Thought Catalog

50 Ways To Define ‘Happiness’ In Exactly Five Words

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 08:00 PM PDT

Twenty20, mikaelanicolle
Twenty20, mikaelanicolle

1. Figuring out what actually matters.

2. Loving friends with total abandon.

3. Discovering the secret silver lining.

4. Every single life-changing aha! moment.

5. Holding each other whenever possible.

6. Actually talking to friends IRL.

7. Truly appreciating the little things.

8. Together in bed, watching Netflix.

9. Missing a book you’ve finished.

10. When a crush crushes back.

11. Waking up next to her.

12. Deciding to smile, whatever happens.

13. The satisfaction of creating something.

14. Learning to appreciate failure's value.”

15. Pizza when you’re crazy hungover.

16. Reliving your very first kiss.

17. His hand enclosed around yours.

18. The first blossoms of Springtime.

19. Loving yourself truly, madly, deeply.

20. Makeup sex after a fight.

21. Tweeting birds instead of witticisms.

22. That she gets you, totally.

23. His soothing, ripe morning scent.

24. High-fiving friends after a win.

25. Knowing you’re better off together.

26. Sharing in all her achievements.

27. Total silence—except for laughter.

28. Cooking comfort food in winter.

29. Bursting with love for them.

30. Finding the will to forgive.

31. Making her proud of you.

32. A platonic but meaningful hug.

33. Eye contact, no screens around.

34. Embracing after too long apart.

35. Making your best friends lol.

36. That knowing smile you exchange.

37. Feeling good for doing good.

38. Finishing a long-term project—finally.

39. The fact that they’re yours.

40. Building a life with them.

41. Looking at them, feeling safe.

42. Recognizing you’re one lucky fucker.

43. Forgiving yourself for past mistakes.

44. Sleeping in because you can.

45. Spotting talent in someone else.

46. Feeling valued as an individual.

47. Moving people through telling stories.

48. Loving another more than yourself.

49. Wandering the world, totally free.

50. Your morning cup of coffee. TC mark

14 Ways Old Souls Love Differently

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 07:00 PM PDT


1. Our philosophical views impact the way we think of our relationships. We don't see them as just physical or random or meaningless. We view relationships as mediums for self-exploration, so we approach love with the intention of growing, not "getting."

2. Communication = intimacy. Knowing someone deeply and growing to understand them even more completely is as sexy as it gets for us. Physical intimacy without mental connection tends to feel empty, and we shy away from anything that feels meaningless.

3. We have a lot of paradoxical traits, so while we're very loving and affectionate, we also need our space and independence. We're hopeless romantics but realists at the same time. Reconciling these contradictions may seem confusing at first, but it maintains balance at the end of the day.

4. We're more inclined to commit, but also more skeptical of whether or not it will last. We'll get into relationships quickly because we're endlessly hopeful – yet at the same time, we'll be overthinking random encounters, looking for subtle cues that our partner isn't really into it, planning for the worst, over-evaluating, and so on.

5. Our intuitiveness is our biggest downfall. Often, we spend too much time predicting what could be rather than just living it out and seeing what happens. A lot of the time, we need to be reminded that not every word has a hidden, loaded meaning behind it. We're prone to overthinking.

6. We know that love is in the simple things. We'd be less responsive to an expensive gift than, say, a thoughtful note or loving glance while out together… basically anything that's more emotionally reassuring than impressive.

7. We will want to talk through everything. If avoidance is your default defense mechanism, it's not going to go over well. We don't believe in allowing things to go on unresolved, and are pretty sound in believing that we can come up with solutions as long as we can honestly discuss the issue in the first place.

8. We want holistic love. We want to know you mentally and emotionally and spiritually and sexually. Just one won't cut it.

9. We're quick to over-romanticize. We'll easily overlook less-than-admirable traits, and it's rare that we won't at least give a second chance. We believe that things can change, people can grow, and even when it toes the line of daydreamy,

10. We expect a lot because we see the best in people. It's not only that we respect ourselves enough to hold people to certain standards, but also that we see the best in people and in some ways begin to expect that they will at least try to better themselves over time.

11. We like "old fashioned" dating. Gender roles completely aside, we like the concept of being taken out and treated well – we prefer dinners to "hangouts," and having intentions communicated throughout the whole process.

12. We're natural caretakers, and hope that you'll extend the same to us in return.

13. It's not that we don't see the value in dating for fun, but that we don't really want to waste too much time if the relationship isn't going anywhere. Some people don't mind staying with someone they very well know they won't be with forever – we prefer to move on and find someone with whom we will.

