There have been periods in my life when I was unhappy and flailing.
Sometimes outside circumstances were the cause of my unhappiness -- the death of a loved one, an unexpected and unwanted life change, or the painful behaviors of people close to me. Many of these outside events occurred in my youth or young adulthood, during a time of life when I had little control of events around me.
As a result, I believed that happiness in life rested on the ability to dodge unpleasant events. If you could avoid the land mines that caused so much disruption and pain, you had a hope for happiness. Of course, this requires you to live a contained life. If you venture too far outside of the safety zone, into uncharted territory, you might step on one of those land mines.
Little did I know that by choosing the avoidance of pain as my guiding directive in life, I was creating a much bigger pain -- the loss of my freedom and potential.
Maybe you are living a contained life as well. Perhaps you've had wounds and negative events that have led you to hunker down and protect yourself. And maybe, like me, you're starting to realize the "protection" is more painful than the circumstances you're avoiding.
It took me many years to understand that you can't avoid life difficulties if you really want to live. Bad things do happen. People will hurt and disappoint you. This is part of the human condition. But . . . it isn't the only part. In between the occasional disruptions, you have a lot of life to enjoy. Once you're an adult, you do have control over your life and how YOU choose to respond to it, the good and the bad.
If you want to relish life and find ongoing contentment and joy, then you can't spend it avoiding pain. You must live it fully and openly, on your own terms, even if it means encountering some pain along the way.