Scanning through multiple emails from the last few months, I noticed an interesting theme in reader and listener stories: the pursuit of happiness and the trouble that people get into along the way, which then results in questioning why they’re not happy, whether they ever will be happy, and, based on past experiences, whether their upbringing, past experiences, mistakes, appearance etc., mean that their future happiness potential is and always has been ‘capped’.
There’s a hell of a lot of pressure, both internal and external, to be happy, and of course, feeling happier is a good thing, it’s just that pursuing it as if it’s a static destination or the flash car, house or job that you finally land after much blood, sweat and tears, is making us very unhappy. Thinking about happiness a lot is causing many of us to beat ourselves up, questioning whether we’re ‘good enough’.
We judge the way that we feel and where we’ve been, by comparing us to others and holding us to an imaginary gold standard of happiness.
We look at other people and wonder why they find happiness so ‘easy’ and we try things out and wonder why certain feelings still come to us, prompting us to question whether it’s worth the effort. It’s tempting to settle for less, convincing ourselves that some crumbs is better than no crumbs, even though this only results in us feeling far worse. So, where does that leave us?
Here’s what I’ve learned, and I say this as someone who only started feelings her feelings just before I started Baggage Reclaim nearly 11.5 years ago: Being happy isn’t natural for some of us because we’ve adopted certain coping and survival habits due to past experiences, causing us to be out of touch with our feelings and who we are, but to also be primed for the other shoe to drop when we find ourselves in good situations, something that we gradually grow out of as our confidence increases but also as we recognise our resilience.