety of emotions will tune you into your needs, voice, who you are, and in your ability to glide through life events with more awareness and intuition.
Allow yourself to experience the lighter, more joyful and the darker emotions. Emotions come and go, like the wind through the trees.
The next time you feel bad for not being happy all the time, just say "I feel bad" - allow it and notice that it passes, because then you can generate your own happiness!
REMEMBER: Within you is a strength greater than any life challenge.
❤️ Sanna Carapellotti, M.S., Cht