November 11, 2015

Stop Chasing Happiness: Be Sad. Be Beautiful. Be Here Now.

clouds, girl, scarf, outside

Warning: naughty language ahead! 

I woke up yesterday morning in the best mood ever—the sun was shining in all its golden glory outside, and I was shining inside, ready to have a beautiful, sun-dappled day.

I felt euphoric and serene, happy as hell, certain I could handle anything. I felt like I could finally breathe from under the toxic cloud of anxiety that’s been hovering over me lately. I sang proudly to my cats and danced around the kitchen as I fried up two eggs, placing a celebratory sprig of parsley on top.

All was merry—that is, until self-doubt trampled through my heart and left me feeling like a ragged puddle of squirming insecurity.

All the goodness, all the yummy joy, all the glittering inspiration—gone in a flash.


And then it was just me, with a bratty snarl on my face, chasing after those delicious feelings, sobbing on my sweater’s too-long sleeves. “But I wanna feel good. I wanna feel happy. I wanna feel like I did this morning, dammit!”

I didn’t realize it until later on—but I literally couldn’t sit still because I was still hanging onto my sweet hopes for the day.

At some point, I stopped and said to myself: “What the fuck are you doing!?”

Was I really going to waste the entire day chasing after happiness, like a deranged cheetah? No. No—I wasn’t. That yummy moment this morning was over. It was time to take a breath and let go.

Ugh, It hurt so much to let go.

I mean, I only want to ever feel happy and awesome—we all do—but the truth is, that is not how emotions work. That’s not how life works. Besides, that would probably bore the piss out of us.

Feelings are ever-changing and volatile. Life is ever-changing. It’s a painful dance, but it’s all the more beautiful because of its inherent restlessness.

Let’s learn how to dance with the waves.

Instead of asking ourselves tirelessly, “How can I feel happy and awesome—like I did before?” a more inspiring question would be:

“How can I be more curious about what I’m feeling, now? How can I summon the courage to be here, with myself as I am, right now?”

Try it.

And sure, this moment here—it may not be as pretty or sparkly as a cherished memory we’re lusting after, but who cares. It’s real. And real is what our souls cry out for.

Feeling shitty can be so beautiful. Sadness can be nourishing. Anxiety can inspire. Soul does not differentiate. Our hearts don’t give a fuck. They want us to be alive for the experience—good, bad, delicious, or terrible. They want it all. A moment is not any more or less valuable just because it feels good or bad. What makes a moment breathtaking is when we are truly present for it.

Zoom out. See the bigger picture. You don’t need to chase after happiness. Or love. Or inspiration.

This moment right here—it has everything you need.

Anchor yourself to the hinges of your breath. Laugh a little. Be sad. Be beautiful. Be uncertain. Let the diamonds of your tears render your cheeks raw. Explore the thick edges of discomfort.

Be here now.

Surrender to the crashing tides in your heart.

Surrender is a powerful thing—maybe the most powerful thing in our toolbox. We forget about it, mostly because it’s scary as hell. It’s easier to long for something else, rather than settle into the lush jungle of possibilities that are available, right now.

But just imagine:

What would it be like to sit down with yourself, just as you are, without trying to change anything? What would that feel like?

Try it.

No matter how shitty or difficult this moment may be, there is a ripe gem here, waiting for you.

Are you brave enough to find it?

Face inward, toward yourself. Look into your heart. Look into your own eyes. Stay here. It may not be comfortable, but it will bring you peace, though even peace may not feel as pretty as we imagined it.

But this experience of being present, being alive—it’s the juiciest damn thing around.

Lean in.


You got this.



Relephant Read:

20 Ways to Connect to the Present Moment.


Author: Sarah Harvey

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Flickr

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