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.