My Struggle with Being Happy

More than a week ago, my cousin caught me thoughtful during a conversation. He asked, “What are you thinking about?” During that same week, when we were in an airport my mother commented that it looked like I was in another world. It doesn’t surprise me when people make these observations: I’m analytical, I’m an introvert, and sometimes I forget to not act so much like myself, so that people don’t make comments like these. But I can’t help it.


My thoughtful quality is what sometimes gets in the way of my happiness. (I’m not saying one has to be happy all of the time.)

In a three-hour phone conversation with my father the other day, I told him that I become so used to the suffering in my life that I’m became suspicious of the week or the month without a major problem.

Today, I can say that there’s not a major thing that blocks me from feeling a daily joy and still I can’t accept that joy can be a normal feeling. Maybe I’m caught in overthinking? I’m sure that obsessing over the future doesn’t help.

What I’m getting at is that for a long time I thought that the sadness and suffering that comes from problems were a normal part of life, and now it’s hard to accept that they don’t have to be my default setting.

I want joy to be my default feeling.

Instead of sadness or anxiety, I want joy to be my default feeling. And, here, I’m getting analytical, but I have noticed that my being out of touch with joy has roots in a belief of lack. Maybe I used to think that there wasn’t enough joy to go around, when there’s an abundance of it!

I’ve also been thinking of that concept of paying it forward (from the book Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde). The book includes the following quote: “You don’t need much to change the entire world for better.” We can change the world for better when we share happiness with others–it’s a form of paying it forward, and I firmly believe that it reaches us back again in even if in other forms. I can’t tell you how many times people’s joy for life has inspired me to smile more, to be kinder.

Even though, it’s difficult to act from a new belief system, I’ll keep reminding myself that the feeling of joy can be my default feeling everyday until it is. 

How do you prioritize the feeling of joy in your life?

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Hi, my name is Andrea, and I am an English Language Arts teacher who loves reflecting over the truth, beauty, and wisdom I find through reading, journaling, and teaching. The Hummingbird’s Journal is where I collect these reflections. Feel free to join me on Twitter where I retweet (more than I tweet) all things funny, enlightening, artsy, and poetical.


20 thoughts on “My Struggle with Being Happy

  1. “Instead of sadness or anxiety, I want joy to be my default setting.”
    Wow I didn’t know I needed to hear this but this is completely how I’ve been feeling. Sometimes I’m so stuck in those phases of sadness or anxiety that they consume all my energy and I can barely focus on anything else. Lately, I have been working a lot more on my happiness and after reading this, I think I will make a conscious effort to notice when I’m smiling and feeling happy and put all my energy into feeling this way 😊 Thank you for such an interesting post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for reading! Yes, it takes a little bit of effort to switch our mind frame. Also, I think it’s important to remember that it’s totally okay to feel sadness or anxiety! Sometimes I reach a points in my life in which there are no good reasons for me to not feel happy, and I think that’s what inspired the post. Of being able to embrace happiness when we start to feel like, “this is too good to be true” moments.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your description perfectly describes my thoughts on this topic! Even though for me it’s sometimes hard to be mindful, I totally agree with living more in the moment. Like today, I took my sister’s dog out for a walk in the park. And it felt so tranquil being out in nature! And even though I was struggling with not letting him walk me versus me walking him, it was a fun experience 🙂


  3. I can relate as well. I’m jaded when it comes to life. In the past, every time I would be happy, sadness was right around the corner. Like you, I am weary about happiness. The longer it lasts, the more weary I get. I anticipate the bad. The happier I am, and the longer that state lasts, the worse the fall is when sadness hits. So I try to curb the happiness not to make the cliff as steep. But, because I became mindful, and live more in the moment, I push those thoughts away and enjoy the good times. Because why worry about something that WILL be, but isn’t?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post.
    Being happy is hard…
    Something I try to do is write what I’m grateful for each day and reread in the morning (uh, I try to, but forgot about doing it…. although, I write one thing I’m grateful for each day, which usually happens).
    It’s hard to change the default setting… good luck!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this with sadness, because I can testify with millions that true peace and joy, no matter the circumstances are obtained through a relationship with Christ. I do not have to try to find peace and joy, it just comes to me. “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds ANYTHING WE CAN UNDERSTAND. His peace WILL GUARD your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7. I don’t mean to throw the Bible at you, but for me, it is the only answer. May you find what you are looking for.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing. I, too, am an internal processor. I have to remind myself that others can’t read my mind and tell them that they bring me joy. Some people say joy is a choice. Sounds like you are practicing that choice until it becomes a reality.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reading you was like observing my soul in the mirror. While I was reading it came to mind too that groups of people are wired differently and sometimes it is a bit more difficult to let go certain “default settings”. I like the fact though that you are committed to choose joy more often and in a more conscious way. Getting rid of bad (mental) habits it’s hard but not impossible. As soon as I get my basic needs on track again I will also focus more on joy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I totally relate to the “I have become used suffering in life”.
    Same here. Only remember 2 years of my life where I felt liberated and happy. It was easy to enjoy every minute in life.

    For the past 5 years my mental health gone worse. I now finally found the cause of my unhappiness.
    Hopefully I will able to make a new start and simply try again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your post has led me to ask myself in what situations do I feel joy in my life. The immediate answer is: at moments when I don’t plan on it. Joy seems to come to me as a welcome surprise. I don’t go looking for it. It finds me. I might be here at my desk writing a paragraph that has all of me involved in it. It might be a moment when I glance at my husband of twenty years without him knowing that I am looking and I realize how happy I am. Joy is a difficult one. Your post has helped me to think about these things. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had not thought of joy that way. Joy as unplanned and as a surprise. Yesterday at work a coworker offered a solution for one of my problems, and I felt happy to be surrounded by people who are there for me when I need them. Thank you so much for your comment! It gave me a new perspective on the feeling of joy.

      Liked by 1 person

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