My happiness project — The one thing that I did over and over to stay happy.

Posted January 19, 2020 from United States

I had forgotten to be happy long back. Not because I had any serious problems going on in my life. I had a wonderful job, lovely kids and an amazing family. But I had to interact on a day by day basis with one unhappy person. A person that I had to interact and work with very closely and was also my senior at work. There is a kind of people that would radiate negativity, and spread sorrow no matter what the situation is. Unhappy people that border on some kind of personality disorder syndrome — OCDs, Narcissistic, paranoid personalities are all a cluster of personality disorders that occur in normal people.

As much as happiness is contagious, unhappiness is equally contagious too. Even if you had a table full of delicious and tasty dishes, one wrong dish can spoil the overall experience. One negative is sufficient to ruin out all the positives. When it comes to a well rounded happiness experience, there cannot be even one negative in important aspect of life like in family, work and friends.

Our human brains are designed to compare and contrast. What we subconsciously do is to pick on that one problem amidst all other wonderful things in our lives, chew on it, blow it big and obsessively worry over it. That is how we are designed. Gratitude and thankfulness does not happen to most of us as a default emotion.

And so, this one unhappy person, when she first came into my life, I did not realize it was going to suck me into a black hole for an extended period of time. For every work that we had to do together, whatever the point of view I brought into the table, the first reaction would be to criticize. Criticize with so much sarcasm and vehemence that slowly I started losing my confidence in my abilities. She tore into my confidence, ripped my authentic self apart and left me like a poor victim of her personality.

Words are very powerful, words loaded with anger and hate are even more powerful. Repetitive words can translate into reality. Thoughts shape our words, words shape our actions, actions lead into results . Words and the way we use them — How we say what we say can make or break relations.

Thus, my work life, where I would spend around 9–10 hours everyday became a nightmare. I was bullied miserably, shadowed and discouraged. I used to be a very chirpy, confident, very loud and outspoken, social and happy person. I changed. I changed from all of that into a very fearful, reluctant, doubting, constrained personality. This change could also be because of the way I was brought up — I was a pet child for my parents and never once had they refused me stuff I wanted, or was punished for any wrong doing. I was not exposed to confrontations and hate. I am sure there are stronger women who would have handled it differently. But at that young age, I could not.

I broke completely. It showed in my personality, my work and in my behavior. My family got impacted, my kids were losing it and life became a nightmare. I came to realize that I was not an assertive but a passive-aggressive personality that bottled up emotions and reflected it outside in unhealthy ways. Migraine became an everyday issue.

I then joined a gang of women’s fitness and wellness group. Outside of working out together in open spaces and gym, the group also had the habit of meeting up for open talk or what we did to imitate the circle time in Montessori system. Everyone, though we were strangers, would just get together and talk. Talk about issues that were bothering us, issues for which we needed counsel and issues that we liked to talk. It was a network that was built on trust and built to support each other emotionally. It started with a ritual of all of us shouting — “We are there for each other, in each other we confide and we will never let each other down”. It was similar to what people say about Las Vegas — what happens here stays here.

One day, I decided to open up about what was bothering me for so long — I did not put any facade and ornaments around it. I was plain, straightforward, and spoke my emotions and what I was going through black and white. I made myself vulnerable in front of total strangers.

I just opened my heart up, crying in front of them and totally letting my emotions flow. In that moment, we all connected. And the response was, the least to say, overwhelming. Support and soothing words came gushing in. I could sense the empathy my girls were showing, some of them got me books, some of them hooked me with some counsellors and some even offered to give listening ears whenever I wanted.

This support network changed me. What I was going through internally was a feeling of not being included, of being pushed out, a lack of being recognized as someone who deserved to be heard. The very fabric of our existence is built on love, support and connect. When that is pulled from under your feet, you lose yourself. What about my husband and kids? What about my parents? Well, it is my humble observation that a spouse, parents and kids are not the kind of support fabric that can connect with you at a similar plane as women (or men if you were a man) of similar age and preferences can. It is different. I call my girls my fabric of joy and happiness. They make me laugh, they make me happy, they understand me without judgement. We are one. Others are not the same.

