“So how am I supposed to be happy?”
You don’t have a bad attitude. And it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re depressed.
Life really does suck sometimes.
But you’re supposed to be happy, right? Wrong – that’s the Big Lie.
The Reality of Suckiness
- Politics and division in our country. Hatred, blaming, conflict. It’s a mess and we hear about it 24 hours a day.
- The economy. Inflation, personal debt, tax burdens, and the rich get richer.
- Relationship conflict and distress. More than half of all marriages end in divorce.
- Loneliness. We’ve never been more connected due to social media. We’ve never been more disconnected due to social media.
- Work, unemployment, and under-employment. Levels of work distress, dissatisfaction, and anxiety have never been higher (well, at least since the Great Depression).
- Health concerns and healthcare.
But I’m Supposed to be Happy Anyway, Right?
Wrong. Happiness is a fleeting emotional state. We can’t make ourselves happy. Feelings cannot be manufactured randomly, and they cannot be controlled. (We can manage them sometimes, but we can’t force the issue.)
- The “Pursuit of Happiness” (as promised in our Declaration of Independence) is misguided. We can pursue it but can’t just make it happen out of sheer willpower.
- Unrealistic expectations. Expectations are premeditated disappointments and resentments.
- Sh*t happens. Childhood trauma, adult trauma, and sucky life circumstances.
- The Itty-Bitty Shitty Committee in our heads. Negative thoughts of endless variety.
So Do I Just Feel Sucky or Is There Anything To Be Done?
In life, pain is inevitable (suckiness), but suffering is optional—Buddhist proverb.
We don’t have to live there as victims. We have choices and the ability to create more positive life outcomes.
- Acceptance and detachment. Feel the pain, accept it as a normal part of life, and let go of that sh*t. (You might want to try putting your phone down.)
- Find joy, amusement, satisfaction, wonder, and good cheer where you can. It’s out there, so be on the lookout. Create experiences that may create these feelings.
- Follow your heart. Ignite your passions. Don’t look for happiness. Do healthy activities that make you feel good. Focus on what you love.
- Find meaning and purpose. Help others. Feed your mind and your soul in concert with your values, ideals, and interests.
- Nurture relationships. The more you give love, the more you get love.
- Love yourself. Love is a verb. Take care of your mind and body with good habits and mindfulness.