It’s not always easy to be happy. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing your perspective. Other times there are things that make that easier said than done. Here’s a few ways you can make it through when your happiness is haunted.
It only takes a few minutes on Facebook or the web to see all the posts talking about positive thinking.
“Keep your face to the sunshine, and you cannot see the shadow.”
“There’s a positive side to everything. It just takes a positive mind to see it.”
“It isn’t who you are, but what you think about.”
These quotes are great, and on the money. Focusing on the negative will not get us positive results. We must actively focus on the positive.
But what do you do when there are things that aren’t so easy to dismiss? What do you do when no matter how positive you try to be, it’s like a car that won’t start? What do you do when your happiness is haunted?
Bootstraps and Boots
Sometimes positive thinking isn’t enough. During the civil rights movement black people were beaten and killed simply for being black. They were mocked, spit on, and harassed. They were denied jobs, housing, and services simply from being black.
As the civil rights leaders worked with the black community and others to protest this injustice, Martin Luther King Jr. had a lot to say and gave a voice to people that were heavily oppressed.
In an interview, a news person pressed King on the idea of simply trying harder. King replied, “it’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.”
Most of us won’t have to experience what black people had to endure or still do today. Yet there were people back then and still today that believe if people in these situations just tried their best, everything will be okay. Sometimes there are things that are beyond our control. Sometimes there are situations where we have no boots.
When Your Happiness Is Haunted
There might be times in life when positive thinking won’t fix the problem*. There might be times when it feels like you have no boots. There might be times when the darkness seems overwhelming. I get it. I’ve lived through abuse, depression, and loneliness. Here are a few things I’ve found that help:
- Keep Going: As the saying goes, “if you find yourself in hell, keep going”. You need to find ways to make progress even when you don’t feel like it. When you’re out of the darkness, you’ll be in a much better position. I’ve found a way to move forward even on my darkest days. One way to do that is with distraction.
- Find Distraction: There are different types of distraction. For instance I’ve found when I don’t want to do mundane tasks, I can throw on the TV and listen to a show while I work. Another thing I do is find fun breaks. I also choose to work the tasks that are harder to do when I have the energy and easiest to do when I don’t. And sometimes distraction is just distraction; taking a break from it all when you need a break.
- Seek Help: If you need help, get it. Don’t wait. But you also need to find people that will love and support you as well. When your happiness is haunted, don’t run through the spooky woods alone; bring a friend.
Sometimes life is tough. It doesn’t mean it will always be that way. Keep going, find ways to stay energized with distractions, and seek help from friends and professionals. Happiness may not always be ready to find, but there are ways to make it to it.
* If you are always in the position where positive thinking is enough, this isn’t just because of the power of positive thinking. It’s your circumstance as well. One third of the world doesn’t have proper sanitation and drinking water. There is still slavery. There is still abuse, and people stuck in situations out of their control. If you can fix all your problems with positive thinking, then you are blessed beyond measure! Stop preaching positive thinking to others, roll up your sleeves, and help.