How to Stop Looking for Happiness in the Wrong Places

Escaping Reality – Failed Attempts to Find Happiness

It wasn’t that long ago that I didn’t like myself very much. As a result, I was always trying to escape my reality. Here are some examples — Let me know if you can relate to any of these:

  • If I could plan the perfect party, it would be the best distraction to what was really happening in my life.
  • When things didn’t go right, I’d turn my attention to others as the cause of the failure. Eh hem, deflecting….
  • Decorating my house with the latest Pinterest project was a great way to keep my mind preoccupied with the beautiful aesthetics of my house… and distract me from reality.
  • Keeping a constant stream of music, television, or background noise to overpower the negative thoughts bouncing around in my head.
    • Instead of listening to the bitchy remarks being made in my mind, I wanted to escape. Singing my favorite songs while the music on blast was my favorite way to do this.

All the Wrong Places

When you are looking to escape, it typically results in looking outside of yourself to find happiness. In other words, you look to the world around you for ways to make your life better. Some examples of what this might look like:

  • You buy the latest trendy clothing or technology/devices.
  • That new purse and/or necklace is calling your name.
  • Spending money — on things you swear you need is also a common occurrence.
    • Challenge for you: walk into a room of your house (or garage) do you have a items that you bought but don’t even really like just sitting around? Was it the result of swearing you needed the item? Did you really need it?

You may have bought materials items that you thought would make you feel better, but I am willing to guess you continue to feel empty on the inside.

On the Other Hand

Maybe spending money on material things isn’t your vice. It could very well be you look to food as a way to manipulate your reality and avoid the issues that are truly plaguing you.

This could mean using food for one of two things: a friend or a punishment.

Food as your friend is there to comfort you when you feel down. It helps you through the hard times and allows you to escape the negative thoughts in your head. The taste of your favorite foods offers a sense of happiness – but only for a brief moment while eating.

If food is a punishment, it almost has the opposite effect. You eat only because you must. When you do eat, it may be foods that leave you feeling unsatisfied because you can ‘only’ eat the healthiest of foods. You can’t enjoy your food, that would be wrong.

While you may want that bag of chips or the Snickers bar, you chomp away at carrots and celery dreaming about the salty or chocolatey goodness you’ve decided is not allowed (Insert the new ridiculous trend of putting stevia on a cucumber to pretend it is watermelon… yes, I’m rolling my eyes about this one).

Numbing the Feels

You might not be a material item or food person. That doesn’t mean you are 100% free of this seeking happiness in the wrong places thing.

Maybe you find yourself engaging in activities that distract or numb the negative emotions you don’t want to feel:

  • Excessive exercising (too much of a ‘good thing’ can be a ‘bad thing’)
  • Alcohol consumption, even in moderate amounts
  • Binge watching TV or YouTube
  • Mindless scrolling through social media, or
  • Checking out mentally in the pages in a fantasy world in written form.

There are many things we can do to check out or numb the pain. The thing is, we create these habits as a way to distract ourselves from reality.

Symptoms of a Greater Problem

The crazy thing about it. If I had looked within myself to figure out what was truly causing me to struggle. I would have realized the distractions around me were a symptom of a greater problem — I wasn’t happy.

Distracting myself, buying new things, or treating food as a friend (or punishment), or numbing ourselves through exercise, alcohol, TV, social media, reading, etc… won’t help to change what’s going on within our minds

By trying to change everything around us, we won’t actually get relief from the bitch in our head. That self-hatred, negative thoughts, and desire to escape will persist.

Despite the distractions, we continue to be stuck in the same place. Struggling with the bitch in our heads… and that leads to more searching outside of ourselves. What else is there to silence this bitch?

It is a vicious cycle.

Ah-Ha Moment — Found Within

For myself, the only way out was to figure out what made me so unhappy — The important piece of the puzzle the process required looking within myself. It was not an external problem. The external world could not fix my issues. Just as it will not fix yours.

Once I figured that out, I could truly start the healing process. As I started on the path of healing, it felt like crawling out of the hole I had spent nearly a decade digging.

Perhaps the hole took longer than a decade to dig…. I don’t really know (or I’m avoiding the truthful answer). Either way, I was finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel over the past year.

It has taken conscious effort.

It has taken courage by facing fears.

In the process, I realized I wasn’t my biggest fan. If you come to a similar conclusion, you are not alone. Don’t let it discourage you. This doesn’t have to stay your reality.

But, once I was able to figure out the disconnect within myself, a whole new world started to emerge. Fingers crossed you find the same thing.

Wait, don’t click away yet… Now, you might think that I’m spuing a bunch of bullshit. I get it, this post probably would have annoyed me a few years ago. BUT, before you try to shield yourself from the truth (numbing by avoiding finishing this article), keep on reading to help you start to uncover where you will find happiness.

Crawling out of the hole

When you are deep inside the hole you have spent year digging, it can be hard to image life any other way.

But, if you trust the process. And, do the work. You will find the answer – within yourself. You are an amazing soul. This requires you to change the way you perceive the world around you – and the way you see yourself within the world.

More importantly you will find the happiness you truly desire.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Happiness is not found through the perfect life, house, family, diet, or having all the latest trendy items. In fact, it’s quite to opposite of what we think it needs to be.

Ask Yourself These Questions

What are you going to do today? Are you going to continue to try and ignore whats really going on in your life? Or, are you going to face your reality and change it so you can finally find your true happiness?

If you aren’t ready to dig yourself out of the hole quite yet, that is fine too. No judgment here. But, I encourage you to figure out what it is you are hiding from. Until you uncover the deeper issues in your life, you will not find happiness by changing your external world. The answer is within you.

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