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How to Be Happy and Grow Through Dark Times

Kristi on bridgePeople often ask me, “How are you so dang happy all the time?!”  Well, here’s the scoop – I’m not.  Well, at least not completely.  But, I do consider myself a super happy, fulfilled person overall, which feels awesome and is something I couldn’t honestly say ten years ago.  Life feels good!  I do have challenging days now and then, and even bumpy weeks and months.  I go through major storms and general life B.S., and all the ups and downs. What I know with certainty is that there is a key to staying happy even when times are hard, and when it comes to shifting our whole perspective on creating our happiest life.  In fact, it could be the single biggest approach to living our happiest existence.

Being happy is not just about choosing to be happy moment to moment.  It’s not just in the great days and fabulous occasions.  It’s about being able to know down deep that no matter what’s going on in our life we have the tools, the gratitude, and the love within us to allow ourselves to find joy within the dark times too.  To know in our core that the clouds will pass in their own time, and that underneath it all, our happiness is still there to support us, even when we’re not feeling it. 

In the history of the sky, there has never been a cloud that didn’t eventually pass, right?  And beyond the clouds, the sky is always bright and blue.  So, being a happy person is about knowing down deep that our happiness is always there inside of us – bright and blue, just like the sky on the other side of the clouds.   It’s about knowing that no matter what’s happening in our life, it’s okay to still find moments of joy and great value underneath it all.  To be grateful for the good that is.  For the lessons.  To focus on Love.  This is how to be happy through the clouds.  When we get this – really get it – we can reach in any time we need it and allow the rays to begin shining through.  This is not only the key to making it through dark times easier; it’s also a core path to healing.

The past five years of my life have been by far the most challenging yet.  I recovered from a painful, debilitating illness that lasted over a year, two of my dear life-long friends passed away suddenly, I lost a mentor who was a true beacon in my life, and my nearly 10-year marriage came to an end.  And, there was also unpleasant life shizzle mixed in there to add to the fun (surgeries, moves, you name it).  Yes, there were days I felt like I might just shrivel up like a dried leaf and blow away in the wind.  On those days, I just allowed myself to feel it (because, it’s perfectly O.K. to allow yourself to have days that suck once in a while without beating yourself up about it).  On the worst days, I found light by mindfully sending loving energy to those people and situations that were painful for me.

With all this, believe it or not, the past five years have also been the space for some of the happiest times in my life.  This is because a few years ago, I finally understood that being happy through – and in spite of – the storms is the answer to a truly happy life.  That sometimes things need to fall apart before they can truly fall together.  This knowing has been at my core through it all.  It’s looking for and embracing those moments of joy during even the darkest times that can help us get through.  It’s in having the strength to reach for the smallest spark of light, even when we feel broken open.  This is what pulls us through.

Allowing ourselves to feel, acknowledge, and process sadness, grief, anger, and all those other feelings is an instrumental part of moving forward and living our happiest life.  All of those emotions are valid and help us heal and grow.  But, during these times, we can also tend to create an inner-struggle to squash joy, because the ego can tend to make us believe that joy shouldn’t exist during those times.  The powerful truth is that so much sweet stuff and so many lessons that add to our happiness come to us through these emotions and experiences.

A while back, I cracked open a fortune cookie and the message inside said, “The cloud will rain success on you.”  Times had been rough, but I knew the clouds were beginning to part and thought to myself, “Yep! I’ll take that!”  The fortune stayed on my refrigerator for days until after seeing it several times the true message finally hit me.  It’s awesome if you think about it.  It wasn’t saying, “When this crap is over, success will come your way,” but rather, “The cloud over your head right now is going to rain good stuff on you – WHILE you’re under it – so keep your eye out!”  Exactly!

The most amazing gifts, lessons and experiences in life are sometimes found under the clouds.  Our job is to stay open, look for moments of joy, receive, and let it rain.

Love, bliss, and glowing energy,

~ Kristi

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Kristi Ling Spencer

Kristi Ling is a happiness strategist, internationally known life and business coach, bestselling author, and inspirational speaker who works with individuals and organizations on building a firm foundation for lasting happiness and success. She has been featured in numerous media outlets such as Oprah Daily, Woman’s Day, Oxygen, Entrepreneur, Mashable, Reader’s Digest, and Women’s Health. Her popular TEDx Talk on The Power of Re-Thinking Happiness has been shared across social media, and she has appeared as a keynote speaker for major companies and events. Her bestselling book, Operation Happiness – The 3-Step Plan to Creating a Life of Lasting Joy, Abundant Energy, and Radical Bliss was chosen by Success Magazine as one of the best books to make you successful. It’s available now wherever books and audiobooks are sold.

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