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Is Happiness Really a Choice?

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  • #43880
    Kateleigh
    Participant

    I think I am in the toughest time of my life thus far.

    I have a lot of people tell me that I can just “choose” to be happy… and it just frustrates me even more!

    I have been struggling in a relationship (with an ex) because we signed a lease on an apartment together and we’re bound to it. I love him with all my heart, but I made a lot of mistakes a couple years back. He isn’t trying to make my life difficult, he is just being an ex. And it breaks my heart to wake up every morning with that reminder. He will be affectionate with me (snuggles, kisses, hand holding), but then he’ll go out one night and say that “his single life is none of my business,” Because of this, I become extremely jealous and angry, and then am a total bitch to him.

    When we aren’t competing, we’re wonderful.

    I don’t even know if he wants to be with me… but I have no where else to go. And neither does he and in my heart I am not about to be the one to make him homeless.

    On top of that, I have been having some serious health problems since January, with no answers. I have had so many blood tests and been on medications and some will work for a bit and then it’ll come back. My symptoms have greatly increased and it makes it difficult to do day-to-day activities. I also have a genetic mutation that mimics bipolar, and I don’t have the money for the medication…

    Because I lost my job in July. They said I was a wonderful employee but they just didn’t want me working there anymore. I have unemployment, but the bills are stacking up and my back account overdraws at least once or twice a month, resulting in fees. I don’t even have money to buy shampoo. I spend a couple of hours PER DAY applying for jobs. Since July, I have applied for nearly 75 jobs, all of which I am fully capable of doing, and have only received 3 interviews, none of which panned out.

    I have done Power of Attraction practices, I have tried to “just be happy”… but how can I choose to “just be happy” if I didn’t choose to be unhappy? I do not wish to be one of “those people” who sit in their sorrows, but I seriously don’t know what else I can do. Everything in my area, activities, etc. cost money or gas, neither of which I have. My friends have their own lives they have to deal with, whether it’s work or family or just life in general.

    I did not choose this life for myself. I want SO BADLY to be happy because I feel like I never have been.

    Help. Please. All I could do as I wrote this was just cry.

    Thank you.

    Kate

    #43889
    Amit
    Participant

    Hi Kate,

    All I can say is that let go.

    Here’s a little story of my life. As a kid I remember that I tried catching butterfly’s but most of the times when i caught them I would end up hurting them or not catching them. Then when i got tired and sat down in the field, i noticed that the butterfly’s came and sat on me. That was the last thing i ever expected.

    The take from this story is that sometimes when we want something really bad, we end up either stuffing it up or not getting it. Letting go and calming our mind and soul sometimes helps us get what we want.

    Meditate and connect with yourself and let go. You will attract all you want. Clear all thoughts.

    Hope this was helpful in some way.

    Amit

    #43911
    Lindsay
    Participant

    Being happy is a choice, but perhaps not in the way that you think. When a person is happy, they can still feel a full range of emotion. But it also means that you actively recognize the parts of your life that are holding you back, and you make choices to eliminate those parts.

    I understand that you cannot get out of your lease. But you can make decisions to stop torturing yourself. One option is to try to find someone to sublease. Or to stay periodically with friends or family just to get time away from your ex, since that can be a stressful situation. If it’s a one bedroom and simply not an option to sublease, then you can accept that you two are broken up. You say that you don’t know if he wants to be with you… YES, you do know. You just don’t like the answer. He does not want to be in a relationship; he likes being single. You broke up. So stop acting like a couple! Stop the cuddling, stop the kissing, stop the handholding. If he doesn’t want to be in a relationship, then don’t be in a relationship with him! This is part of being happy: making hard decisions that are aligned with the present and future that you want and deserve. I’m pretty sure that being strung along by a wishy washy ex does not align with those visions. Perpetuating it is self-torture.

    Health issues may be beyond your control or finances. But you can still be mentally at peace with your life, which is what happiness is. Plenty of people are terminally ill and in pain, yet are happy. Practice meditation, practice self-love and loving kindness, do walking meditation, join groups on meetup to help (and to simply get out of your house).

    The job market sucks right now. You are lucky that you have some support from unemployment, but I do understand that it is not enough to cover bills. Once your lease is up, you may need to drastically downsize. Get a studio, get roommates, move to another part of town that is cheaper, etc. Keep applying — frustrating I have no doubt, but it’s not just you going through this bad market. It’s no reflection of you, even if it feels like it sometimes.

