No, you don’t need to have gone through hardship to be happy

Alex Mathers
3 min readMay 29


I see people talking about how the kindest, friendliest, happiest people are often those who went through loads of misery.

’They’ve seen things.’

’Only those who’ve been to the dark side can truly know life.’

People say that what we’ve ‘been through’ will directly influence who we are today.

I do believe, however, that this is simply a load of rubbish.

Absolutely — many genuine, lovely people went through many struggles in their lives.

And it’s beautiful to see.

(Note: find me one person who hasn’t gone through some kind of significant ‘trauma’ or hardship by the time they’re 20. I’ll wait).

But to suggest that you must have gone through hell to be happy or in some way more genuine is — frankly — bollocks.

The exact same thing applies to the equally popular concept that if we go through a complicated past, we’re in some way bound to these experiences, and they will forever tarnish or colour our present experience and enjoyment.

Uh, no.

Stop the nonsense. It’s decreasing your intelligence and limiting you.

A huge misconception I see people falling for again and again and again is the idea that our past experiences must define our current behaviours and states of mind.

This is false.

They do not.

And the degree to which we believe this is true reflects how easily limited we are by false thinking.

Stop falling for lies.

How miserable or happy you are right now has nothing to do with what happened.

And, yes, I get it. It can often seem that way.

But there is no connection except the one we create in the mind.

It does, however, have a lot to do with how you CHOOSE to respond to what happened. Or whether you choose to respond at all.

In fact, if you stop obsessing about your freaking past for five minutes, no matter how difficult it was, you may have a fleeting moment of peace.



Alex Mathers

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