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The Myth of Living Happier

If I had a dollar for the number of times I have a client or a friend or yes even myself says, “I shouldn’t be feeling this way I SHOULD be living happier.”  I could be a rich woman. I call this the Myth of Living Happier.

The Myth of Living Happier

If am living happier then I won’t feel any pain, doubt or insecurity. I will process loss and tragedy at super human speed, and I will always feel blissful and light.

Pardon my language but I am here to call bullshit on this myth.  Let’s blow it up and toss it to the wind. Let’s destroy this insane, unattainable concept of happiness and being happier.

One of my foundational beliefs in Living Happier is that you have to experience the yuck.  As the expression goes shit happens, relationships break up, parents get sick, fatal car accidents occur, and jobs are lost.  Real grief is something we all experience and more importantly it isn’t something that we experience easily or well.  Real grief is HARD it rips your insides out and makes you cry to the depth of your being. Unfortunately, it is not something one thinks of when talking about Living Happier.

The other day I was talking to a friend and who was lamenting the loss of her parent.  Her mother had died a couple of years ago and every year around the anniversary of her death she can feel the grief overwhelm her.  “I SHOULD be done with this grief” “I am supposed to be Living Happier, right?”. I lovingly reminded her that it is perfectly normal to feel the loss of her mother. It was after all HER MOTHER and quite honestly she only died 2 years ago so hell yes she will still be feeling a very real loss of one of the most important people in her life!!!

Living Happier doesn’t mean living in denial or living a delusion.  Living Happier isn’t pasting a smile on your face no matter what.  It isn’t ignoring your feelings.

Living Happier means allowing yourself to have a bad day.  To give yourself grace around pain, sadness and grief.  Living Happier means you can give yourself the radical acceptance necessary to move through the inevitable emotions that come up as we move through the peaks and valleys of life.

Basically, to Live Happier, you have to LIVE.  Live fully engaged, intentional and aware.  If we are ignoring, shaming or belittling our grief and pain, we are not Living, and we are not Living Happier.  Sometimes in an effort to Live Happier we will cry, we will be angry, we will be cranky and tired and not look or feel ‘happier’.  But at the end of the day, at the end of the cry, at the end of the rant, we will be happier because we will be embracing all of our life the good, the bad and the ugly.

To live happier doesn’t mean you will constantly feel HAPPY or blissful.  The quest to Live Happier is just that a quest.  A quest to give ourselves room to feel all of life both the joy and the pain. A quest of knowing that in the span of 24 hours we can cry our eyes out and laugh until our stomachs hurt.  When we are truly Living Happier, we get to experience and show up for all of life.

I ask you to join me in ridding this world of the Myth of Living Happier.

How does this myth show up in your life?

2 Responses to The Myth of Living Happier

  1. I enjoyed this post. I’ve thought about it several times over the past few days. I often think that without the experiences of sadness or unhappy times, how would a person ever be able to know what their “true happiness” feels like? It’s as if you sometimes need to experience the bad in order to recognize the good. 🙂

    I think it’s also interesting that people make the comments that they “should be happier”, or “should be over their grief” or whatnot. According to whose rules? Who is it that set the parameters and rules that make people feel that way?

  2. I agree that you have to experience the bad in order to feel the good 🙂 my quest and challenge is holding both in times of grief and challenge to experience that pain while also seeing the joy that is happening all around. Recognizing that in the midst of tremendous grief there is still laughter–like laughing at a funeral–some people really struggle with those 2 opposites.

    Also I think people feel like they should be over the grief because grief is so freaking hard and very few people can sit with us in true grief. So well meaning friends and family tell them to suck it up move on because sitting in that level of pain is too hard. So people want to get past it so they can feel ‘normal’ again. But the only way up is through. Which is why so many people get stuck in grief. I agree as you said by whose rules? Is absolutely right!!!

    Thanks for engaging in the conversation.