Walking down the street today, my eyes welled up with a too-familiar bittersweet sadness. I knew this feeling. For all my life I’ve called it depression. Mild depression for sure, but chronic, familiar, and nasty.

This label made sense. Depression runs deep in my family tree, and I’d grown up a hyper-vigilant kid, making sure I didn’t lose my mother to its lure, yet again. Of course, it was depression.

Yet, something didn’t line up. As I walked along, retelling this habitual depression story, it occurred to me that I was happy. Really happy. Like bluebirds and sunshine happy.

How could I have missed that? Had it been there all along?

Yes, laying on top of that happiness like a wet blanket was my belief that being happy was not OK, that something terrible would happen if I allowed/accepted/invited it into my life fully. But was that depression?

Hmm. For all the analogies between the human brain and computers, we humans are remarkably like old gear-driven machines in one important way: things need to align for us to work at peak level.

And I was stripping my gears. My deeply felt happiness was at war with my deeply held beliefs about happiness – and the resistance between the two hurt!

Resistance wears on our psyches, our bodies, our souls. And the only way to relieve it is to remove the resistance, to realign the gears so everything is working together.

My eyes welled up with this deep knowing. I wasn’t depressed, I was resistant – to my own happiness!

So I turned my eyes outward from their inward battle and allowed myself to feel that happiness with a simplicity and childlike joy that didn’t need reason or purpose. It just. felt. good.

Hmm. Big risk, dude, allowing that happiness. Look out!

But surely it isn’t as risky as stripping my gears so the machine won’t run.

Good to know.


I want to invite you to really pay attention over the next few weeks. Big things are happening at Strengths in Focus. A new name. A more focused mission. A new community. And much, much more. I can’t wait to fill you in…