A Reflection On Being ‘Happy’

By April Hill WritingSeptember 13, 2021

I don’t know if everyone knows this, but maybe probably mostly everyone reading this will understand it, or try to. Some people on this earth do not feel life the same way. Some people have issues feeling the good things. 

I spend a sad amount of time wondering if happy people are actually happy.

What a ridiculous statement to ponder.

Why do I find myself thinking about it every single time I see somebody smiling? Why do I keep asking myself, inside my own head if I deserve good things, if I deserve happiness, or if I deserve life?

I don’t truly know if it comes from nature, nurture, or both. I would hate to blame my parents, or myself. Nobody would have meant for me to be like this. I don’t know if it is absolute randomness spit out from the blackest parts of the universe, or as unpredictable as a lightning strike. I have spent a great portion of my life asking myself these questions, doing research, and studying people, trying to find the answer—not only for myself—but for you too. It has been one of the great questions of my life, but in the end, I realized that the answer won’t change the “problem” anyway.

It does not matter why we are the way we are, what matters is that we are here now, and moving forward. 

I know people don’t understand you. In the middle of a room there is nobody but you, crawling the walls of your brain. It can feel isolating, wanting to reach out. Knowing the probability is low that someone else even understands what you are talking about if/when you open your mouth.

I guess that is why we come to a place like this, to read, to learn, to feel seen.

It feels like there have been two people living inside me my entire life. One of them desperately hates being forced to survive. The other is hopeful, fun, and dislikes the other for being negative all the time. Somehow along the way these two learned to work together to make some cool art, write some good things, and make some purpose out of a curious, questionable life. I guess this is what brings me back to my original point:

Just because you have a hard time feeling the good things in life, that does not make you any less worthy of experiencing them. Just because you don’t know how to react in certain situations does not make you less human. It does not mean you feel too little, on the contrary, it might mean you probably feel a lot and your brain has resorted to turning itself off in order to survive.

It can get so busy up top. Sometimes you need to put the noise-canceling headphones on and block the world out simply to make it through another day. At least I am starting to recognize that is the case for me—and if you feel anything like I do, it is probably the case for you as well.

I guess my advice going forward, and we are going forward, would be to remember that it is OK. It truly is OK.

People are going to want us to be happier. People will ask us to feel or be more. People will ask you if you had a bad day. People will ask you to smile. People will ask you to act and do what they expect of or hope for you. I think sometimes they do this because they care, but most of the time, I know they just don’t understand.

That is why, as someone who understands I feel I can say: it is OK. Meeting someone else’s expectations is not your goal. Happiness looks like so many different things and if you find something that helps you be alive, keep being you.

Happy is not just happy. It can look like:


People need other people. You are not weak for wanting or needing support. If you’re seeking professional help, we encourage you to use TWLOHA’s FIND HELP Tool. If you reside outside of the US, please browse our growing International Resources database. You can also text TWLOHA to 741741 to be connected for free, 24/7 to a trained Crisis Text Line counselor. If it’s encouragement or a listening ear that you need, email our team at info@twloha.com.

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Comments (5)

  1. Russell


    Reply  |  
  2. Yvonne

    I love that you touched this topic I’m an extremely sensitive person I can go from Happy to sad to happy and back and forth but I also love that about me I can sympathize with unhappiness and I can clap for happy and now a days happiness is sometimes forced on us or expected of us regardless of how we actually feel all I’ll say is never be too much of either not too sad and not too happy everything changes and sometimes it’s beyond our control .

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  3. Luke

    Thank you for writing this, April. I started therapy a few weeks ago and it has been hard to articulate how I feel. I can see how to work on my external problems, but it’s the internal duality I have trouble with—the part of me that doesn’t want to work on anything at all. I don’t know why it’s there, but maybe I don’t have to know. Maybe I can just accept it and keep moving forward. One day at a time.

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  4. Alexa

    Thank you. I always feel the pressure to be more positive and happy about things.. and man, it’s hard sometimes. I’m trying though, trying to be happy for me. Thanks

    Reply  |  
  5. Meredith Piatt

    My husband suffers from severe chronic depression. I had never considered ‘happy’ too be those other things. Thank you for the perspective shift!

    Reply  |  
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