The Opposite of Happiness is Not Sadness

The opposite of happiness is not sadness.

The opposite of happiness is pretending everything is okay when it is not.

It is letting fear be the master: Fear of not being presentable and therefore accepted by others. Fear of not being wanted, because nobody likes to be around the Puddleglums. Fear of being trapped. Fear of not having control. Fear that if I say I'm struggling, (and especially if that struggle is chronic,) I'll be seen as weak, unworthy, unlovable, too much work.

I almost didn't go to therapy for anxiety and depression, because that darn enemy convinced me I was too much work for anyone. But I went anyway. Mostly because I have some good friends who give gentle nudges, permission to quit, or reassurance that I was supported, loved, and held no matter what. My friends (and family) say all the best things.

I did go to therapy, and I'm so glad I did, because on the other side of fear is freedom. Not all at once freedom, but little by little chipping away at the things that bind me. I will continue to go as long as necessary to live empowered and awake and alive. I like being all the way alive. It's scary, but it's beautiful, too. I'm glad I'm not missing out on the beauty.

Fear is the enemy of happiness. It is the enemy of a great many things. Happiness is just its special favorite to pick on. It likes to pretend that if we are happy, something bad will surely happen soon. It likes to whisper about how things are hopeless. It keeps on lying for as long as we're buying. It wants to extinguish the spark in our eyes.

Don't let it. Don't give fear even one more piece of your golden heart.

Hope is not the forerunner of something dreadful. It is a beauty to be savored the moment it springs to life inside. It is a treasure to be guarded with energy and spirit. Some days, it may dwindle to a pilot light, but that is okay. I'm not here to pretend I'm a hero, because heroes can't keep up the charade for any length. I'm here to burn with my true essence, to tread lightly, and go brightly. That is where I find my happiness.

What is your true essence? How might you cultivate that spark today?



Jamie Bagley