If you think that happiness is something that you are entitled to, or something the world just owes you, then you are absolutely kidding yourself.
As anybody who’s happy will tell you, if you want to be happy, then you need to work for it.
I learned this first-hand when I was suffering from clinical depression, which over a four year period led to alcoholism, drug abuse, medicine-induced psychosis, near-suicide attempts and multiple hospitalizations. My life was a train wreck, but instead of feeling hard done by, I chose to make the conscious decision to take responsibility for my life.
It’s my fault I’m depressed, I thought. It’s my fault that I’m depressed because I don’t know how to emotionally respond to the challenges that I’m facing in a way that makes me happy, and I haven’t done a good enough job of structuring my external environment in a way that leads me to be happy.
So I worked with my doctors to find a medication that would stabilize my mood; I committed myself to therapy in order to figure out what was triggering my depression so that I could then learn how to manage those triggers so that they’d no longer trigger me; I worked with my therapist and read self-help and personal development books to learn how to let go of anger, to be able to trust someone again, to be more assertive, to be able to love myself unconditionally, and to learn how to be happy; I made a huge career change from one I hated to one I now love; and I committed to eating well, sleeping well and exercising frequently.
In other words, I worked my ass off. And because I did, I eventually recovered from depression and transformed myself into a very happy and healthy man.
I fought for happiness like my life depended on it—because my life did depend on it. If you don’t suffer from depression, then you probably won’t have to fight as hard as I did—but if you want to be happy, you will still have to work for it.
For example, if you want the satisfaction that comes from being slim and healthy, then you’ll need to exercise and eat well. It won’t happen automatically.
If you want the financial freedom to not have to worry about the little things and to be able to go on overseas holidays every year, then you’ll need to work hard in your career. Success and wealth won’t come automatically.
If you want the joy that comes from being in a loving relationship but are afraid of trusting someone again after being hurt in the past, then you’ll need to either work hard in therapy, bury yourself in self-help books, or do something else to overcome your fear. It won’t happen automatically.
If you want to recover from severe depression, then you’ll need to (possibly) take medication, dedicate yourself to therapy, read self-help books, eat well, sleep well and exercise frequently. Recovery won’t happen automatically.
Happiness is what everybody wants, but it’s not going to be handed to you on a silver platter.
And if you understand this, you’re likely to end up being happy, because you will work hard for it.
On the other hand, if you think of happiness as something you’re automatically entitled to by mere virtue of being born, then you’ll probably never find it—because you’ll never push yourself to do the things that you need to do to attain it.
Don’t be that person.
Instead, think of happiness as something to be achieved, set yourself the goal of achieving it, and then throw yourself into doing so.
If you enjoyed reading this post, you may also like Danny’s book titled “MY RECOVERY BLUEPRINT – How I overcame depression in three straightforward steps and how you can do the same.” Grab your copy from Amazon here.
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I’ll get in first Danny before you get the comments ‘at 24 you’re too young to understand’ ‘I can’t get motivated because I’m depressed’… As you will know (see my comments to your similar post on October 17), my story pretty much mirrored what yours was to recovery With depression you can’t overcome it alone. We need professional help, all of us, whether that be mainstream medical support (drugs, counselling) or other means (eg mental health specialists) but to get the help we need to take that first step. ” Because I am ill and I want to recover I… Read more »