There comes a point in time when we as individuals yearn to become more than what we are. We daydream of these rich lands with money raining from the sky, a big old house to call home, and our passion coming to fruition. These “rich lands” are fertilized by the very things that bring us joy, our individual likes and loves. The “money raining from the sky” is what will allow us to live comfortably without continuous worry. Our passion, what we put our heart and soul into, what we dedicate our lives to, that is what we all dream of bringing us prosperity and success. We desperately want out passions to be the sole cause of our success so that way we can thrive in happiness. For a lot of people, happiness is at the center of their day dreams and goals for their life. Without happiness, without laughter, without joy, without smiling, and without a few good people by your side there is no point. When positivity is not flourishing alongside you, there is absolutely no point in striving, sacrificing, or dedicating everything you have to a venture.
One would think that this road to success is paved with golden bricks of happiness and that the footprints of our golden friends would show up by our side. This is not the case though, in fact, once we reach for success and begin to put in the work, we hear snide remarks, see disgusted looks, are subjected to curt responses, and worst of all the gold on our “friends” begins to rust away rapidly; leaving behind remnants of their shimmer and shine on the floor only to be blown away by the wind.
But why? Why does this happen? Why is it that our closest and truest friends unleash this negativity on us when we begin to see successful results in ourselves? Why is it that negativity manifests itself the most in the places that we always felt positivity?
These are loaded questions with various explanations. My opinion is probably the one that is most commonly shared by people. My afterthoughts, however, may be relatively new to people.
First of all, success is a long and sometimes painful process. A lot of us go on this journey without knowing how people will react along the way, how attitudes can change, how we meet new people, and just how pivotal of a step it is in our lives. We often underestimate the journey along the way, thinking it will not change anything, or anyone, or even affect our lives. We always seem to think that the actual moment of receiving that success is what changes our world. This is not the case. You see, what happens is that the journey to success is paved with nothing but lessons that are meant to prepare us for what will be coming up. These lessons vary from person to person, it is all based on what we have yet to learn. This happens though, because before we can really experience this success we have to go through events that will ensure our appreciation and gratitude for that success.
If we find success without bringing along appreciation, then what is the point? We’d simply take it for granted and that is not the point of success and happiness. We can not obtain success and happiness without enduring negativity, in fact, that is why negativity exists. Negativity is alive and breathing because it has a purpose, it’s purpose is to condition us for the all good that is about to come in our lives. Negativity has to make room inside of us, this is often referred to as a “void” or a “gap” for some time.
This is what we tend to try to fill up, yet no matter how much effort we put in, we never seem to be able to fill this void. The void is like an abyss: everything we fill it with becomes unimportant, it frightens us when we begin to look in, and sometimes we become lost in it. We try to fill this gap the best we can, but never really do until we decide to go on our journey of happiness.
This is where the journey comes in, the journey to happiness. Happiness is an interesting little thing, to achieve full happiness within ourselves requires a dedication to ourselves. Jack Kerouac once said,
“So therefore I dedicate myself to myself, to my art, my sleep, my dreams, my labors, my suffrances, my loneliness, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being.”
This quote sums up a lot more than what one would think. It implies that when we focus on others, when we care about what others say, when our lives revolve around people, we cannot be happy. I take this quote a step further and argue the point that we are enablers of negativity if we choose to practice the previously stated things. If we begin to dedicate ourselves to our dreams and passions we will be truly happy, the more we fight that urge to take that first step toward our dreams, the more we oppress ourselves and breed negativity inside of us, a.k.a internal negativity. Once we begin to step forth, toward that dream, we can begin on the road to happiness.
