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 [email protected].

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Comments (10)

  1. Russell


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  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

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  5. Ashley

    I needed this today. As my face is drenched in tears. I feel so hopeless of ever being truly happy or having any aspect of my life ‘click’. Society tells me I am functionally worthless to them.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA


      Society does indeed try to convince us if we are not “happy” or if we do not fit in, we are in need of fixing, for we must be broken or damaged. Which is just not true. We hope you can find comfort in knowing that we actively try to defy this false belief and we absolutely understand how you are feeling. You are not alone and we 100% value your presence as you are in the here and now.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
  6. 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!

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  7. Timothy J. Osterman

    Sometimes, putting perspective into words can be difficult. I try to understand myself as 2 different people and the whys and what’s of both, never really acknowledging them as a unit but condemning both at the same time for not meeting others expectation of either. This helps.

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  8. Gail A. Porter

    This is perfect for me. I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t need the therapy, after 35 or so years I’ve found what works and what doesn’t work. I understand more now and I’ve been better for that. I realize I battle depression it’s always been there. I’m lonely, I’m not alone it’s hard to explain to anyone. I’d rather not talk about me. At work we have a newsletter and they asked for pictures of our fur babies. I happen to be on vacation visiting my sisters and my Dad and that’s when I saw the email. For years I’ve read about everyone else, enjoyed all the pictures of others. I decided to send a picture of my three as we take our morning walk together in this beautiful free place filled with nature and trails that we have taken the past 12 years. It is how we start every day whether it’s raining, snowing nothing stops us, it’s our happy place my favorite place with my favorite furry crew. I sent it in, I lost my chihuahua due to trachea collapse in February. While I was away I found out my sweet yellow lab Stella, has hemangiosarcoma. She had surgery to remove a mass that attached itself to her spleen. I was away when I got the call that it was a fast spreading cancer. I was devastated, I wanted to be home but I was a 7 hour drive away. I felt like I was crawling home. It was such a lonely long ride by myself. I’ve been making this ride for the past 32 years. My kids were babies at first. Now they are all grown so for many years I’ve drove by myself and loved it. Suddenly I was too old to do it on my own. It became too long and lonely. I made it home, I fell apart. Where did all the time go? Here I am, now what? Well the Newsletter came out there was my beautiful picture. I saw my name there, suddenly I felt like a nothing. My name so lost in a place where I’ve worked for more than 24 years but I was a small piece of a life, an overwhelming life that was again changing. Who was I? Where was I? Caught in my struggle that no one knows about. For some reason my life has been on rewind. I want to be happy I want to laugh but the depression weighs me down so, working from home is dragging me down. I don’t feel like I’m fitting in. I don’t know what to do with myself. I feel like I’m going backwards.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA


      We are so sorry to hear about your struggles with depression and loneliness, and also the loss of your chihuahua this year, and the news about your beloved yellow lab, Stella. Our pets are family and caring for and grieving them involves a lot of energy and emotion. We hope you are able to rest and care for yourself amidst all of this.

      We also want to let you know that you are welcome to email our team anytime at [email protected] if you would like a space to share. We read and respond to everyone, and it would be our honor to provide you with some encouragement and support. You are welcome here, just as you are in the here and now.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
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