If you’re new here, you don’t know about my weekly letters. You might be wondering why I’m writing about happiness, but that’s what these letters are all about. I’ve been on a hiatus, but we’re back. These letters are about life – not recruiting – and I send one every Friday. Enjoy.
There are a handful of people in my life going through some very heartbreaking moments right now. Divorce. Bad bosses. You name it. I’ve been lucky enough to walk beside them through these last shitty few weeks. One conversation that keeps coming ups is about happiness – what we thought it was. In that pondering, I have given this speech at least five times. So now I’m sharing it with you, too.
When bad things happen, we crave happiness. That feeling of the sun on our faces and nothing on our minds. The freedom of not feeling like you’re on the verge of tears. The sensation of stepping off a plane into the unknown. Whatever your version of happiness is, when the world feels upside down, it’s in our nature to want to run to it. To find it.
When we were kids, we were sold the idea that happiness is something we drown in. It should be all-encompassing and take away every bit of doubt and pain when it arrives. Happiness is supposed to wash over us and make it better. Somehow, we should bounce from sad to happy as if there’s no in-between these binaries of emotion.
But that’s not what happiness is in my experience.
Happiness is a lot more like waiting on the shore for the tide to rise. It’s waiting for the feeling of the water to crash into you, all while smelling the sea. It’s trusting that because of things so far out of our power – the sun, the moon, gravity – that this tide will rise again and meet our feet at the shore. It’s the sensation of sinking into the sand and knowing the water will return to wash it away.
It’s the act of just being that we resist so hard when we’re trying to “make” ourselves happy.
I don’t know that we as people can experience drowning in happiness when we’re obsessed with worrying about tomorrow. How can you appreciate the sea slapping your knees if you’re trying to figure out what time you have to go to the airport and when you have to make soccer snacks?
I’m not saying that happiness is carefree either. I’m just saying it’s moving and it’s not going to wash over you unless you’re paying attention…
This week to celebrate my birthday, I wrote about the feeling of drowning in the bad, too. I hope you had a chance to read it – it was by far one of the most personal and private posts I’ve ever shared with a lesson I genuinely believe everyone needs to learn. You can read it here.
Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.