I gave up on happiness awhile ago.
I know that sounds depressing, but trust me, it’s one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done.
For our entire lives, happiness is presented to us as the ultimate purpose of the human experience.
It’s what songs are written about. It’s what the annoying girl in your class says she wants to be when you’re all talking about what you want to do when you grow up. (Really Emma??? You wanna be HAPPY?)
It was a word I used to identify with deeply.
But for the past two years, it’s gotten harder to hold onto. I can’t grasp it like I used to.
Life got harder, I guess. Life got real.
And honestly, I just became aware.
I’ve always used my platforms to document my inner world. To try and make sense of it. To set down what feels too heavy.
Sometimes people say to me, “how can you post things like that?” in reference to my vulnerability.
“I could never.” They’ll tell me in horror.
...I simply became aware.
I became aware that while many connected with the heaviness I sorted into words, it also made some people uncomfortable. How openly I addressed my anxiety & depression. Sad people make other people...uncomfortable. It’s just the truth.
But trust me, as someone who previously identified as a “happy person,” no one was more uncomfortable than me.
I felt like an unwelcome guest in someone else’s home.
I tried to outsmart my own brain. Desperate to get back to a place of happiness.
Affirmations. Yoga. Retreats. Self help books. I was open to try anything. And I tried everything.
I remember telling someone in my life about a new form of therapy I was really excited about.
They replied, “I hope this one works.”
I know they meant no harm by the comment, the exact opposite I’m sure. But damn, that replayed in my head the entire winter.
“I hope this one works.”
“This one.” as if there was nothing else to show for the last year. Is that really how other people saw me? An endless “project”? Someone needing “fixing”?
The only thing worse than raw-dogging life, when you should be getting help, is other people knowing that you’re raw-dogging life and should be getting help.
I’m terrified of people getting sick of me. It’s my biggest fear. People leaving. Not being able to handle me and the depths of my waters.
And last winter, more than ever, I felt like I was running out of time.
I couldn’t call my friends in tears asking for advice. I couldn’t be honest with my parents about how bad it actually was. I had to stop writing about how sad I was.
Because. People. Will. Leave.
They will get tired of it.
So I continued to chase happiness. Desperately searching around every corner for it.
Happiness was the key in my eyes. It was the answer. It has always been the answer. Happy = loved.
Well the desperate chase ended how a lot of desperate chases do. Crashing and burning. In January, I had a mental breakdown and checked myself into therapy treatments.
I couldn’t fake it anymore. Not even to myself.
Therapy was fantastic. I’ll totally tell you about it sometime. That’s where I gave up on happiness.
It was just too all consuming. The pressure of being a “happy person.”
That’s what I liked about therapy...no one was pretending. No one cares if you’re a “happy person.”
It was a relief, honestly. A break from the roles we all play.
It’s also where I threw out my belief that happiness equals love, and I chose to focus on acceptance instead.
Getting back on your feet after something is tough, and acceptance was a lot less intimidating of a feeling to strive for.
I just wanted to accept where I was at. Each day.
Myself. My body. My emotions. The intensity at which I feel emotions.
I wanted to accept the situation I was in.
The conflicts I faced.
I started to accept others. How they loved. Their capacity for love.
I started to accept things out of my control.
I even started to accept the terrifying thought that some people will leave.
And guess what? some did. some people I loved truly couldn’t handle my deep waters.
And instead of that devastating me like it would before, I attempted to put acceptance into practice.
I want people to love me because of my depth. Not in spite of it.
I realized that being happy isn’t the ultimate purpose in life. If heaven is as good as they say, we’re always going to be happy after this, right?
So in my opinion, we came here to feel. DEEP! Especially the feelings we won’t feel in the afterlife. We’re here to get the full range.
That is the human experience.
So I will never again shame myself for being touched deeply by the things that make me human.
I didn’t need to be fixed.
I never did. I really just needed to accept the part of me that believed that in the first place.
That I needed fixing.
I needed deep acceptance.
And what I’ve found with acceptance, is that it’s a great weapon against shame. In fact, it completely dissolves it.
There is no shame around my journey anymore.
I can share my heart freely, now.
Which is why I’m back. I’m back to my blog...my safe place ;) I’m ready to share what I’ve been learning.
Today is Sunday. My favorite day of the week. I slept in and then I got in the bath and read for an hour. By the time I got out, Magnus and Tinius was up, and mom & dad were making a late breakfast. I joined them in the breakfast making while listening to “the heart of the matter” by Don Henley playing softly on the radio in the background. I’m so lucky.
Afterwards, I made myself a coffee and went to sit by the fire in our living room while listening to a podcast.
After that, I did a long morning routine. Ice rolling, shaving, exfoliating, washing my hair, tweezing my brows - the full Oscar day prep.
It was lovely. Then I chose a cute outfit, put on my headphones and set out for a walk. I turned on my playlist I made specifically for “fall” and I set out to my favorite little spot.
It was the most magical morning.All the different colors of the leaves. Fall is officially here, and I feel alive again, I really do.
My mornings look a lot like this these days. Slow, dreamy and full of love. I try to turn everything into a ritual. I am now seeking small moments of joy. Picking out my clothes, filling up my favorite water bottle.
Choosing a nail color that excites me, instead of one that will simply match every outfit. I’m touched just as deep by these little moments. And I’ve found that lately I’m fulfilled by these alone. When you’re present enough to celebrate your morning coffee every day, you don’t need a lot. You know you’re not missing out.
Joy > Happiness
Life is just more beautiful now. The more I connect to myself, the more beauty is revealed. The pain is still there, the waters are still deep.
But the depths of joy I feel go even deeper.