It depends on the circumstances…

Warning: this post is a little metaphysical and deep but I do make sure to wrap it up with the phrase “holy poop balls” so in the end, it all balances out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “circumstantial happiness” and how it relates to my own happiness. Circumstantial happiness is exactly what you think it is: Happiness dependent on circumstances. For example: Your house, your family, your job…this is all circumstantial happiness. Which is great as long as those circumstances remain, but what if they don’t? What if they go away? Once you grieve the loss of the circumstance to which you tied your happiness (because of course that’s expected no matter what type of happiness you enjoy) – can you still be happy?

I’ve been accepting my own happiness lately, realizing that when I don’t let my anxiety control me, I’m deep-down happy. I have moments when the battles with my anxiety or depression cloud that happiness – but when the fog lifts I’m always happy. And I know this because there have been times in my life when I was not. There have been times when I was left in peace and silence, I would still be miserable. This is not one of those times. Right now? I’m blessed to be happy.

But I would like to be more Zen about it. I would like that my happiness is not connected to my material experiences, but rather just a level at which I vibrate constantly regardless of job or marriage or home or possessions. This is obviously not a measurement you can easily quantify and determine: Yes! I’m there! Or Nope! Not yet. It’s not like losing weight or training for a marathon, it’s a challenge with a very obscurely defined goal, but one which I find fascinating nonetheless.

I think it goes back to mindfulness. IT ALL GOES BACK TO MINDFULNESS. I swear, the more mindful I can be, the better I am – which is why mindfulness SEEMS LIKE THE MOST DIFFICULT THING IN THE WORLD.

But I was listening to someone talk about mindfulness on a podcast this weekend and he pointed out that berating yourself in a moment for not being mindful…is actually counter to the concept of mindfulness.


Mindfulness is not forcing myself in one specific mindset and focused on life and beauty of the moment, mindfulness is simply embracing what is. If my daughter and I are doing art at the table, and moment has me anxious about an upcoming project at work or sad over frustrations with my other child, then I need to let that exist in that moment. Yelling at myself, “Be present! Enjoy this moment coloring with your daughter!” that is not actually being mindful. Being mindful would be accepting my anxiety and acknowledging my sadness. Let those things exist in the moment if they need to. Let those feelings be passengers, but don’t let them drive the moment.

And I think that’s where happiness outside of circumstances hides. In the ability to allow these moments their truth, even if their truth is not the picturesque moment we’re striving for. Yes, it seems like happiness and mindfulness would be smiling at my daughter and really savoring this moment with her drawing at the table. And that would certainly be a happy moment. But the deeper happiness would be allowing myself to simple be me, and giving my anxiety and depression permission to sometimes exist, to nod towards them walking down the road.

Hello, my friend anxiety. I see you there. I know you are here because we are traveling soon. Hello, sadness. I know you are here because we’ve not been sleeping well. Thank you for existing as some evolution offshoot of my innate need to survive. But in this moment I don’t really need you, so you’re welcome to hang out and watch, but I’m not going to let you pull me away, okay?

I keep feeling like my emotional goals can only exist outside of my anxiety and depression, but they are part of me and I need to give them attention in some moments. I need to discover their cause and address any needs that may need attention. But happiness and mindfulness are not mutually exclusive from anxiety and depression. Another phrase I heard: “Allow them to sit, but don’t make them a glass of tea.”

Treating my anxiety and depression is a journey that I’m still very much in the early steps of. For me, I’m currently giving mindfulness a try, but some friends of mine prefer to use natural methods like CBD oil. CBD products – like those found at https://www.sandiegorecreationalcannabis.com/products/cbd/ – are used by people with a variety of ailments. Studies seem to show that CBD can be used as an effective method of pain relief for nausea, inflammation and seizures, so it’s not surprising that CBD is used to treat mental health conditions also. For those of you that are thinking CBD will be illegal in your country because of the legality of marijuana in your location, think again – you can buy CBD oil in United Kingdom from distributors such as Blessed CBD and more, even though marijuana is illegal, the compound CBD found in marijuana, is not.

Ultimately, this is going to be how I shift my mindset a little. Happiness does not need an anxiety vacuum to exist. Happiness is not necessarily the absence of depression. Mindfulness is not some perfectly beautiful yogi sitting in the sun-lit room listening to the sounds of nature outside the window and meditating on the impermanence of beauty. Mindfulness can be me, allowing my anxiety about a trip to exist while still feeling happy about the life I’m living.

Holy poop balls. Those are some deep thoughts for a Monday morning.

1 thought on “It depends on the circumstances…”

  1. Sounds like a wonderful way to begin a Monday! Those are some great thoughts… So now that you have made these revelations, doesn’t it seem like the anxiety of not “feeling” happy all of the time is lessened a little? I love the catchphrases about “Let those feelings be passengers, but don’t let them drive” and “Allow them to sit, but don’t make them glasses of tea.” So mindfulness is just being aware of what we’re feeling and hopefully why… and giving those feelings only as much power as they need to have in the moment? Doesn’t that sound so much more doable than working to herd our feelings into some place we think they “should” be?

    Thanks, Kim. Good stuff before breakfast. 😀

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