14. We will love you completely. For however long you're in our lives, for whatever capacity, we will love you to the very best of our ability. It's just in our nature. TC mark

Kehlani Could Be You, Why Kindness On The Internet Is So Important

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 06:29 PM PDT

You Should Be Here - Kehlani
You Should Be Here – Kehlani

I didn’t know if I wanted to write about this at first. I fantasized about driving down to the nearest beach and chucking every piece of technology I owned straight into the ocean. I wanted to drown the entire internet, to watch the grossest parts of humanity disappear to depths I’d never again have to see.

I’d drive away knowing I’d never sign on and see something that makes me sick. The sky would be a little bluer, birds a little louder. I’d remember how it feels to believe people are fundamentally good.

But considering my salary is dependent on using my laptop, I nixed the idea. Your girl’s got bills.

If you don’t know what I’m referencing, you can (unfortunately) Google the name “Kehlani” and not only find her Instagram explaining her recent rumored suicide attempt, but also THOUSANDS of tweets, memes, and articles sharing judgmental opinions about the matter.

Listen, I’m not about to waste my time speculating about a 20 year old woman’s personal life, relationship status, etc. So if you want the details on what happened, this won’t be the place for it.

What I do care about is the reaction to someone in serious pain. What I do care about is the terrifying ability people seem to have to place celebrity in front of human being.

If you do not have personal experience with mental illness, depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, etc. quite simply, YOU. DO. NOT. UNDERSTAND.

I know it’s very jarring for some of you to be left out of something, but I promise, you’ll be okay. You don’t need to jump in on something you clearly have no empathy for.

There’s a very serious narcissism in assuming all of our opinions should constantly be shared. We’re all a little guilty. Hell, any time we tweet, we’re shouting, “HEY, LISTEN TO ME AND THINGS I THINK!” Sometimes, it’s totally funny and benign. Other times, people have opened up important dialogue that way. Social media has given voices to those who have often felt voiceless. I get it. I participate just as often.

I tweeted a serious of things about the situation:

And I was met with responses like:
“Nah, I’m good.”
“She’s a thot who did it for attention.”
“Lmao, ya’ll hoes sticking up for another hoe.”

And I was shocked. Which perhaps shows that I still assume people default to compassion and kindness. I was hoping to see a part of the internet I rarely do.

That’s not to say people out there aren’t sending love and sharing their struggles. But hate seems to shout louder. Hate crawls into bed with you, and as hard as you try to focus on all the love, hate has the ability to tuck itself in with you.

You wonder why there is such a stigma to mental illness? You wonder why if suicide is successful, they didn’t ask for help first?

You Should Be Here - Kehlani
You Should Be Here – Kehlani

Look around. Look at how people treat this situation. A young woman’s pain is up for jokes. People are more concerned about Kyrie Irving and details they STRAIGHT UP DO NOT KNOW. You are strangers to these people, you know that right?

Like, sincerely, I’m asking.

You’re aware you don’t know Kehlani, right?

Being a fan of someone does not mean you know them. Listening to someone’s music does not mean you know them.

And I genuinely, genuinely hope no one you know goes through this kind of pain. Especially publicly. Because there is nothing attention seeking about seeing no other alternative to death. And until you’ve been there, do those of us who have a favor and kindly shut the fuck up.

Kehlani, what happened to you breaks my heart, but I hope you realize what you did was not selfish. What you did by sharing your survival just inspired so many others out there struggling. That if someone like you, who they idolize, can hit a low, they aren’t alone in hitting theirs. I hope you realize your survival may have just saved other lives too. And I, for one, am so glad you’re still here with us.

Heal however you need. We’re rooting for you. TC mark

To The Man Who Chose Drugs Over Me

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 06:00 PM PDT

Cody Cardilla

“You don’t need your fucking wallet!”

That is the last thing we fought about. 10 days ago. The last time I heard your voice and knew you were “okay.”

That is all I think about sometime around midnight, as I lay tossing and turning to thoughts of you being somewhere cold and alone or scared and hurt. No phone (because I turned it off).

And no fucking wallet.

My mind cannot help but wonder if you are alive or dead, and the odds of each. Maybe 75/25. Maybe not. But I imagine that is what everybody tells themselves right before burying somebody they love who passed way too soon because they believed it “wouldn’t happen to them.”

Which is what you say, until it happens.

The idea of it all makes me sick to my stomach, and I just want to hear you tell a terrible joke that I won’t find funny. Just to know you are safe. Or at least your warped version of it.

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to believe you choose the drugs over me. To believe you have a choice. To believe that you are happier now.

But that only lasts a moment, before I start to remember addiction is a disease. A cold-hearted monster who ruins lives and families and beautiful people every single day and literally gives zero fucks.

I start to remember the Hyde to the Jeckyl, the Ryan to the addict. The young man with striking blue eyes and contagious smile, who dreamed of being a dad and was so socially awkward that he used pick-up artist’s methods that he read in books.

See, I loved Ryan. I fought for Ryan. I held on for Ryan. The Ryan who ever so briefly made appearances and reminded me of the man underneath the addict who lies, cheats, steals, and disappears. Who is selfish and moody and disconnected. Who always chooses drugs.