    I’m not trying to be hard on you. I do get what a crappy position you are in right now. And I spent many many years “wanting” to be happy, without ever actually being happy. When you said you want to be happy and “feel like you never have been,” that struck a chord with me. That was me for MOST of my life. It basically comes down to a lack of self-awareness and a lack of understanding your self-worth. Happiness isn’t an absence of negative feelings. It is a contentment with yourself; it is a fundamental appreciation of who you are, what you deserve, what you give to the world, and what you have control over (which isn’t much). You will never be happy until you figure these things out. And you will never make decisions that are aligned with these values (and with happiness) until you figure these things out.

    Therapy is obviously the best option, which I understand you probably can’t afford right now. But it’s not your only option and it’s not a miracle worker either. You have to do hard work in therapy. You can do that hard work on your own. Some books to consider reading: Feeling Good by Dr. David Burns, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh.

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 4 months ago by Lindsay.
    #43918
    Becky
    Participant

    Katie,

    I’m sorry about your situation, it sucks. Of course it’s hard to be happy when all the crap keeps getting you down. I get it, I’ve also been unemployed since July. It’s not easy and it’s hard to remain positive. I think it’s healthy to vent and feel sorry for yourself sometimes, it’s natural when life gets really difficult. What is not healthy is to remain in that place of feeling sorry for yourself too long. It helps nothing.

    This is my advice,
    *Do something nice for yourself each day, doesn’t need to cost money. (paint your nails, watch a funny movie, call a friend, exercise, look up funny youtube videos and laugh) It’s important to take care of yourself and love who you are.

    *Meditate, pray, think positively and let go of worry. There is no use in worrying, it only makes you feel worse. Just do the best you can. I struggle too.

    *Have a mantra you repeat in your head over and over. Like for me (I’m strong, I can handle this, I will get what I want.) The mind is a powerful thing, if you repeat this often, your whole outlook will change, I promise you. You don’t need to spend money seeing a therapist.

    *Keep in mind that this a small piece of your life journey, this too shall pass. You will get through this and be a stronger person because of it.

    Girl just keep on trying and things WILL look up. Best of luck!
    ~Becky

    #43944
    Pat Merritt
    Participant

    Dear Katie,
    I’m so sorry that you are having difficult times. I understand how overwhelming bad times can be and despite the fact that we should just – LET GO, God I’m starting to hate that phrase), moving through complicated situations with complicated relationships – is just NOT EASY. So I just want to validate your experience. It sucks, it’s painful and confusing – and I think the place to start is to acknowledge what you feel. Just give yourself permission to be affected by your situation – which is just reality – we all are affected by our lives – people and circumstances – and yes we have a CHOICE to react or respond – but sometimes we are blind sided – and the shit is so thick – that we just get stuck for awhile. But the worst thing, I think, is to have someone TELL you what you should be doing or what you should not be feeling.
    This is your life – and your experience. We cannot change what we don’t acknowledge. So for now, just acknowledge your situation and your feelings. How else can you know what is right for you – until you know your own truth.
    You will be able to move through this, at whatever pace serves you. And you will be so proud to look back and see all you were able to accomplish. As a nurse, I would like to suggest that you contact your local clinic or health department and ask to speak to a nurse in your community. She can provide resources that can help you get on track and because money is an issue, you may qualify for low cost or free counseling services. If you need medication, every pharmaceutical company as what they call and indigent program whereby they provide free medication to people who qualify financially. No one should go without medical and/or mental health treatment due to lack of finances and insurance. Check out health clinics in your area, public health and ask to be evaluated for assistance.
    That will take an enormous amount of energy – with calls and appointments at first. So your first priority is to get help and get healthy. From there you can begin to look at what other steps and or life boundaries may be right for you.
    When life is this overwhelming it helps to guide someone into identifying their challenges – then prioritizing them. We can’t do everything all at once no matter how much we want to or need to.
    I’ve always found it helpful to journal – it gives me an outlet for my feelings and identifies for me what issues I’m dealing with. You have all the wisdom you need – right inside of you – so trust in your ability to access it. It will come. But there is no doubt that life can get us tangled up like a kitten with ball of yarn.
    I hope something I said helped and I’m here to listen – should you just need an ear.
    Keep up the good work – you are doing the best you can. Just reach out for help and get healthy – the rest will come. Peacefully, Pat

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