The Unsustainability of Happiness - Combating feeling stuck post COVID
August 20, 2021
May we always long for more happiness. Life is far too hard and far too short not to.
In our quest to experience happiness we begin to recognize the unstable nature of this desire. Simply put, happiness does not last forever. This past year many of us experienced our fair share of setbacks and unforeseen obstacles. Even when joy and happiness were on the horizon, long awaited accomplishments often went uncelebrated. So while our lives should have been changing, everything remained relatively the same.
Leaning into happiness and hard lessons learned along the way.
As we wrestle to pick up the pieces of our pre-pandemic life and move forward in the new life we are forming "post-COVID", striving to remain true to ourselves is the only way we can really avoid living in stagnation.
1) Your community is coming.
Before, during, and even after 2020 it was only natural to feel some level of isolation. We underwent a year of not seeing those that we love most on a consistent basis. We were also put in a situation where we weren't really able to develop new relationships. Our lives as we knew it were stagnate.
Feelings of isolation are real and scary. We all want to belong and feel wanted, yet that only comes after we do the hard work of relational building. While it's an active choice to get closer to others, past hurt in and by community makes it harder to fully open up to others. We must be patient with ourselves and use our time alone towards self development.
The people we surround ourselves with are an absolute reflection of who we are currently or who we find ourselves becoming. While there is so much truth in this statement, oftentimes that truth is hard to accept. We must remember we have control over who gets our energy, and it's an absolute privilege for others to share our energy. We must work towards the desires we want to become our reality, and we do this by staying true to ourselves and our values, and remember those who are truly meant to be in our life will be in it now, will find their way back to us, or are coming.
2) Dare to Dream
Our future depends on our aspirations, so we must give ourselves permission to envision the life we always wanted. COVID may have felt like a major setback for many, but it also allowed many of us to use this time to muster up the courage to pursue the life we always wanted, the life destined for us. Dreaming doesn't immediately change our reality but it can inspire us to want better. If we ever find ourselves stagnate, we have to dream. Dream of the lives we always wanted without the limits we put on ourselves or society places on us. We have to ask ourselves tough questions such as what in our current reality are we doing to achieve that which seems so unachieveable? Only then can we make the necessary changes. It's more than okay to want more, to want different for our lives. Transitioning what we love to do into sustainable income may be hard but it'll be worth it. Let's never neglect to ask ourselves what happens when we dare to dream. We'll find out the possibilities are endless.
3) Kindness without boundaries is self-sabotage.
Boundary setting is probably one of the most uncomfortable self-work we have to do. It's awkward, it's personal, but it's important. Often we struggle to articulate boundaries because we fear being unliked, we fear not being seen as cool, and we fear creating unwanted tension and conflict. While these are very real reasons that can deter us from boundary setting, lack of boundaries only leave us unhappy. We have all the power- the power to address actions that no longer serve us and conversations that only stagnate our growth. Only we know what we really want. Only we know what we really need. It is not someone else's job to define that for us.
As working from home became our new norm, the notion of boundaries became a very blurry and slippery slope. Work life slowly infiltrated home life and work became more of an around the clock job than a 9am-5pm commitment, and home life never quite got the attention it deserved. Our boundaries are a direct reflection of our values. They are not simply a protective mechanism to avoid future hurt- they are an indication of our overall wellbeing. So while I cannot promise that the task will be easy, we must all do the hard work of setting necessary boundaries. We'll all be better for it.
4) Be able to pivot.
Inflexible people get left behind (period). This idea is one of the hardest to accept. Our world has experienced one of the greatest, life altering health crises of its time. Yet some of us still struggle to give up control, to acknowledge life has changed, to simply pivot. It is not advisable to compromise on everything. That is never the solution and not something that should ever be asked of us. We cannot operate as stiff, rigid, ignorant beings. We are only as stuck in our situation as we allow ourselves to be, so let's aim to become unstuck by becoming ever-learning.
The world is opening up and maybe we don't want to live how we did pre-pandemic. Honestly, we shouldn't. Life is different now, but most importantly we are different now. Life is ever-moving. Our willingness and openness to pivot ensures we will not be left behind, and that's pretty amazing.
Letting go of Stagnation
Happiness is something we all naturally yearn to have and to be. As we hold onto the moments where we felt happiest, we indirectly acknowledge those moments where our pain was the deepest. However, when we lean into what it means for us to be happy, we naturally become unstuck. No more stagnation, settling, or minimizing our dreams. No more forgetting to dream altogether, blurry boundaries, rigidity, or lack of pivoting. Rather, as we choose to chase happiness, we'll find out there's so much left of it to discover.
Stagnation is no longer an option; so "if all you can do is crawl, start crawling". - Rumi
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