“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” ~ Carl Jung
We all go through painful experiences. We all have moments when we feel lost, sad, abandoned, betrayed, hurt, abused and unfairly treated. We have a moment when we fall down, moments when things fall apart and we no longer seem to feel as happy, as courageous, as balanced and as cheerful as we used to. And even though it can be quite challenging to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again, it’s very important that we do it. Why? Because if we don’t, we risk allowing a season of sadness, painful challenges, and dark experiences to become a lifetime of unhappiness. We risk falling into depression and then living our entire lives from a dark, fearful and very cold place.
“Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.” ~ Jacques Prévert
Here are 7 things you can do to shake off the sadness and negativity from your life and learn how to be happy again:
1. Feel the pain but don’t mistake it for who you are
I remember talking to a friend of mine who was in a very dark and unhappy place for many months. She told me how during all that time she didn’t take care about anything or anyone. She stopped exercising, meditating, she stopped going out, stopped seeing her friends and family, she stopped taking care of her physical appearance and something that really shocked me, especially because she always described herself as a clean freak, she stopped cleaning her house. Yes! She didn’t feel like doing anything, and later on, she realized that because she stopped taking good care of herself, she stayed in that state for way longer than she was supposed to.
You see, this what happens when you allow yourself to identify with the pain you are feeling and become one with it. You forget how to be happy and you allow your mind to trick you into thinking that your life is over just because something bad happened along the way. Pain is just a feeling. it’s not who you are. It’s just something that we all feel from time to time, but not something we should identify ourselves with. So feel the pain, allow it to be there and to teach you what it has to teach you, but never identify yourself with it.
2. Mobilize yourself
Even though it may feel quite challenging at times to do the things that you usually do when you feel happy and full of life – physical exercise, meditation, creative work, socializing with friends, gardening, spending time in nature, playing with your pet or children, etc., you have to do it. You have to push yourself to do the things that you don’t feel like doing so that you can shake off the sadness, boost your energy, increase your happiness levels and regain your appetite for life. Don’t allow your mind to make you think that you should sink deeper into the pain you are feeling because if you do, the sadness will soon turn into a very thick darkness and you might end up mistaking your sadness with depression!
3. Never ever call yourself “depressed”
Never ever tell yourself or anyone else that you are “depressed. The word “depression” is a very heavy one and has such a negative charge. You don’t want to bring all that negativity upon you, nor do you want to have its heavy weight pressing on your shoulders. It’s normal to feel sad, to feel hurt, to feel pain, but if you start calling yourself “depressed” and if you continue to repeat this nonsense to yourself, soon enough your occasional sadness will become a depression.
4. Come back into the present moment
Bring yourself back into the present moment by constantly focusing on your breath. On an inhale, mentally count to 4 as you breathe in, then exhale to the count of 5. Do this as often as possible and in time you will realize how much power lies in your breath and how much your breath can help you to be happy again.
5. Get bigger than your sadness
Whenever my mind leads me astray, and whenever I fall down into a “dark hole” feeling sad and drained of energy, and perceiving my negative moods as being way bigger than I am, I remind myself the story of David and Goliath, and I tell myself:
“Just as “little” David defeated the gigantic Goliath, so can you “defeat” your “giants”. And then I do it. I “defeat them all… with LOVE 🙂
You are way bigger than any sadness and any problem you might be facing. And whenever you think otherwise, it’s only because you allowed your mind to think all kind of fearful thoughts that made you look very small in comparison with your problems. Don’t believe the nonsense your mind is often asking you to believe. Get bigger than your sadness and you’ll immediately know how to love your pain away and how to bring light to those places where there was once so much sadness and so much darkness.
6. Claim back your personal power
In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle talk about how powerful our mind is, and how, if we don’t learn to use it, it will start using us: “The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly—you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you. All the things that truly matter — beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace — arise from beyond the mind…”
Don’t allow your mind to drag into the most painful, dark and cold places by believing every fearful and toxic thought you think. Know that you are in control of your own life, not your mind. Take authority over your thought and feelings and learn to differentiate between the thoughts that are real and the ones that are not.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” ~ Melody Beattie
In the same way, you would want the world to love and appreciate you, learn to love and appreciate yourself. Stop bullying yourself. Let go of the need to constantly repeat to yourself that you should be feeling a lot better by now and that it’s not normal to feel sad for so long, and just be kind to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself with compassion and instead of complaining about all the things you think you’ve done wrong, appreciate yourself for all the things you did right. Appreciate yourself for your strength, your courage, and your resilience. Open your eyes, your heart, and your mouth and start appreciating the beauty, the perfection and the splendor of who you.
Appreciate yourself into life.
Look at yourself, your life… all the things you’ve built, crafted and experienced, and everything you’ve been through and learn to express your gratitude and appreciation for all of them. You’ve gone through a lot, and you deserve to be appreciated. You deserve to be acknowledged and you deserve to be loved.