How do you stay happy on a rainy day?
The possible responses to such a question can be legion. I would still love to hear from you in the comments about how you have managed to stay happy during the rainy times of your life. What advice would you offer others who were going through hard times?
But to start, let’s first state the obvious …
Rainy Days: A Metaphor for Life
The rain that falls in our lives, of course, is not the kind that inspires the use of raincoats and umbrellas. I’m not asking about warm fires or hot cocoa as ways to stay happy on rainy days.
Rather, it’s a metaphor for coping and enduring and overcoming all the pain, sorrow, frustration, stress, distress, sadness, tragedy, loss, suffering, terror, horror, depression, abuse, difficulty, hardship, or any other sort of trial, tribulation or unhappiness we deal with in life.
The rain can come in the form of ill health, the death of a loved one, unemployment or other financial struggles, legal or social ramifications to poor choices we’ve made, a crisis of faith, the loss of trust from, or in, others, the loss of friendship, loneliness, marital problems, abuse, political strife, problems with children, a variety of possible handicaps, natural disasters, issues with self-esteem, and the struggles with anxiety or depression.
The heavy rains of life can fall suddenly and pour incessantly for long periods of time and for too many reasons to list here. Above is but a short listing of the possible dark clouds of rain that can muddy up the roads in life we try to travel.
Learn to Play in the Rain
That was the original answer to the original post, namely, to learn to play in the rain. It’s still my answer. You see, the rain will fall on each of us, if it hasn’t already, eventually and to some degree or another.
People die. Loved ones disappoint. Economies go belly-up. Opportunities turn sour. Wars erupt. Disasters strike. We get old and sick and lose our hair and eyes grow dim. It really does rain. And sometimes it pours.
So the bottom line is that you will, in fact, be rained on. Your clothes and hair are going to get wet, and maybe drenched … sooner or later. Roads will turn to mud. Landslides will fall. Paths will erode. Dark clouds will gather.
“Playing in the rain,” then, is a metaphor for learning to stay dry on the inside even while it’s raining on the outside. Or you can look at it this way: It is the art of letting the outside get wet, while keeping the inside warm, not letting the rain soak through to turn your insides cold and bitter with the mildew of resentment and anger or depression and despair.
We Have Two Options to the Storms of Life
Option 1: Complain, cry, moan, groan, pout, whine, criticize, blame, accuse, scapegoat, and otherwise, sit curled up in the corner of life, soaked, angry, depressed, waiting and longing for the storm to blow by.
Option 2: Or you can learn to play in the rain!
But what does playing in the rain mean? What does it look like? How do we keep our hearts warm and dry while the cold rain is beating down upon us, thrashing and soaking everything in sight, leaving nothing dry? When we feel beat up by circumstances, what can we do? How do we stay essentially happy or find peace or endure nobly when so much of life is falling down on top of us, drenching us in the bitter cold of a dark storm that just keeps pounding and pounding and pounding and pounding?
3 Ways to “Play in the Rain”
1. Change what you do: It is human nature to withdraw and circle the wagons in times of distress, when we feel like we are under attack by life or some seen or unseen enemy. Resist that urge! Stay active. Keep working out. Keep eating healthy. Keep friends close. Keep going to church. Keep volunteering in your community. Be as active and as busy as you reasonably can be.
Chances are, you are not doing this right now if you are currently weathering a storm. Change that. Get active. Pick up a hobby. Play the piano. Read. Go to the library. Meet new people. Change your pace. Change your routine. Do something out of the ordinary. Inject some diversity and interest into the darkness.
Isolation and inactivity, moping around, listening to sad songs, staying in your pajamas until noon, skipping showers, or watching TV all day, are recipes for more depression and more distress. So get up and move.
Do something. Take steps toward rectifying what may be rectifiable. Act happy. In other words, do the things happy people do and you will, at worst, feel less sad. At best, the clouds will start to part and the rain-soaked land will start to dry as the sun starts to shine through the parting clouds of the trials you are going through.
But minimally, your burden will begin to feel less heavy while you wait out the storm.
2. Change what you think: Change the questions you habitually ask yourself during trying times. Refuse to ask questions like, “Why me?” That induces self-pity and surrender and can lead to contempt. Instead ask, “What can I learn?” This will refocus your mind away from the pain and sorrow itself and onto the lessons available to you from the pain and sorrow.
Know that things will get better. Understand that life is meant to teach and instruct and develop us, to help us rise to the height of our potential. See what you can learn from its teaching moments of heartache and struggle. There are many lessons to be had … if looked for.
The trials you are struggling with can then take on a sense of deep meaning and purpose as lessons are discovered and growth inspired.
3. Change what you believe: Believe improvement is possible. You are not stuck in sorrow. Life is dynamic and pain, like everything else, ebbs and flows. Believe your sorrow will ebb too.
Believe answers to your difficulty are available. Search for them. Learn them. Apply them. Believe there is a loving God who knows and cares about you. Go to Him. Often. He may not remove the thorn, but He can strengthen your ability to endure its pain or dull its sting. He can direct your path and inspire a better way to see the trials of life.
Believe in the indomitable human spirit. It is strong and resilient. You will rise. The sun will shine again. Believe you matter. You do. Believe it. It’s easy to forget in the midst of great heartache. But don’t forget it. Remember it. Feel it.
You matter to me. To those who love you. To all decent and compassionate people who care about the human condition, who pray for you and others who are going through tough times. There are millions of us. Maybe billions. You matter. Remember it in your darkest hours. It can make all the difference.
These are my thoughts to the question posed in the title: How to Stay Happy on a Rainy Day.