And so, I consciously planned my joy and built this network — with trust and empathy. I ensured to spend time with the girls every week even if just a few were available. We dined and shopped and chatted and did community work or went trekking for a few hours every week. And that habit, has had a major influence in how I feel with what happens the rest of the week.

Comments 12

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Tamarack Verrall
Jan 19
Jan 19

Dear Subhashrinivasan,
What a journey. By writing about what you have been through, how it happens that we can become empty of energy under constant attacks, you show what we are capable of healing from. Your description of finding your strength and true support in a circle of women is such a great tribute to how special circles of women can be. I hope everyone here in our gigantic online circle can experience what you have with your close-in sisterhood. I love the photo.

Jan 19
Jan 19

Subhashrinivasan, you are amazing. You have brought happiness back in your life by choosing to be happy.

That's good that you have inner circle to share and listened with, we need to belong and appreciated and World Pulse can also be part of your inner circle.

Jan 19
Jan 19

Dear Sub...,
Sorry about what you have to go through. Wow, you are a brave woman to have pull everything back together. It's not very easy at all in this your situation.
Good you acted quickly else it will have affected you even mentally :-(.

Now the most important thing is you have gotten your path back, very happy and determine.
I pray such situations never finds you again.
Have a great week ahead and take care of yourself as usual.
Warm hugs :-)

Elizabeth Ziro
Jan 19
Jan 19

A problem shared is half solved. I'm happy that you found the strength/courage to open up.
Be happy always!!

Hello, Subhashrinivasan,

That is so true about words. I am so interested in your story because I didn't know how powerful criticism can damage a person. I understand what if feels though, because I grew up overly criticized by my own mother, and it truly destroyed every inch of self-esteem and confidence I had as a child and how I struggled with depression growing up.

I attest, too, that empathy, trust, and having a safe space to share those pent-up emotions can bring healing to the soul. You are blessed having this group of women you can share your life with. We all need a support system that is good for our souls. I'm happy you've found your tribe.

Please keep on writing! I enjoy reading your post. Have a great day!

Anita Shrestha
Jan 21
Jan 21

be happy , be more happy happy dear -haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Beth Lacey
Jan 22
Jan 22

This is a great story

Jan 30
Jan 30

Hi Subhashirnivasan
I am very impressed with this. I always like reading true stories of other people for is always a lesson.
Thank you

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi

Hi my dear sister,
It's true that when you have an inner circle of friends especially women then you find your happiness. We all need a support system to be there for us and help us be better people.

Feb 17
Feb 17

Hi Subhashrinivasan, your story provides a joyful ending to a very important issue - how to handle people around us especially when they pinch you verbally as well as by actions. They immerse us deep into unseen dark depths and its adverse effect leaves us sad and dejected. You have rightly found the solution in Together We Can! Together We Win!!

Collectivism has a great strength and you have beautifully tapped it.

Feb 27
Feb 27

My dear Subhashrinivasan, i can really imagine what being pushed or left out mean when it comes to where you think you belong - your work Place. Hate is a very strong negative attitude and feelings. I am happy you were able to overcome by joining forceps with those that care and are supportive of you. Thank you sharing this powerful story.

Mar 07
Mar 07

It's inspiring to read people, women, in particular, finding ways to make the negative situation positive. Happiness should not be a conscious choice, it's inert and should come out naturally, but life is not always fair to make it always like that. I am glad you're able to find a group where you feel comfortable, building up each other, and just be there for you.
I have to say I've been in a stressful situation and with stressful people that just zap your energy, and I am in one right now, but I choose to focus on something different, so I don't fall back in the pit of disconnect and discontent, just like you.
You're on the right path, keep the happiness flowing!
Happy International Women's Day