Do struggle to be happy? Have you tried being happy by yourself?
Often times we rely on others to make us happy, but we can be happy all by ourselves! I am not talking about forced happiness. I am talking about intimate satisfaction with yourself.
Think about something that you do for yourself that makes you feel good. There should be no guilt associated with this activity. So, drugs and binge eating are off the table. Does singing loud in your car make you happy? Or taking the dog for a walk? Think about the times that you felt satisfied to be by yourself.
Making yourself happy is respecting yourself. It is acknowledging that you have needs are able to fill those needs yourself! The key is not to think of it like self-care or work. Think of your happy activity as an escape from everything.
With chronic pain or discomfort it might feel impossible to make yourself happy. You might think of something that used to make you happy, but now you cannot do anymore. Then, all you can think about is loss. I used to love to ride my bike. For years after my diagnosis, I would automatically think about riding my bike to become happy and realize that biking is not good for me and is near impossible. This would spiral me into sadness. There is definitely a period of loss when you are first diagnosed with an illness, and that’s okay. I learned how to embrace my time down and escape to my comfy hospital bed on my high pain days and now work hard at making my life comfortable. Fluffy pillows, warm blankets, hot tea, a heating pad, my favorite poster hanging up, and my dog curled up near my feet. This is happiness for me now.
Depending on others for happiness is a double edged sword. Happiness comes from knowledge of your own desires and needs. The only way to learn these desires and needs is to explore them by yourself. Sure, you can explore these desires and needs with another person, but it will take some trial and error. If you need happiness in that moment, you might not have patience for the process of discovery with another person and get frustrated. So, may as well hone in on your own happiness and rely on yourself to regulate your happiness levels.
Here are some feeling that are associated with intimate satisfaction with yourself:
- A sense of relief. Letting go and escaping will give your body a rest from stress.
- Empowerment. You have taken back control of your emotions and have the power to make yourself happy. Congratulations!
- Creativity. Now that you are relaxed and in the moment of the happiness that you have created, your mind is free to think outside the box.
Remember, happiness may be given by others, but you will need to work for it. So, put on those comfy clothes and snuggle up in your own happiness.