Happiness Can Be Found Where?

Monday, July 03, 2017

On a recent plane ride, I watched a movie called "Collateral Beauty" which I highly recommend. I'm not going to give it all away, but I will say that I loved the message behind it: Even when the absolute worst thing that can happen, happens, eventually, if you have the courage to shift your focus, you will slowly begin to notice all the collateral beauty around your shattered life.

Often, people contact me asking for advice on how to get through hard times. So, after I saw the movie, I decided to write this post.

At first it seems almost impossible to see the beauty and find joy within pain, but believe me, it can be done. Throughout history, the human spirit has continued to survive and thrive despite all of the evils that have befallen us. And to me, that's the absolute proof to never, ever, ever give up hope, as anything can change in a second. Perhaps not our circumstances, but, definitely our attitudes, outlooks and spirits.

It's really funny (actually this happens quite often), that after I've been inspired by an idea and begin a post, I'll hear a dvar Torah or read something with the same exact message! It's like the idea is floating around in the air.

As a matter of fact, after I began writing this post on Friday, my husband came home from shul on Shabbos morning and started telling over a story in the Parsha of how the Jewish people were poisoned by snakes for whining and complaining, and the cure was brought about when Moshe held up a copper snake and told the people to raise their eyes up towards it. How does that even make sense?*

It's pretty simple. When we change our outlook from one of bitterness and complaining, to an elevated one of hope and trust in G-d, somehow that change in perspective actually causes the circumstances in our lives to improve. And I can say I've experienced this phenomenon first hand.
Raising our eyes (and attitudes) up from despair brings about the cure, and that's when all the collateral beauty starts to show up.

Happiness is probably the most sought after, yet elusive emotion in this world.  But, I'm finally starting to see that we may have been seeking it in all the wrong places.

According to holocaust survivor and author Viktor Fankl, "...we can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: 1. by creating work or doing a deed; 2. by experiencing something or encountering someone; and 3. by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering." (From the book Man's Search for Meaning)

So, ironically, if we can find our meaning through our suffering, and finding meaning equals finding sustainable happiness, then the wisdom that ultimately brings about true happiness, usually comes out of some type of deep loss and sadness.

I'm not saying we should be dancing and singing though the hard stuff. It's a process. But maybe, by shifting our focus and belief system; believing there's a purpose or meaning beyond our pain that we just can't see yet, and even more...that this is all part of our personal journey towards self growth and eventually, true happiness....we'll be able to get through the really, really, tough times a little more easily, with a newfound ability to spot the collateral happiness peeking through the cracks of our pain.

As someone near and dear to me, who went through a pretty rough patch this year recently told me, "Actually, this was the best year of my life."

Tip: No matter what you may be going through, try to get up, dress up and show up. Especially during the summer, try to put on some vibrant colors, patterns, and textures, and watch your mood lighten up.

Create your own happy looks by shopping the items below:

With loads of love,



*An interesting side note: When I was going for Somatic therapy to manage anxiety this past winter, I  learned about the concept of paying attention and actually visualizing any pain or discomfort I was feeling in my body. Often we try to escape or fight our pain, but in essence, pain is always just a message that our body is sending us. If we actually 'look at it' (visualize what the pain actually looks like), and really pay attention to it, it starts to recede. Try it now! Close your eyes and scan your body for any discomfort. Now try to describe what it looks like. Maybe it's a heavy stone or burning fire or something else. Now visualize whatever it is as if it's in front of you and just observe without judgment. It's really cool, because it really lessens the pain. I just thought it was really interesting that in the Parsha, Moshe didn't simply say, "Change your focus and look toward G-d," but he held up an image of what was causing them their pain, and by seeing the image and looking at it in a different perspective, they were able to feel better. Cool, no?

For more information on Somatic healing, which is a great therapy for PTSD and any anxiety related ailment, and doesn't involve painful talk therapy, read this book:

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  1. This truly brightened up my day & I can't wait to share it with my friends! -Perri

  2. Thanks so much .. luved ur article ..

  3. Thanks so much .. luved this article ..