So, we begin our trek, how does that affect the people around us? Aren’t our friends going to remain the same? Here is what happens once you become happy. Some people around you may seem nonchalant toward you. Some may seem more stand-offish. Some may be blunt and be outright rude toward you. Very few will become genuinely happy and excited for you. This will create external negativity. External Negativity is when the negativity is bred outside of yourself, it is due to others attitudes and is not directly caused by you. Let me reiterate, you are not the cause of their negativity, it is due to their own flourishing internal negativity. Their internal negativity is caused by their insecurities finally gaining strength. They will gain strength when the individual witnesses another person beginning to grasp something that they do not have. Most of the time, it is genuine happiness.
If you’ve ever noticed anyone in school or the workplace constantly being talked about despite their happy disposition and kindness, this is the reason. Some people breed internal negativity due to someone else’s positivity simply because they cannot understand how to attain it. They don’t understand why it isn't happening to them and why the other person gets to experience it, this in turn inflates one's insecurities. Once insecurities inflate, egos become more apt to bruise. They bruise because of the common defense mechanism of super-inflating the ego when feeling weak. Of course this has only one outcome: it pops like a balloon. The individual will have outbursts of negativity, lash out, and explode at the other individual who is on the journey. To the individual on the journey it seems completely out of character and shocking. We can’t understand what the actual issue is and so we take these remarks, looks, negative treatment to heart. This makes us want to give up and throw in the towel. If we don’t have our “friends” then why go on?
Well, here’s what happens afterward. When we lose people in our lives, we tend to meet new people we never thought we’d get along with. Generally we meet these people in the overlap period. This is referring to when your current friend(s) are about to exit your life and shortly before they do, you meet the new people (new friends) who will have a significant impact on you. These people tend to show you things you always needed to learn about whatever issues you always seemed to struggle with. Whether it be a point of view, a much needed reality check, or just a good old life lesson about the how the social sphere of human beings works. Eventually, these people surround you more and more; they show you a better, more genuine, and stronger connection than the previous people or person that was in your life ever could. This strength only aids you in your journey to happiness, allowing you to acquire a new found internal strength through the lessons you have been able to learn.
This leads to the second part of why people try to bring you down, or seem more negative than before toward you. With your new found knowledge comes wisdom and personal growth. In short: Maturity. You enter the next phase in your journey where you are now completely focused on your dreams and yourself. Let me interject myself here and assert that this does not mean you are selfish at all. This is no way means you are a self-centered individual. There is no shame in down-sizing your circle of friends, focusing more on your goals, and becoming a better person. This phase in your journey to happiness is where you find who you really are, and most importantly who you want to be. In this phase, you learn about what is really important to you, who makes you happy and why, and your communication style changes. Maturity plays a big factor in your happiness because as soon as you understand there is more to life than petty issues, and people’s overall tendency to be petty in general, you really don’t care about the small things. You are now more focused on what really matters. This is a huge reason why people tend to be mean to you on your journey: you don’t give into their drama baits. Doing this sends a clear message to the other party that you have risen above being hurt by non-essential things and in fact used their negativity to drive you to succeed.
One of the last things I’d like to point out here is that conversion. The conversion of someone’s negativity into your own fuel for success. A lot of people sometimes don’t know what to do with all of these negative remarks. A lot of people shut down, go somewhere else, or give up on their journey. What they need to know is the conversion method. It is absolutely essential to your success on your journey because not only is it redirecting your line of thinking and emotions, but it is changing that external negativity into positivity. It reduces your stress, anxiety, and prohibits you from breeding your own internal negativity.
Now that you’ve done this, you have reached your success! Whether it be getting a new PR in the gym, scoring that new job you wanted, writing that book you’ve been dreaming of, buying that house with a white picket fence, or whatever your heart desires. This journey has led you through ups, downs, losses, and gains, but you have come out as the person you always wanted to be who is wiser, stronger, and happier. By now, the people who were rude to you shouldn’t be on your radar because you now know how to fill your life with positivity, instead of negativity.
This is the journey of happiness and success, it is not paved with gold, but as you go on your trek, you find diamonds now pave your road. In their reflection you see a smile that touches your eyes and you think, “wow...this is happiness”.