Happiness had always seemed like this almost unobtainable thing that only people in the movies or books achieve. Sure, I felt moments of happiness like when I win at watching my kids play or intimate moments with my husband, but those were always fleeting. I was never sure if the lack of pure happiness always came down to my depression.
I have dept with depression since puberty. My body changed and so did my way of thinking. My brother wasn’t kind about the way that I had unintentionally gained weight at the same time that my boobs were beginning to appear, but that just added to my insecurity, not to my issues with a deep feeling of emptiness and fear. So, I can’t say that things that happened to me changed my thought process. Yeah, having my best friend at the age of 13 convince me to join her church and then they try to convince me that my parents are sent from the devil didn’t help. Or the fact that when I tried to break away from said church, my best friend disowned me and began to bully me at school which resulted in me moving schools. Those bad experiences only added to my waves of emptiness and fear.
It was as if I were two completely people inside my own head. One person could see clearly and fully analyze all situations and the other couldn’t see past the haze of self-induced despair. So, as I grew up and tried to tackle life with hazy glasses on, each little bump in the road just fueled my depression. Like being cheated on made me feel as if it was my fault. Or when my children went through the dreaded terrible toddler stage, I took all of the attacks personally.
Now that I am in my 30s these situations are not decreasing, but my way of thinking has been improving. I feel like I now have to tools to help myself rethink things. Of course, I have days where the depression wins and I curl up in a ball, either inside or on the outside. But those days are happening much less.
One thing that has helped me is Buddist sayings. I studied Buddism out of curiosity and found it to be so wise and calming. It helps you take a look at yourself instead of looking at all of the people around you. Why am I letting other people take away my happiness? The truth is no one can take away your happiness, you control how you feel. Other people will do and say things to you, but it is how you choose to react to it that can change your mood.
Happiness is not a constant thing. I have recently discovered this fact. I always pictured people who are happy are always happy. This is impossible and to pursue happiness in this fashion would be futile. You need to see happiness as a sense of clarity. When you can see things clearly, then you can find the positives in anything. It is raining outside when you wanted to go throw a ball with your son. Now the plants are getting waters and the layer of dirt is washed off your car. You didn’t get the job you interviewed for. It wasn’t the right job for you and the better job is on its way. You were cheated on by your significant other. Now you know that there are deep issues and you can either leave to find someone who will make you happy or you work together to find happiness again.
I never expected that quitting my job and moving across the country to a place I had never visited before would bring me such clarity. The move was not easy and it has brought many stresses, but overall it has given me the opportunity to take a real look at my life and at myself. Who do I want to be? If I want to be happy, then I have to change the way I approach life. So, now I try to stop myself when I get built up inside with stress and take a moment to appreciate what I have.
Life is supposed to happen the way it does, but how we choose to feel is solely up to us. Everything happens for a reason. It may not be something that we see right away, but we will eventually see it. So, when things don’t seem to be going your way, just remember that it is your choice to let that situation bring you down. Sometimes you just need a few minutes to think clearly about the issue and then you will find your path to positivity. Only you can make yourself happy. Go ahead and be happy.