Why Aren’t I happy!? How Happiness relates to Emotion
For reasons I can’t quite put my finger on, I received a lot of adverse reactions to the comic above once I dropped it. If we’re being real, unbeknownst to themselves, the vast majority of the people on this planet, especially here in America, are kind of depressed as fuck.
That being said, when I say “happy” I’m not talking about fleeting spurts of feel good feelings. I’m more so speaking to contentment – calm – peace, which I feel a very small portion of people are even ABLE to achieve because it has little to do with the things, feelings, activities etc., that we generally associated with “happiness”. Unfortunately, we’ve been taught to see happiness in terms of the paradigm in which live—the system in which we function—terms that will forever keep us reaching towards something just beyond the river bend:
Once I get this raise.
Once I find the career that I want.
Once I finish school.
Once I move – travel.
Once I find the love of my life.
Once I get better friends.
Once I cop this or cop that –
Then, and only then, will I be “happy”. On the first train to easyyyy street. Owwww! Gonna need a strong arm – a wrench – some wire and a whollllle lot of time to stop me from smiling.
But nah. All of these things are fleeting. The external is fleeting.
I don’t want you to ask yourself if you’re happy. That’s beside the point. Ask yourself if you’re content.
Are you often angry?
Do you go from zero to one hundred real quick? i.e. are you easily shaken?
Are you stressed?
Do you feel like something’s missing?
Do you feel like you have bad luck?
Do you feel like you’re in control?
Are you the “you” that you want to be?
Are you working towards it?
Do you even know what that means?
These are the questions you should be asking yourself. Because answering them will move you closer to understanding what “happiness” truly is, or rather, what we’re generally alluding to when we say it, which is contentment – calm – peace.
“Happy” is an emotion. Emotions come and go. Being angry, being sad, being happy, excited, in love – they’re all simply states of being. States we should feel, know, express, and be comfortable doing so. A lot of the problems we have within our relationships with one another—arguing, bottling, lying, abuse—all stem from not knowing what to do with our emotions. We’re not taught what to do – how to harness them. Not in school, not by our families. All this to say, why should we know what it truly means to be happy – calm – at peace if we’ve never seen it? And/or have forgotten how it feels?
Because, naturally, we once knew. If you grew up in a moderately healthy household you KNOW what happiness is. It’s childhood. It’s swinging from tree branches, skipping rocks, looking up at the stars. It’s stress and worry free.
The bulk of us have bought into this lie that life has to be unbearable at times: that’s life. Rent’s due. Mom’s got laid off. Grandpa’s sick. Mufucker’s got ebola. That’s life. And life sucks sometimes.
And that’s real. Life some tragic shit. However, it doesn’t have to be (at least not all the time). And that’s where we’ve been caught up. We’ve accepted pain and heartache as an essential and
constant part of life. And it’s the most fucked up, manipulative lie ever told. If we think pain and heartache is a natural byproduct of living, we won’t actively try to reduce its impact on our lives. Not to say real things aren’t going to happen—that you won’t brush up against some hurt er’now again, you have to take the light with the dark. I’m saying the treasure lies in not dwelling in the pain—in learning how to react to these situations—these external factors and stressors—in a healthy and productive way. It’s taking control of your emotions as opposed to allowing them to take control of YOU.
We’ve been lead to believe we ARE our emotions. I’m depressed. I’m bipolar. I’m just an angry no-nonsense mufucker. No. You are none of these things. That’s just how you’re reacting to this world. This world we’re not built for, literally.
We’re not built to spend our days doing menial tasks, to learn by rote memorization, to be sedentary, to spend our days surrounded by concrete, walking on concrete, to be disconnected from each other and rest of nature, to eat fake food, to wake up to screeching sounds, to be stressed, exhausted, overworked, underpaid, to sell, to buy, to be lied to, controlled, quelled, pacified, to not think—hence the many adverse affects it’s having on us and the world we inhabit.
A dope spiritual youtuber, Matt Kahn, once said, and I paraphrase, “Extreme expressions of emotion (the ego) is like our soul having an allergic reaction to living.”
Bah! That was a horrible paraphrase.
Essentially what he was getting at is the fact that we’re not exactly built to deal with the trauma—the stress living puts us through at times, so we often react in adverse ways. In other words, we be trippin.
But we don’t have to “be” our emotions. We don’t have to be “out of control”. It just takes a little bit of training—some reframing. And it’s a life long job. It’s not only deciding to ask the big – hard questions. It’s deciding to find the answers for them as well.
Why am I angry?
Why am I stressed?
How can I change this?
What ACTION can I take?
We create our realities. How we maneuver through life—the “luck” we have, the opportunities we’re presented with, the obstacles were put up against, everything—is determined by how we approach life. We’re magnets. The energy/ vibe we put out, the thoughts we allow to frequent our minds all contribute to the reality in which we live. When our minds are working on “happy”, so to speak, it’s incredibly efficient. We’re more creative, charged up, and better able to make the moves necessary for our own progress. Whereas, if you’re a negative Nancy, odds are, you have a lot negative experiences. One of the many little known paradox’s of life – who knew reacting negatively to negative events would breed more negativity? And vice versa? Who’da thunk it? But that’s really how it is. Not to say you should police yourself, because who needs that. But it’s necessary to be aware—to be conscious of your thought patterns and the emotions associated with them.
I’ve come to the conclusion that emotion is one of the many devices (along with synchronistic events, dreams, visions, etc) our unconscious mind uses to communicate with our conscious mind. Much like a baby cries to communicate with its parents. When were stuck in a particular state, we have to pause and think to ourselves – what is (god, the universe, source, spirit – whatever you feel it is that connects you to the All) trying to communicate to me? What am I trying to communicate to myself? Because obviously something’s askew: it’s not natural to be dealing with dis-ease. Being plagued by negative emotion is a disease of the spirit, (which often manifest’s itself as a physical disease – post for another day). It disease we often try and remedy through self-medication/ addiction. Maybe you eat really good food to heal yourself, perhaps you’re looking for love in all the wrong places for your fix, maybe you smoke hella bud, drink, be xanned out, party all the time, video game yourself to death, got 27 pornhub links in your recent sites cache, drown yourself in success, or religion – we all try and fill this gap in our own way.
Whatever the case may be, it’s paramount that we learn how to be in tune with our emotions and ourselves—what we want, what we need, what we’re here for, as opposed to what we’ve been told we’re here for—if “happiness” – content, calm, peace – is ever to be reached, fully.
And by doing so—actively seeking “happiness” – contentment – calm – peace – PURPOSE. Perhaps . . . in time, we’ll begin to see the world we all want to live in unfold right before our eyes.
Until next time, good vibes and groovy spaces.