Stop Chasing Happiness
I often find it hard to be so vulnerable; I tend to keep my feelings and emotions (well, the super personal ones) to myself. I'm a internalizer. Most of the time; I feel a certain way, internalize it and move on. Its something that I'm trying to work on; but I've always been told to hold my head up and stay strong. Recently I took a Peloton ride with Ally Love and she said "I'm not happy, I'm joyous." At first I thought it was so weird for her to not be "happy", I was confused. Then she continued on and said "happiness is so reliant on the weather. If it's sunny people often say they're happy. If it rains, they're sad". Its so true. I was on this mission to find happiness. But, what I've realized is that I need to find JOY.
So, on this mission to finding my Joy; (which is literally like 5 minutes ago). I've been in a massive slump. I've experienced bouts of depression and have always battled anxiety. But, this feeling is something entirely new for me. I can usually pull myself out of being "sad" or can go for a run to move past it - why? because I was never 'allowed' to have this feeling for too long. I had to be the strong one.
This feeling recently, has been intense. A lot all at once and I feel like no one can even begin to comprehend what I'm feeling and/or going through. Maybe it's because I cannot clearly communicate the exact feeling; or maybe it's because those close to me have no idea how/what this feels like. But; the only way I can describe this feeling which is so often used; that the world is collapsing all around you and you have elephants sitting on your chest, shoulders, back; etc. Its such a cliche; but, its true.
I've had a lot of life changing events lately and that is a lot of what has caused this. New home, changes with my job, a 17 month old and just everyday life curveballs. Recently, I've felt like I've lost complete control of my life. Hard for me, as I love control. But, what I've realized throughout this entire process; is that I was chasing something thats circumstantial - happiness. What I needed to chase...Joy.
Joy is simply defined as: a feeling of great pleasure
It's not tied to an event or a weather pattern. I needed to find joy in all of these moments in my life; embrace the chaos and look back at everything that I've accomplished. For example:
1. New Home - I knew I would buy a dream home at some point, I knew that I wanted to work hard towards it. But, what I didn't expect it to be - where I'm living now. To the scale and the fact that I qualified for this house on my own. MY OWN. Thats Joy. That's straight bad-assery. Upside, we can save my husbands credit for a beach house (ha!)
2. Changes in my job - This has been harder to embrace. But, change is good - or maybe its opening doors and showing you who people really are. Maybe I needed that awakening. Joy. Joy, that I have a job and an opportunity to witness the changes.
3. My 17 month old - She may be a handful, but she is literally the most perfect angel I've ever witnessed. She may test me; but you know what, I need her to do that. I need to know that I'm capable of the type of mother I want to be. Joy. Joy, that I can be her mother and that God has blessed me with her and the ability to cuddle her whenever I (well, let's be honest...when she) wants.
All of these things at their core bring me joy. They my not make me "happy" all day, every day and I may get upset and overwhelmed. But, at the end of the day - I don't want happiness. I want Joy.
Sure, it's totally OK to get down and experience emotions. Hell, I went to bed on Monday at 7:30pm, cried when I woke up and tried to find motivation for the day. It's OK. But, remember what you really want out of life and stop chasing something that is circumstantial. But, during those hard moments, here are some things I've used to get me through them.
1. Music - turn off the shit TV. Stop watching fake life. Listen to music and dance around. I usually play this playlist --> iwokeuplikethis
2. Workout - Surprisingly, finding the motivation to workout during this time was hard for me. What I told myself, just go for a 20 minute run. 20 minutes, is nothing. You can do it. It may not be what you planned for that day, but just that slight surge in heart rate will increase your endorphins and you know what the great Elle Woods said.."Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy, happy people just don't shoot their husbands!”
3. Get Ready - Put your face on, do your hair, wear your favorite outfit and go somewhere. Leave. Get out of the house. If you're at the office, go out to lunch. Strut your shit and own it.
4. Eat/Drink - Ok, I know that they say alcohol is a depressant. But, for me - it gives me a chance to breathe. A time to take a second for myself. Now, I'm not saying finish bottles and drink every night. But, have a glass of wine and eat ice cream. Be present and enjoy that moment. But remember, don't beat yourself up afterwards.
5. Write 3 things you're grateful for - Jot it down, really. Cliche AF. But, it's true. I write 3 things I'm grateful for and tell myself how amazing I am. Basic - but it works and I'm ok with being basic.
See, now you have the magic trick. I'm kidding. I'm not saying this will fix all the worlds problems; but at least it gets you pointed in the right direction and gives you a little glimpse into what I'm going through and how I cope.
Keep your chin up, friends.