A Letter About Happiness

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.

Weekly Letters

Katrina Kibben View All →

Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.

Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Kat –

    Wonderful insight! I’m finding happiness returning to my life, slowly but surely. It can be a battle, It can be a slog. But, the happiness will be worth the battle, and the slog…

    Dave Ladner

  2. Kat,

    Being versus making. Great wisdom. I echo that if as individuals we attempt to “be” happy versus “making” happiness we will be able to pay attention and be enveloped by happiness…big or small…when it’s upon us.
    Thanks for your words and the reminder.

    Donna Dietrich

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