Why I stopped trying to be happy
And what I am seeking instead
Have you seen the movie Inside Out? It’s a Disney movie that came out in 2015 (if you haven’t seen it- it’s a MUST). Anyways, the premise behind the movie is the main character Joy works to keep her human Riley happy all of the time. She works to contain anger, sadness, and disgust so that all of Riley’s core memories (the important memories) are all happy memories. I won’t spoil the ending if you haven’t watched it….
This idea that we have to be happy all of the time puts so much pressure on us.
We are bombarded with these positive affirmations on social media telling us to just shift our mindset. Or stand in front of the mirror and repeat “I am beautiful”. Then we see all of our 500 “friends” sharing their 30 seconds of happiness on our FaceBook feed.
We start to feel like there is something wrong with us.
Why are we not happy all of the time? We fall down the rabbit hole of searching for external ways to make us happy- insert shopping, eating, drinking, overly controlling xyz…. But in actuality what we are doing is numbing out.
Brene Brown shares in her book The Gifts of Imperfection:
that we cannot numb out the bad feelings without numbing out the “good” feelings.
So in a world that is telling us to be happy, we are focusing on numbing out the sadness, the anger, the pain. But in the process, we are missing out on the happiness, joy, and connection.
I was raised in a family that didn’t talk about feelings. Things were discussed matter of factly, with no emotional attachment. I wore this like a badge of armor, something to be proud of- I could hold my shit together like a champ! This was all fine and dandy until I became a mother.
What I found was that left me with little coping skills.
No way to understand, or manage feelings when they arose. If they did, I would just stuff them back down- no need to deal with those! And when emotions get stuck in the body there are only 2 ways out- sickness or a
breakdown spiritual awakening (totally stealing that from Brene Brown).
After years of working within the Holistic field, both as a client and a practitioner, I have begun to shift away from trying to be happy, it’s so stressful to be happy all of the time. What I am seeking now is connection- connection with myself and my feelings. And connection with others. Learning to be present for others in their good times and in there bad. Holding space for them to just be; be it happy, or sad, or angry, or pissed, or not even knowing how they feel!
This can be a challenging transition, going from numbing out to feeling. It gets overwhelming and lonely if you don’t have support. If this is new to you, seek out trusted friends or even a Holistic Practitioner to help give you strategies and tools to deal with the unpleasantries that may arise.
So on to you, where do you numb out in your life? Do you overly focus on happiness at the expense of other feelings/emotions?