To be happy means allowing yourself to also be unhappy.

Happiness and unhappiness are two-sides of the same coin. They are inseparable, like up and down, or north and south - one implies the other. If you never felt sad, you would never even know when you felt happy. If you didn't ever feel fear then you would never feel love. Life would just be neutral, lifeless even.

Problems arise, not when we are unhappy, but when we try to deny the unhappiness as a normal experience, as part of being alive. To not allow an emotion to just be there and pass over you, usually only intensifies the problem by strengthening that emotional state even further. By 'pushing' the feeling away you are doing the exact opposite of what you are intending to do.

It is normal to feel sad sometimes. All emotions are normal; just like good and bad days, good and bad movies, good and bad people.

However, ultimately they are not the whole truth. Just because you feel sad, even for a few days, it does not mean you are a "sad person". Being happy, does not make you a "happy person".

Try not to identify yourself with any particular emotion, good or bad, and accept that you are not your emotions, you are a person that experiences emotions, just like every other human being on the planet.

Try not to identify yourself with any particular emotion, good or bad, and accept that you are not your emotions, you are a person that experiences emotions.

To have the perspective of finding things good, or in being happy, you must also have the contrast. This is exactly how the brain is able to label our experiences in the first place. I believe part of this is for our our survival as a species - emotions like fear serve to protect you from danger so you can survive to pass on your genes, while emotions like love and lust give you the desire to reproduce - however I also believe part of this is our brain processing that we are in fact alive. Without emotions there would just be content and no context. Emotions give our lives meaning.

"To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them." - Maria Popova

If you want a life of meaning then you also stand to live an emotional life, with the ups and the downs. There is no denying this and there is certainly no need to cover up certain emotions or pretend they aren't there. A lot of people will say they're happy at times when they are not, thinking they should or need to be at that moment. Possibly assuming that they should be happy because "everyone else is except me". It's easy to feel like everyone else is happy all the time and that there is something wrong with you, when in fact this could not be further from the truth.

It would be fair to say that what everyone wants out of life is to be happy. This pursuit of happiness is precisely why they are not, at least not all the time, like we think we should, can or deserve to be. If you want to be happy, then sometimes you will get sad. This doesn't mean that you should put up with being perpetually unhappy for the hope that one day you feel happiness. It's just that the two go together and this integration should be a balance.

Sometimes you are happy, and sometimes you are sad. It's all part of being truly alive.



Moredoundnt is a fun-loving writer who likes to reflect on what it means to be human and live the good life. Other passions include surfing, skateboarding, and learning about the great mysteries of the mind and the human experience.

Begin your day feeling grounded and inspired.

A free 30-day email series where we share the most impactful stories and ideas that have helped us on our journey to live a more meaningful life.

✌️ Free. Unsubscribe anytime.

Welcome to Holstee

Living with intention is an ongoing practice, not a destination. Inspired by this, we’ve created a range of products to help you on your journey to live both fully and mindfully, including the Holstee Membership, Reflection Cards, and our recently-launched



This article is part of our series on the theme of Reflection.

EXPLORE Reflection →

Shop Holstee

product-image product-image product-image

Inspiration and tools to help you live a more meaningful life.