Recovering from Unhappiness 101

 

Fear is constant. There’s no guide, rules or regulations on how to manage or change it. We are lucky to live in an era where we can search online for answers and spiritual books on “how to”. At the end of the day, our thoughts dictate our well-being.

I’ve felt unhappiness at a very young age. Traumatic experiences can alter a person’s emotional state dependent on the level of severity. Multiples can drastically screw you up. As I got older, I began to try anything and everything possible to change this unhappy silent girl. From surrounding myself with loud and adventurous people to playing music, focusing on school and seeing a therapist. As a teen, I would go out radically and observe. I mastered a poker face for the sake of others. But deep within, I was drowning. In my early twenties, I began chasing money. I thought having it would eliminate an adamant stressor and I would never have to depend on anyone else ever again. Trust is another essential pillar that I won’t get into this time around; suffice to say there was zero of it in me.

It wasn’t until I ran out of excuses when I realized the lack of improvement in my well-being. I was worse off than where I had started out at a job that absolutely drained my spirit. For a moment, I noticed the fear within me. It was terrifying. Usually, I was always quick to shut it off. But this time, I let it sit with me. I had suffered incredibly dark nights for years. I wasn’t ready to suffer another. So, I welcomed it and began asking it questions. “What do you want from me? Why are you still here? What are you afraid of in this moment?” The simple act of acknowledgment brought relief and serenity for that moment. I was able to sleep that night.

Throughout time, my thoughts became dominant and in control of my being. They were ready to destroy me. I know what it feels like to want it to be over, so the pain can stop. But my Being wouldn’t let it. It saved me and here’s how.

I kept arguing with my thoughts. I’m sure everyone unconsciously has done this. “I’m hungry, what should I eat. Maybe something healthy. I can make a salad or sandwich. But I don’t want that. Maybe Pizza? I can always do pizza. No but that’s a bad idea. I’m not sure…ugh I knew I should have meal prepped for the week!” It was this type of conversation with the self that wouldn’t leave me alone. It’s incredibly important to be aware of this. Pay attention to where your thoughts are coming from. That voice kept telling me “there’s more for you” and “this isn’t it, keep trying” and “if you’re gone, everyone around you will be heart broken, do you want to be the cause of that?” No, my being is still alive and kicking. This was long before I began practicing meditation, so I know it’s possible to control and listen to your thoughts early on.

Fear prevents you from living. Most of the time, you’re not even aware of it. It’s what keeps you in that “safe” environment alone in your room. It tells you to check your Instagram or Twitter regularly to feel like you’re not alone without having to talk to anyone. Fear creates a small comfortable bubble of security and it stops you from living a mindful life. In his book “Fear”, the wonderful teacher Thich Nhat Hanh writes, “We’re always looking for the ‘right’ conditions that we don’t yet have to make us happy. We ignore what is happening right in front of us. We look for something that will make us feel more solid, more safe, more secure. But we’re afraid all of the time of what the future will bring – afraid we’ll lose our jobs, our possessions, the people around us whom we love. So we wait and hope for that magical moment – always sometime in the future – when everything will be as we want it to be. We forget that life is available only in the present moment.”

The answer to happiness is literally right in front of us. Right now. When you practice being with yourself, you begin to create a relationship with the self, full of awareness and self-reflection. It’s ugly at first. Especially if you’ve ignored any pain and fear within you. Fear will try to stop you every step of the way. “this is stupid, you can’t, you won’t, you don’t have time for this etc…” If you push those boundaries and learn to accept all that is in you, you will find the most peaceful space you will ever encounter.

I’ve felt it a small number of times. It’s the reason I tagged this as a 101 class. I’m still learning and growing. I’m here to say it is well worth your time to invest in your spiritual awakening and happiness.

M.