archives, happiness, you & me

3 Ways You May Be Blocking Your Own Happiness.

Last year put my ability to always bounce back to happiness to the test. I lost family members, relationships, jobs, opportunities and dreams one after the other.

At every turn, I did my best to move through it, but found it harder and harder to be happy and stay happy.

I began questioning if it was even worth it to keep trying so hard to find happiness, when life kept throwing thing after thing at me, making me feel the exact opposite.

Ultimately though, even with a year like that, I’ve come back around to firmly believing that happiness is vital to living the life of your dreams and it’s a beautiful gift that we should access often and not deny ourselves ever. Here’s how I got back to this.

I did not start out life as a happy person. My early years were filled with depression, low self-esteem and discontent. But over the course of my life, I worked hard to become a glass half-full person.

Through years of personal work in changing the way I talk to myself, see life and experience life’s ups and downs, I have become one of the most optimistic and cheery people you might encounter, even when the chips are personally down for me. I always tend to have my belief in better and the power of refocusing intact.

Simply put, I’m always able to find something to be happy about and I’m always able to access it. That was, up until last year. Last year, it felt like things were stacked against me to make sure that happiness was inaccessible.

But now I realize, they were positioned that way to help me understand the gift of happiness in a more powerful, evolved way. I discovered some key ways how I was blocking my own experience of happiness, which, as I began to fully embrace and integrate that wisdom, shifted my beliefs and opened me up to a whole new level of revelations.

That’s all possible for you too. I’m willing to bet that sometimes happiness is hard for you to find as well. Maybe it’s life circumstances, like in my case, or maybe it’s just that it’s always been difficult.

In all cases, sometimes shedding the light on the way we might be blocking our happiness can be the turning point where we need to let it flood into our lives as never before. Here are three ways how I was blocking happiness last year that you might recognize in yourself.

1. Thinking you have to be happy all the time

A lot of times, we discredit our experience of happiness if we experience times of sadness and disappointment as well. This comes from the false belief that when you are truly happy, you’ll be in this state all the time, and that if you aren’t, then you aren’t truly happy.

This is so subtle of an understanding that I didn’t realize it for years. Once I was able to come out of the depths of my depression and change my life so that I felt better more than I felt bad, I became a bully of myself. I pushed myself almost relentlessly to always find a positive outlook or a silver lining of something.

If I had a bad experience or found myself down, I wanted to immediately shift, and if I wasn’t able to, I saw that as a failure.

This simply is not true. Having down times or bad experiences that leave us feeling the opposite of happy doesn’t diminish or discount the happy moments. Our secret belief that we should only have happy times is what does this.

It’s not until you are able to come to a place of acceptance that life is going to have both, and that it’s about embracing the idea that both means happy times are coming too, that you actually unlock a vital key to happiness.

Not pushing against your feelings and your reactions to life, and allowing yourself to flow through and process them, guarantees that you’ll rise just as much as you fall. And there is great happiness in knowing that.

2. Thinking that happiness has to be attached to something

Another block to happiness that I’ve noted is the idea that you can’t just feel happy just because. The idea of dropping into a sense of deep appreciation for the moment you are in doesn’t seem like a real or valid experience for many people. However, this is one of the easiest ways to access real, valid expanding happiness.

Take, for instance, a beautiful day. You are perhaps on your lunch break and you decide to take it outside. The breeze is just right. Birds are chirping in the distance and the entire scene around you is serene. Fully immersing yourself within this moment can generate an overflow of happiness.

This type of awareness of your moment or even memories of moments is a powerful practice, and a way that we always have happiness within reach. The key is realizing that this feeling is bona fide happiness and just as valid as happiness that stems from something tangible.

3. Thinking that happiness is a cure for all of your problems

This is the one that I had the most difficulty with last year on a subconscious level.

When we are readily able to tap into happiness, we can subconsciously begin to think that this shields us from bad times, bad feelings and disappointments. When we start adopting this belief and we inevitably have more bad times and disappointments, they can hit us much harder than they otherwise would.

It’s almost as if we feel betrayed by our happiness, as though happiness was supposed to end all bad things. That’s not the power or the gift of happiness. The power and gift of happiness is the ability to weather the bad things better because you know that happiness is also within reach and inevitable.

I’ve spent much time since the beginning of this year meditating on and integrating how these blocks have been working in my life, especially over the past year. It’s been transformational to see how getting past these blocks is opening me up to a whole new level of happiness, one that is even more untethered to circumstances. This is the way to the life I’m envisioning.

Existing in a space of calm and certainty that happiness is truly always accessible is real power.


Leah Patterson is a transformation coach, holistic beauty and wellness mentor, and salsa dance instructor who provides women who identify (sometimes secretly) as living with high-functioning depression and/or anxiety with the guidance they need to create an overall lifestyle of mind, body and spirit balance. She works primarily with dancers — professional, amateur and hobbyists — using holistic beauty, wellness, movement, and mindset as her tools of transformation, facilitating major breakthroughs and rock-solid self-empowerment for her clients. Visit her website to find out more about her and the Dancer’s Bliss Academy, and follow her on Instagram for inspiring self-empowerment training.


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