archives, happiness, wisdom

Choose Happiness When It Is Offered.


There is this saying: “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too was a gift.”

It has taken me years to understand these words by Mary Oliver. That you can learn from the most painful experiences in your life. That there is no need to wallow in shame, in guilt, or in grief. But if you let these emotions pass through you and really feel them, you will come out on the other end and find your strength to change the situation you’re in.

The things I believe in and the stories that I write are based on the meaning of these words. We shouldn’t run away from the difficult moments in our life and the emotions that are rising in us, but instead face them head-on.

Living these words has given me back my voice, my strength and my self-worth, and it has allowed me to finally be my true self: open-hearted, filled with confidence, and totally free to show who I am and speak my truth. But these past weeks have made me think, and I’m not so sure any more about my beliefs: “Could I have learned the same things in a different less painful way? Could I have learned through love?”

I still believe that the key to improving our life lies in facing our difficult emotions. But why do we procrastinate so much in finding happiness?

Repeating experiences

It is funny how life keeps presenting us with the same kind of experiences. Things we really thought we’d left behind us 5, 8, 9, 10 or even more years ago. But somehow, later in life we end up in situations that may feel very familiar.

Usually they’re the awkward ones, the kind of situations that bring up the unsettling feelings. Things we’d prefer not to deal with and try to run away from. But is that what we really want? Run away from what we feel? By this, I don’t mean running away from the thoughts in our head, but running away from what we feel, deep in our heart.

It’s almost like the Universe is asking us, “Are you sure you wanna do this again? Haven’t you learned anything from the last time you were at the exact same point in your life?”

The answer is Love

Why do we keep running away from the challenges we meet? Why do we avoid facing them time and time again, so these challenges grow bigger and more intense over time till finally they appear in our lives as toxic relationships (a box full of darkness), crossing our boundaries, and giving away too much again and again or making us physically or emotionally ill?

Why do we choose to take the difficult road?

Why won’t we choose happiness right away? Even it means that we have to overcome a small bump in the road and experience and conquer a little insecurity, fear or doubt along the way? Why is it so difficult for us to receive?

The same question I’ve been asking myself these last weeks: “Why did I take the difficult road filled with challenges, unhealthy choices, and the wrong relationships? Why didn’t I choose happiness right away when it was offered to me, but instead ran away?”

The next time when you experience a little insecurity, fear or doubt, take a moment to pause and ask yourself this question: “What will make me the happiest right now? And what do I need to allow myself to receive this?” I bet that your answer will be Love.

So… are we going to do the same again? Or perhaps this time in our life we will choose differently.
And will we choose laughter over pain?
Love over fear?
Courage over insecurity?
Happiness over regret?
Forgiveness over grief?
Hope over uncertainty?

Maybe there’s truth in the saying that we are the creators of our own destiny.


LindaVanDerKwastLinda van der Kwast is a writer, a storyteller and a certified aura reader. She loves to explore what it is that moves people, and she has no fear of diving deep into a human soul to find that out. She likes writing about feelings and intuition. She hopes that one day people will recognize the powerful gift of feeling again. It inspired her to start her website. At times she mistakes the sea to be her home, and you’ll find her at the beach, far horizons filling her eye, wondering what’s out there. Closer to home you can meet her at Facebook or Twitter with a cup of tea and chocolate, balancing between expressing herself in Dutch and English.


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