Why All Happiness Advice Is Crap (Unless You Use It)
I’m going to tell you a little secret: I’m kind of a fraud.
At least, that’s what I feel whenever I’m stressed and not 100% happy.
Just like everyone else, I get the blues at times. Because I run this blog, whenever I’m down in the dumps, I imagine one of you telling me:
“Marcella, you write about happiness all the time, but — you don’t look very happy right now. What the fake?!”
To be honest, I know quite well that I’m not a fraud and that I’m doing all I can. But the emotions — of not being good enough, of not being where I want to be, of not being a good Leader to all of you — are straight up bullshit.
Those feelings aren’t serving me, are they?
This is a lesson for me: it’s tough to receive happiness advice because it’s tough to put it to use.
Instead of throwing this opportunity away, I’m taking it — to become better for all of you.
Create Your Own Happiness
One of the best lessons I’ve learned in my short twenty-six years on this planet is the following:
Nobody is going to create your happiness. It’s all up to you, homeslice.
Facing that was kind of a shocker. I grew up thinking there was a Happily Ever After Husband, Job, and Attitude that just waltz in and sweep me off my feet.
Granted, I did get the Happily Ever After Husband. But I sure am glad I didn’t wait around for that Job or Attitude. I’d still be sitting around waiting.
Instead, I created that Dream Job. I created that Dream Attitude. I created my life.
I ninja-ed the crap out of what people told me my life was “supposed to be like” — and I created my own awesome version instead.
I make my own happiness, tucked into little corners of my life. Like when I steal food from JJ’s plate, and the photographer is the one to catch me.
Sorry, Jdawg, I’ll buy you a cupcake. You look pretty nifty in a tux, don’t you? Distracted you, didn’t I!
Or when I fly to funky conferences to talk to people I meet on the inter webs.
Or when I wake up before dawn to write a book for an audience that may not exist.
Or when I make funny voices, play airdrums on the treadmill, and sing at the top of my lungs in the car.
You may think I’m strange. You’re probably right. I’m totally weird — and proud of it.
Isn’t there beauty in that?
Take Notes & Follow Your Own Advice
There are so many times that I forget my own advice. Negative points for Stupidest Move Ever, I know.
I wonder, “Why is it that I stumble in living my own perpetual vacation?”
Over the course of a few years, I’ve written about finding meaningful work, making it work out on your own, and generally living a life that feels like a vacation. But let’s face it — living that way every single day is tough.
When I look back and analyze the good days, here is what works for me:
WHEN I FEEL STRESSED
- Write out a list of what is making me feel stressed
- Next to each, write out whats steps I could solve it
- Put each step on the calendar — which may change over time, naturally
WHEN I FEEL OVERWHELMED
- Write out a document with these columns: Leads, In Progress, Finishing Up, Party!
- Fill in each column with where your projects are in their timeline
- Find relief in seeing everything laid out in front of you
- Write out what you can do to attend to each project one-by-one
WHEN I FEEL I COULD BE DOING BETTER
- Take out a piece of paper, and write about how I felt before I started this journey
- Write about how I feel now
- Lay out my dream life and exactly what it entails and feels like
- Write out what steps I will take to get there
I could go on, but you get the idea. Instead of falling over myself with worry and unhappiness, I’ll just:
Remember what has worked & then — rinse and repeat.
There is also a small collection of things that make me happy no matter what I’m going through in a given moment. These few things are kryptonite to sadness, weakening it into oblivion. In my life, these few Sadness Busters include:
- My family — I’m aware I mention them on this blog like every single second. It’s because they’re awesome. And good-looking. (See image above.)
- Writing — The scariest act I partake in every single day. Scary because it digs up a side of me I wasn’t aware of before. Scary because it heals so well.
- My peers — This poor group of humans carry me through the toughest times. My very small group of friends make me feel like I’m swimming in a sea of compassion and love. Beat that!
- All of you — The one thing that keeps me toiling away at creating a community for all of you or writing a new book is the connection I somehow forged with all of you reading this. How this happened, I’m not sure — but we’re tight now, aren’t we?
Make Of It What You Wish
You see that picture above? It’s Granada’s Cathedral, beautiful in its shocking yellow paint. (It used to be white, I think.) It’s vibrant and happy. The skies behind it, though, are dark and grey.
So, what do you see — something happy or something bleak?
I choose to see something different, these days. I choose to see this image as it is, with both emotions heavily at play. It really is both — and that’s okay.
Happiness is tough. Life is tough. Everything is tough.
But it’s also so beautiful.
PS. Thanks to everyone who offered to help me review my new book. You are all amazing.
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