Depression is a gnarly beast. It tricks you into thinking you are unworthy & unloved. It tricks you by changing your brain & giving you that voice that tells you all the things you don't deserve & shouldn't strive toward. But, the one thing it gets right is that you do not deserve happiness.
No one deserves happiness.
It's not something to be earned or worked toward in that way. Happiness isn't some reward for working hard or doing some particular chore or living through some horrific experience.
You do not deserve happiness for simply being alive.
That isn't how “happy” works. It's an emotion; it's fleeting. It ebbs & flows just like most things in life.
You cannot be happy all the time & it isn't always during the high points of our lives when we get to feel happy.
Happiness is found in the small things.
It sneaks up on you in the quiet moments.
Happiness is usually paired with sitting quietly & recognizing your blessings. It's making the most of whatever circumstances you find yourself living in at any given moment.
There are a lot of things I, personally, do not deserve.
I don't deserve my husband. He loves me even when I am unlovable & a hot mess & hopelessly down-in-the-dumps. He quietly supports me & playfully makes fun of me & pulls more than his fair share of household chores when I just can't force myself to do more.
I don't deserve the life I am living. I don't deserve my beautiful daughter. I don't deserve the luxuries I've been afforded.
And, no. I do not deserve happiness either.
I have literally prayed for everything I have right now.
I clearly remember trying to fall asleep in the back of my car, with the engine running every so often for the heat. I was parked in a barely-lit rest area off a major insterstate. And, every car that pulled through or rustle of the leaves in the wind or strange noise that drifted toward me made me jump.
Sleep was fleeting in those days. And, I don't think I fully realized I did it, but I prayed a lot back then.
I prayed for a warm home to call my own — not just a place to sleep, but an actual home where I felt safe & could go to whenever I wanted. I prayed to not be in a position where I had to worry about whether my next paycheck would offer enough to get through to the next paycheck after that.
I prayed to be able to afford more than a value menu burger to eat each day.
I prayed to be able to actually be around my kids on a daily basis — & to be a “good mom” by doing more than putting my children's needs above my own, but by actually nurturing them into being the best humans they could be.
I prayed for someone to love me for me — no matter how unlovable or stupid I acted. I prayed for someone to be there to catch me when I fell & to remind me to stop getting in my own way every time things started to go “right.”
I prayed for a lot of things late at night in my car — on several different occasions over the course of a few years, in particular.
I've prayed some of those things in a house with no electricity or in rooms full of strangers or in my car, crying, before going into a job I hated.
And, even after living through all of that (& much more that I don't know I will ever fully share), I still do not deserve happiness.
The fact is, you do not deserve happiness, no matter who you are or what you've been through.
Happiness doesn't just get handed over to you on a platter once you've reached certain criteria, y'know.
You can have the most blessed, beautiful life & still not be happy.
Why? Because life isn't about finding happiness. You do not deserve happiness simply for living or trying to be a good person.
You do not deserve happiness for whatever criteria you want to fill this particular blank with to make it “mean” something.
Life is about learning to be happy despite your circumstances. It's about being joyful in the small, seemingly-mundane moments.
When we struggle to be happy, it slips further away from us. Happiness isn't something we earn. We cannot DO something to gain happiness. There is no prerequisite to be met or trial to endure in order to be able to be happy.
So, to say we DESERVE happiness is totally false; that implies we have some merit or entitlement to it.
In reality, we are CAPABLE of happiness, but it is a choice we have to make.
Yes. Even with mental illness, it is a choice that has to be made; we just have a larger battle to make that choice when chemical imbalances work against us in that way. (I do always say depression is a bitch, y'all…)
So, maybe your depression or whatever is a bitch & maybe that voice in your head is lying to you — but not about this. You do not deserve happiness — & it's not about how lovable or good you are.
Does that anger you?
Yeah. It angers me too. As if it were that simple…
But, “simple” doesn't always equate to “easy.”
You do NOT deserve happiness; you choose happiness. And you can BE happy, regardless of your circumstances…
I'm gonna let that sink in for now… For you & me, both…