how to find happiness

Happiness Should Be A Continuous Journey, Not A Strict End Goal

It's almost as if happiness is seen as a black and white concept rather than a fluid state.

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Oftentimes, happiness is treated as a goal or destination to arrive at. It's almost as if happiness is seen as a black and white concept rather than a fluid state. It isn't unusual to think that something good has to happen to us in order to achieve happiness. "I have to get this job in order to be happy." "I would be happy if I were in a relationship." "I won't be happy until XYZ happens." While being happy is a wonderful state to aim for, what reasons do we have for not being happy without all of the extraneous wishings? What is stopping us from allowing ourselves to be happy rather than actually doing it?

There are many misconceptions about happiness, one of them being that must one spend the entirety of their day with a smile on their face that stretches from ear to ear. In order to have a positive outlook on life, you do not need to necessarily be satisfied with every aspect of it. You can have a bad moment, or even a bad day for that matter and still be an overall happy person. I personally find myself in some of the worst mental states when I let one bad thing take control of my entire well being. While we shouldn't change how we feel about something, it is important to accept and honor these feelings.

After a period of apathy and even suppression of feelings, I've learned the importance of finally being exciting and interested in something. Anything. It makes any joyful feelings much more potent. With that being said, it also exposed me to how strong the feeling of desolation can be when you deprive yourself of feeling anything at all for so long. This is where the battle comes into play. Bad feelings trigger the creation of a rut that is seemingly so difficult to find any light in. That's the thing about happiness: You don't need to find it for it's already right in front of you. You just have to decide that you don't want to fall deeper into the ditch that you've fallen into, and you won't.

Within the last few months, I've learned that happiness is in fact, a choice. Sure, we have undesirable situations in life that seemingly have no solution at times, but these circumstances should not have the final say over our mental health.

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Stop Using Mental Illnesses As Descriptors

Depression is not a colorful synonym for sad. Stop it.

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It was a quiet Sunday morning at the restaurant I work at, not a single booth was filled, and it was just myself, a manager, and one of my favorite bartenders. As we joked about how painfully slow it was that day, I began telling them a story about a similar day I had when I was serving in Huntington Beach. The day began very similarly, not a soul to be served, so I assumed it would be a $50 day and I would get to leave early. Only 20 minutes later, I was the only server on the floor slammed with 3 parties of 15+, a full patio, and about 5 tables inside. It was one of the most frustrated serving days I've ever had; I did not make a single mistake, but the notorious post-church brunch crowd already donated enough to their parish, and wound up tipping me on average 4%. As I finished my tale, I told him that is why I have PTSD for brunch shifts. Jokingly, my thick skinned friend that served 2 deployments told me not to say that because he actually does have PTSD. Though he meant it comedically to "mess with me", it resonated with me. As the narrative voice of my mind took over, I began pondering all of the times I see this happen and don't think twice.

More often than not, we use mental illness terminology to describe simple emotions. It seems you cannot go a day without hearing someone say a guy who doesn't match his shoes to his belt gives them "anxiety", or the new Billie Eilish album is so beautiful, it makes them "depressed". It's important to recognize how insensitive it is to abuse language that completely dictates an individuals life. Mental illness is incredibly real; it is one of the most difficult things to overcome in life. I have always been someone that has appreciated a good joke, the darker the better. However, ever since I embarked upon my recovery, I have not been able to have any form of a sense of humor towards eating disorders. With that being said, it is difficult for me to hear people describe sick, dangerously thin things as "anorexic". In this, I can understand how hurtful and awkward it is to suffer from a mental disorder and hear it tossed around so casually. I encourage all of us to be weary about the language we utilize and understand that mental illness is real.

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