This won't be my typical "Happiness is... " blog post. Even though I do have so much to be grateful for, I've been going through a funk.
I've been through funks before, much bigger than this, and I know they don't last. In fact, on a scale of 1 to 3, this one's only a Category 1 using the following key to funk rating:
1: Feeling intermittently sad or lonely, but easily able to feel happy after talking to a trusted friend
2: Depressed and not wanting to talk to anyone
3: Crying a lot, not sleeping, feeling very lonely and afraid of my future
The Category 3 type funks have been a result of major problems- deaths, my divorce, a layoff, major illnesses of someone I love
While I was worried about my back, I was in Category 3 Funk Mode. When the doctor reassured me that my back was not that bad, I went into Category 3 Euphoria! (See key below)
1: Content with my life and all its ups and downs
2: Happy, Playful, Flirtatious, Social, Excited about possibilities, passions, interests
3: Euphoria! In LOVE (sometimes with a guy, but could also be with life, as was the case this time.)
So.. what happened? Why did I go from Euphoria! to Feeling intermittently sad and lonely? I won't get into all the reasons of my emotional roller coaster, other than to say that I'd much rather be in a Category 1 Funk than my recent Category 3 Funk with an imagined future of debilitating pain. Sometimes it just takes time for those fears of the unknown to settle down. Luckily, I spend most of my life in Happiness Categories 1 and 2 and I'm confident that those are just around the corner.
I know from talking to those trusted friends (not to mention my own study of positive psychology) that
- Most of us will "act happy" even when we're not. This isn't to be fake or dishonest.. it's just that it often helps to kick us out of our funk.
- We all have times when we're lonely or sad, even when it feels like we "shouldn't" be because, after all, we have so much to be grateful for. (For me, this can make me feel even worse because I hate wasting any moment of this precious life with negative emotions.)
We see so many positive things on social media (and I'd much prefer to see positive things than all the negative things that get played up so much in the press.) But just like romantic movies, seeing how happy others are can give us this unrealistic idea that everyone has better relationships, a better life, a better career, etc. than us! In reality, we all have our funks.. Categories 1,2,3 and everything in between! Some, I'm' sure go way beyond Category 3!
This happiness post has a video of a college student who created a video about loneliness. In it, she does a good job of describing feelings of loneliness. I used to blame my bouts of loneliness on being single, but then I remembered some of the times I was most lonely was when I was married. I had these expectations that my husband would be like those romantic movie husbands... always be able to show his love in exactly the way I needed when I needed it. That is impossible for anyone..
In the midst of this Category 1 Funk I've been in, my good friend, Rebecca Ritter, invited me to join her at a mixed-faith church service. It reminded me that, though my faith isn't as strong as I'd like it to be, my belief in God has always gotten me through even the worst of my funks. I know that any loneliness I feel must pale in comparison to so many others. In times of loneliness, it helps to know, as much as we might feel otherwise, we are not alone.
In the words of St. Francis: