“Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the more it will elude you.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
We’ve all been there…thinking we can search for happiness that is external to ourselves.
We chase this and chase that, hoping it’s going to fill whatever void is within us. We hope we will find this elusive happiness and remain happy.
The stark reality is, we won’t, and this can be a brutal lesson to learn if, in fact, we ever get to learn it.
The truth is, the happiness we so desperately seek is within us, but we are not going to feel any sort of sustained happiness until we address the voids, the wounds, and the shadows. Anything other than facing our darkness, feeling what needs to be felt, and dealing with what comes to light is superficial. It’s bypassing. It’s an illusion.
So why do we chase happiness?
We are taught that money and material things are far more important than they really are. We are taught that our relationships should be some sort of a fairytale. We are taught that being vulnerable, speaking of pain and sadness, and showing our authenticity, in all its messiness, is somehow a sign of weakness.
We are taught to get busy, distract ourselves, search for what makes us feel good, all in the hope that we may dismiss any uncomfortable feelings. We learn to bury every f*cking negative feeling we have and continue on our fruitless journey searching for external happiness. I mean, we certainly don’t want to make anyone else uncomfortable by being honest with our feelings.
I’ve seen this constant chasing of happiness—hell, I’ve participated in it. It’s exhausting, and while you will always get a temporary high—a feeling of joy and happiness, it never lasts. Why? Because if you are trying to fill your cup externally, you will never be truly and peacefully happy.
The reality is, we won’t always be happy, and that’s okay. Life happens, and we face pain, sadness, betrayal, confusion, guilt, shame, loss, and grief. Don’t trap yourself into thinking that these things can just be pushed aside. Don’t get caught in the bullsh*t of toxic positivity—the notion that we must always be f*cking happy. Nothing will make you more miserable than lying to yourself and hiding how you really feel.
You will never find happiness in another person if you are attaching yourself to someone in order to complete you or to make you whole. At some point, everything will come crashing down around you—it’s fleeting. If you cannot be happy alone, you have some deep wounds to address.
If you need external validation to make you happy and feel good about yourself, you will be forever be chained to a fence of need and putting your worthiness in someone else’s hands.
You will not find happiness in a better job, more money, a bigger house, more likes, more followers, a better body, a younger face, a bottle, a pill, a snort, a toke, more clothes, another pair of shoes, a new car, or whatever else you think you need to make you happy. Yes, all these things will give you a quick fix, but like any addict, you will be searching for your next hit once all the gloss and shine wears off. That’s the thing with voids; they always need to be filled.
So what makes you happy? You! You make “you” happy. You do the hard work on yourself, you face your own toxicity, you tell the truth to yourself and those closest to you, and you dance with your f*cking shadows and deal with your wounds. You stop sweeping things under the rug and denying how you really feel. You show up for yourself with vulnerability and courage.
Ignore the bullsh*t plastered all over social media of quick fixes and success at all costs. The internet is saturated with advice which, sometimes, is more damaging than helpful. Stop thinking shiny new things will make everything better—they won’t. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else’s highlight reels.
I’ve done the work, and it’s been bloody hard. And at times, it’s been excruciatingly painful. Some days, you will be left gasping for air, and on other days, you will fall asleep exhausted from your overwhelming emotions. But be brave because to get to your destination, you need to go through (not over, not under, not around) but through everything along the way. There are no shortcuts.
Am I always happy? Of course not. I am human. But am I happy within myself? Yeah, I actually am because I’m honest and I know there will always be ongoing inner work to do. I’m not scared of being vulnerable and feeling what needs to be felt. I’ve learned that fear becomes your friend when you finally dare to follow your heart and soul.
My happiness does not come from another person, my job, a bigger house, or other material things. My happiness comes from the knowledge that I’ve owned my sh*t, spoken my truth, walked away from what no longer serves me, and love and trust my tribe, which is reciprocated. It comes from knowing I gave my children a better mum because I chose a different path away from their dad, which allowed me to grow into who I am. It’s following my passions, it’s loving all of me, and each day I look in the mirror, I know I’ve become a better version.
Happiness comes from within, but you need to be in a healthy environment conducive to happiness. Now, I’m in this space, and it’s such a feeling of joy that I walk along the beach, look out across the vast expanse of the ocean, and embody peace, warmth, and glow.
I slowed down and went within, and a remarkable thing happened…happiness found me.
It’s been the longest of journeys, but I have arrived.