2. It’s important to stay happy. Solving a knotty problem can help us be happy, but we don’t have to be happy to feel good. If that sounds crazy, try this: Focus on something that makes you miserable. Then think, “I must stay happy!” Stressful, isn’t it? Now say, “It’s okay to be as sad as I need to be.” This kind of permission to feel as we feel—not continuous happiness—is the foundation of well-being.
I enjoy being happy — we all do don’t we? I think I’m a fairly happy person — I think if you talked to the people that surround my physical world they would agree that I am generally happy. I’ve had sad things happen in my life — but who hasn’t? And when the sad things happen, I’m sad — none of us are always happy. We have to let the other emotions have their chance to shine. I think if we deny our other naturally occurring emotions, then we are denying certain aspects of ourselves. The key, perhaps, is to understand how each plays a role — how each helps you become whole.
While I was reading the article on unlearning life lessons and contemplating my own need to sometimes mask my emotions, I decided to check out the latest blog post by Martha Beck. It made me laugh. Here, in the midst of unlearning life lessons, I laughed and found some happy. Martha Beck is a very influential woman. I see her as a source of inspiration and thought — and yet she was revealing her fears, caught up in her insecurities… just like the rest of us. She was revealing that she indeed, is not always happy. Strangely enough, reading this post made me happy. Read it, I think you’ll agree.
We are happy, we are sad, we are insecure, we are mad… we just are.
I have a friend who has an awesome, happy, secure life. We were talking recently about different things that were going on in each of our lives and how we could help each other process the sometimes maddening emotional journey that we were taking, each in our own life. I was surprised that we were having such a conversation — after all, she has an awesome, happy, secure life. She told me that, right then, at that very moment, she felt so sad that it physically felt as if a weighted object was placed directly over her heart — preventing it from expanding with the happy she so often knew. I didn’t know how to respond. I wanted so desperately to give her some of her happy back — even if just for a minute. But instead, I told her to be sad. It was ok. Be sad for as long as she needs to be — because I knew it wouldn’t last forever. So there we sat — sad, staring, reflecting. Just sad.
Emotions are natural. We don’t work at them. We don’t wait around for the next one to take hold and carry us to a place of laughter or solitude or reflection. They come to us without warning and they stay for as long as they need to.
I have a happy. You do too. We all do. Sometimes I forget I have it — sometimes I lose track of it and need a little guidance to help me uncover it. But I’ve never lost it — we never lose our happy…misplace, yes. But lost, never. Let your emotions have their way with you, let them guide you in your journey. Be happy or sad for as long as you need to be — this, I understand.
Image from Kind Over Matter