Depression isn’t easy. Neither is being happy.

Depression was one of the hardest things I had to go through. Not feeling motivated to do anything was terrible. What was even worse was all of the guilt, shame, and judgment that came with it.

My depression made me miss crucial meetings; it made me slack off when I should’ve been trying harder, overall it just made me not want to go about my day and live my life. And because of that, I felt very guilty. I felt like I should’ve been able to get over it if I tried hard enough because it was all just in my head. When I would miss something because of it, I felt guilty because I was letting the other person down, or letting myself down.  I felt shameful about it because depression isn’t necessarily something I felt comfortable being open about when I was going through it.

I was lucky that I found a platform in spoken word poetry, where I felt comfortable being vocal about my depression, but in everyday life, I had a hard time admitting or talking to others about my depression.

With all that said, another one of the hardest things I had to go through was re-learning how to be happy. After being numb so long because of the depression, once I began to feel emotions again, it was painful, even the good feelings. When I was depressed, it was better to feel numb than to feel anything, so when happiness started showing back up, I didn’t know what to do with it. It was confusing and overwhelming. I didn’t know how to speak about happiness anymore.

I was accustomed to complaining and feeling down, I didn’t know how to tell people I was having a good day anymore. I didn’t know how to convey my good feelings. I had found an avenue through spoken word to share what I felt, but in everyday life I had a hard time showing it, and conveying it in conversations. What’s worse is that once I started to feel good feelings again, I felt terrified because I didn’t want to lose them.

Now that I was feeling good, it became a battle to keep those warm feelings alive, which just ended up ruining them and making me go back into my depression. Through life coaching, I found out how to get out of this cycle, but I still fall into it occasionally. I have figured out some tools to get others acquainted with feeling happy again.

Depression isn’t easy. Neither is being happy. Along my journey, I figured out three things necessary to re-learn what it’s like to be happy.

  1. Forgiveness and Compassion

Forgiveness is key. You need to forgive yourself over and over and over again. You may feel guilty, or shameful when you feel great and then wind up making yourself feel terrible all over again. You’ll probably go into a cycle of feeling good, then feeling bad, and it’s okay. You need to forgive yourself, and treat yourself with compassion.

One way I did this for myself was through spoken word; it was my best outlet. Me being able to write down how I felt and share it was a way for me to understand compassion for myself, and for others. When I realized how much my words could affect others, I realized just how much of an effect it was having on me as well.

This is new to you, this feeling of happiness— this feeling of joy. It’ll take some getting used to. You’ve been un-learning all the bad thought processes and belief systems that had you stuck, and you’ve been replacing them, you need time to adjust physically and mentally.

Forgive yourself.

And then forgive yourself again.

  1. Conscious Awareness

Be aware of when you feel happy, and just pay attention to it. In life coaching, I learned that it’s what you give focus to that manifests in your life. If you pay attention to your happiness, there will be more of it. Don’t pay attention to it to keep the happiness from fading, cause that will just be making you operate out of Fear, but just be aware of when you’re happy.

The more you can become aware of when you’re feeling good, the more you will feel good. Try not to judge yourself when the happiness fades because It will. All emotions fade even the goods ones. The fear of that is what sometimes makes us want to numb in the first place.

You don’t need to try to be happy or make the happiness stay. All you have to do is be aware of it.

  1. Surrender

There’s a higher power inside of us all, and we must surrender to it. For us to be happy more often than not, we have to be led to it. If we turn inside, it will lead to joy; it will lead to happiness. We won’t have to manufacture it. We won’t have to find it. It will come to us.

Life should be effortless, and surrendering to your inner self and being led will begin the process. When we go on a journey of growth it’s hard, and sometimes it feels impossible, this is when we need to turn inwards. But more importantly, we need to turn inward when we’re feeling good, and say “thank you.”

If you can show gratitude to the higher power inside of yourself, you will manifest all things that you want to.

Once you can forgive yourself and be aware of your joy and happiness, it’ll be easier to surrender, because you’ll see that there’s no better way to be happy than to acknowledge your Self and become one with the only real thing in this world which is Love, which is Joy.