Contrary To What You May Have Heard, There Are Multiple Forms Of Happiness, And You Will Find Yours

Contrary To What You May Have Heard, There Are Multiple Forms Of Happiness, And You Will Find Yours

No matter what obstacles you face, you have the power to enjoy your life and live each day purposefully and joyfully.

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There is only one thing that all people want, and that thing is happiness. Happiness — the great aspiration of mankind — should be easy to claim by now. We've desired it from the beginning of time and haven't stopped since, so why haven't we found the "secret formula," or the golden plan for how we can all cultivate it in our lives? The answer to that is because we have yet to abandon false and antiquated beliefs of what happiness is and how to get it. Here are six of the most popular myths the masses perpetuate about happiness.

1. "You have to strive for happiness."

When we speak about happiness, we make it out to be some unattainable, mystical prize that we can only receive after days, weeks, and months of actively seeking it out. When we speak about happiness, we make it seem like something we have to work for instead of something that we already have. Without a doubt, happiness is something that we can cultivate in our lives anywhere and at any time. We don't have to wait or go searching for it. Participating in a hobby, spending time with loved ones, or simply practicing gratitude can be simple ways to find happiness in your everyday life.

2. "Happiness is the same thing as inner peace."

Segwaying from the first point, this is probably the most commonly believed myth about happiness. The main reason people perceive happiness as this great, unattainable thing is because they're misunderstanding what it is. Happiness is defined as simply "the state of being happy." You can be happy at any point in time, regardless of the circumstances you're up against. And like most other emotions, happiness comes and goes, just as it should. People mess up when they think that happiness is a permanent state of being that will make them feel fulfilled, confident in themselves, and at peace with every circumstance in their life. That is not happiness. That is inner peace.

Inner peace is defined as "a deliberate state of psychological or spiritual calm despite the potential presence of stressors." Unlike happiness, inner peace is something that takes a lifetime to achieve, and it can't be attained through any outside sources. But to make it more valuable, it doesn't fade away so easily, either. Going to see a comedy can make someone happy, but it can't help them feel at one with themselves, and that distinction is so important to note. People often sink into depression and feel unhappy because they're lacking inner peace, not happiness.

3. "You can find happiness in other people."

Romantic and platonic love absolutely exist, and being around people you love can definitely make you feel happy. But other people are never responsible for your happiness, and they can't provide it for you. The problem comes in when people rely on others to make them feel content or to bring light into their lives.

Imagine a person who only feels happy when they're with their significant other. What happens to them if the relationship ends? They become a person who loathes being single and uses relationships as a way to validate themselves. They think, "If I just find another partner, then I'll be happy." Happiness isn't defined by people you may or may not have around you. If you find yourself waiting on a specific person or situation to make you happy, then you're looking for the wrong thing.

4. "There is only one type of happiness" or "You can only be happy if your life is perfect."

While there is only one definition of happiness, there are many ways to express it in our own lives. We see images and videos online and in the media, that trick us into thinking that we have to be smiling from ear to ear, enjoying an idealistic and picturesque life, while we shout from the rooftops about how happy we are. While that may be one way to express our happiness, it doesn't mean that's the only way.

Just because you're not doing something adventurous every day or because you don't smile a lot doesn't mean you aren't happy. There is no archetype for a happy person. Happiness is personal for everyone, and we don't have to prove how happy we are or feel like we have to appear a certain way to convey that.

Consequently, what makes one person happy may not make another person happy, so we can't fall prey to societal conditioning that tells us we have to have X, Y, and Z before we become what people believe to be happy. We think that we can only experience true happiness if we attain everything we perceive as desirable: we'll be happy once we reach a certain follower count, or if we finally get that job we've always wanted, or if we lose twenty pounds, etc.

But happiness can't be found in material or superficial things. Sure, if your YouTube account blows up and you get a million followers, you will feel more confident and successful, but the end result will be that you have more money and more opportunities, not more happiness. A person that hasn't learned how to cultivate happiness in their life won't magically figure it out after they earn more money or lose some weight.

5. "Everyone else is happier than you."

In our digital age, it is easy to be bombarded with false images and messages. From the outside looking in, everyone else's life may seem perfect and full of happiness and success compared to yours but that is absolutely not true! People just want you to think that. Social media is an easy way to fool people into thinking your life is great and stress-free. I mean, who wants to share all of their secrets and failures with the world?

However, we must always remember that humans are creatures obsessed with their own self-image. We all like to look happy. The shining difference is that some actually are while others are putting up a facade. Don't compare your life and happiness to anyone else's. It's not a competition. Focus on cultivating happiness in your own life and the rest will fall into place.

6. "You will never find happiness."

No one wants to admit it, but a large population of people live their lives believing they'll never be happy. Some of it stems from the fact that they are chasing inner peace instead, while another part comes from the idea that their current circumstances aren't good enough. No matter what obstacles you face, you have the power to enjoy your life and live each day purposefully and joyfully. The only thing you must do is believe and take action. Happiness isn't hard to find. We only believe that it is. Stop waiting for a fairytale to come true and live your life as it is. Despite what you may think, there are so many things that you can be happy about.

With these 6 happiness myths debunked, cultivating happiness in our own lives should be a lot easier now. When you're feeling unhappy, analyze what is happening in your life and pinpoint whether your unhappiness is stemming from valid issues, or if you're perpetuating flawed beliefs.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Freshman Year Of College Taught Me Important Lessons That I'll Never Forget

What people don't tell you about your first year of college.

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Everyone looks forward to the day he or she walks across a stage and receives a high school diploma. The unlimited possibilities that college will hold for you and the new people you will meet are exciting. Going into college, I didn't know what to expect. I had heard stories on how to make friends, what to do to maintain a social and academic life, and how to not allow the new environment to overwhelm me. However, this did not make my transition into college any easier.

I believe the most important thing l learned that no one told me was the fact that not everyone is going to have the same heart as you, and that's okay. There will be people who will make you question if you made the right decision or if you are doing something wrong. I transitioned from being surrounded by people who had similar qualities as me to people surrounded by people who could not be more different. That is part of the college experience.

Everyone comes from somewhere different and think and act in various ways. College has made me more open to different ideas and allowed me to realize that not everyone will always be kind to you. How other people treat you is not always a reflection of how you treat them. College has taught me to let the little things that bother me go because there is no point to waste time on something that is not going to impact you in a positive manner.

The next lesson I've learned since I started college is that it's okay to be alone; it's even okay to want to be alone. One of the things stressed to me before I started college was to put myself out there and do everything I can do to meet new people. Which I did, and am so glad because I have met some people who I couldn't live without now.

However, that does not mean I never want alone time. For me, I have noticed that in order to focus on myself mentally I need a day or two away from all the commotion that is college. Being alone helps me clear my head and focus on what I need to do in order to be my bests self. I came to the conclusion that being alone and being lonely are two entirely different things, something I did not realize in high school.

Overall, the first semester of college helped me understand myself more. I know that in order to succeed you need to make yourself happy first, not anyone else. No matter how important they are to you. College is a tough transition for anyone, no matter how prepared you think you are. And by putting your needs first, it makes the transition a little easier.

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