The Concept of a ‘Happy Life’

Why do we create this idea that living life to the fullest is synonymous with always being happy? That idea could not be farther from the truth and it’s unrealistic to expect our lives to always be happy.

What I have come to learn, is that living life to the fullest does not always mean you will be happy.

Life needs to include feeling all the sad, hurtful, and painful things that come our way.

Living life to the fullest means dealing with the messy and complicated situations we find ourselves in.

Living life to the fullest is not living each day as if it were a movie or an Instagram story.

You are meant to experience a multitude of situations, emotions, and circumstances.

I used to think that to live a happy life, everything around me had to be perfect. But as you will eventually come to understand, that is not what it means to live a happy life. Living a happy life is one where you feel and experience struggle, hardships, and difficult situations and yet, you have the ability to try and find moments of joy in those hardships.  

Don’t think that your life is terrible because you haven’t lived every day perfectly, or you don’t feel happy every day. It is completely normal to feel tired, exhausted, sleepy, anxious, agitated, irritated, etc., and at the same time experience moments of joy. But living your best life means feeling those things and learning how to deal with them. It means addressing issues that are hard to face but also finding the lessons and joys that will come out of it.

No matter how hard things get, there will always be a joy. Sometimes you might just have to look for it a little harder than usual, but that is life. Life is not just one or the other, it is a complex combination of every emotion you could think of. It’s exhausting but loving; It’s tiring but inspiring; It’s difficult but also full of joy.

You do not have to feel amazing every day; you do not have to feel horrible every day. But the key to living your best life is to understand that those two feelings can co-exist and that doesn’t make your life bad, it just makes it real and authentic.

Leadership

The concept or idea of what it means to be a leader has developed in a strange way. When we talk about leadership in a generalized way, we almost forget that the people we consider leaders are human. We forget that the way they present themselves to the public might not be who they are, but this has somehow led to a stereotypical idea of what a leader should be. If I may say so, this idea we have created about what a leader should be is contradictory, cold and distant. Stereotypically speaking, a leader is someone outspoken, assertive, intelligent and calculative. That’s it. Of course, there are many more adjectives to describe a leader, but they mostly fall into this category that makes the person seem less human. How on earth did we create this idea of a leader? Why did we create this idea of a leader?

I have been told time and time again that certain qualities that I have need to be toned down. If I want to be a leader, I need to be more calculative. I need to be more assertive, but not bossy because people don’t like a bossy woman. I need to stop letting my emotions get in the way of my decisions, even though I don’t consider myself a very emotional person. I have been told that to be a leader I need to give up who I am and enter into this mould that has been created where there is only one way to be a leader. 

Recently I took a leadership test and one of the leadership styles was empathy. For my entire life, everyone has told me that if I am too empathetic, or if I care too much and can’t approach situations with the appropriate amount of distance and in an analytical way, then I should just stop trying to do anything. Because it seemed that the only way to be a leader was to be objective, calculative and analytical – when I am none of that in real life, they are in no way my strong suits. No one ever encouraged me to take my qualities and my empathy and use it for good.

When my leadership style result was empathy, I was taken aback. Because for my entire life I have been told that that quality in me was never going to get me far and that I could never lead. Leading with your heart isn’t a bad thing, and it should be never be understood as such. There are times where we need our minds to think predominantly but leading with your heart is not a weakness. The ability to feel the pain and the suffering and understand the motives behind why people do things is a gift that the world needs more of.

What I have come to learn is that leadership isn’t about how well you can check off the boxes of a predetermined idea that has been cemented in our brains by society. Leadership is about leading as you are, with what you got and being vulnerable and having courage while doing so. I highly suggest you check out Brenee Brown for more information on leadership.

The strongest type of leader you can be is when you are leading with who you are, and not who you think you should be. Lead with your strengths, but also with your weaknesses. Lead with your heart and your emotions, but also your brain. Lead with who you are at your core and the impact you will have on others, and the examples you will set for those around you will be life changing for your community and the world.   If you need some examples or inspiration turn to your local community organizations, your schoolteachers, your bosses, managers, parents, friends, and so many others! Turn to the people who are on the ground every day making sure that people are encouraged, that they are cared for and that they will excel in their individual lives. Those are the leaders we need more of in the world, not the ones who perpetuate this idea that you need to be a certain way to be a leader.