See, I hate the man who chose drugs over me, over his son, over our family. The drug addict who slowly consumed the person I loved and refused to give him back. The unrecognizable person you have become.

Mourning the loss of someone who is still alive seems like a waste of time. But when I see you, I don’t see Ryan anymore. I see the monster underneath, the shell of a once beautiful person who lost it all to his demons. Despite my desperate pleas to save you from yourself, I watched you fade away and disappear. Helpless. Hopeless. Faithless.

I stayed for so long because I always believed in you, in us. I saw your past and your pain and your misery, and I wanted to give you an escape. One that didn’t involve shooting up. One that you had always wanted but could never find. I wanted to show you that you could  be happy, that you deserved to be happy.

Maybe I failed you. Maybe I was never enough or what you really needed. Maybe I only made things worse.  But fuck, I loved you. Even now as I choose to walk away, I do so with a heavy heart and indescribable sadness. Because you were my person. You were my best friend and the man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. There was never a doubt in my mind: you were the love of my life.

What we had could of been great. It could have been the love they write about in poems and songs. It could have been forever.

It should have been forever. 

But I cannot keep holding on to a man who is not there. A man who does not even care about himself. A man who only cares about his next hit, his next fix, his next binge. A man consumed by a monster. A man that I cannot fix; that I should not have to.

Leaving you is honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. And I constantly find myself second-guessing the decision, horrified at the idea of you being alone. Of you thinking that nobody cares or having no one you can turn to. But I also know I cannot continue down this destructive path with you. I know that our beautiful baby boy needs me. I know that my understanding and my empathy and my love has enabled you. Has prevented you from hitting a rock bottom that might actually wake you up and realize what you have to lose.

Which is everything. TC mark

To My Best Friend On Her Wedding Day: 30 Things I Want You Know

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 05:00 PM PDT

Sweet Ice Cream Photography
Sweet Ice Cream Photography

1. Today is the first day of a new life with him. And he is lucky because you will make his mornings brighter and his nights sweeter.

2. I know he is your man now but you can still count on me.

3. The day we've been dreaming about is finally here and I know you are smiling because you finally realized I was right when I told you he will find you one day.

4. I know you're looking back and laughing at all the frogs you’ve kissed before and how hung up you were on them and I know you're smiling because these days are over and you found a real man who can cherish you and appreciate you.

5. I will cry during my toast – I apologize in advance for ruining your makeup.

6. If you ever feel like you're not good enough for him, I want you to remember today and the way he looked at you when you were walking down the aisle.

7. Ever since I met him and I knew he deserved you, I'm sorry I gave him a hard time but I had to make sure that he is willing to fight for you.

8. I hope he loves you in a way that makes you believe in love every single day and tell your mom how happy he makes you so she can finally sleep at night.

9. I hope he listens to you when you're down and go out of his way to make you smile.

10. I hope he likes your weird obsessions and your eccentric tastes, I hope he supports your dreams even if he can't understand them.

11. I hope he always puts you first, I hope he knows that life is incomplete without you, that all the good things in life won't mean a thing if he is not sharing them with you. I hope you become the only thing he truly can't live without.

12. I hope he understands that I am not going anywhere and he should expect me to show up uninvited and call you whenever I feel like it.

13. I hope you can completely be yourself with him with all your flaws and imperfections, I hope he finds them endearing and beautiful and doesn't try to change them.

14. Even though I hate to give up my spot, but I hope he becomes your best friend, the one you can talk to about anything, the one you can trust with your life, the one you can reveal your secrets to and know that he won't judge you. I hope he becomes the male version of me.

I hope you can sit together in silence and still be happy, I hope you can have endless conversations with him and not get bored.

16. I hope you're finally happy that you will be able to have someone for the holidays, someone you can spoil and cook for. Someone to just cuddle with in front of the Christmas tree and sing ‘All I Want For Christmas’ for him.

17. If he ever hurts you, I hope he knows you have an army of women ready to take him down.

18. If he ever hurts you, I hope you know that you can always come crying to me no matter how long we've gone without talking to each other.

19. I hope he fulfills all his vows and I hope he promises more as time goes by.

20. He will give you the kids you always wanted and you will love him even more for it.

21. I hope your daughter has your sense of humor and your kindness. And I hope your son has his chivalry and his determination.

22. I will come to your daughter's dance recital and your son's football games. Save a spot for me.

23. We'll still have our inside jokes that he will never get.

24. Even though I will still see you, I will miss the random adventures and random trips we used to take. I will miss the days when you had all the time in the world for me, now I have to share it with someone else.

25. I will always be the one you fell in love with at first sight.

26. I promise you I will be his friend too and try to understand him, but he has to know that you will always be my number one.

27. I want you to know that you are a person worthy of all the love in the world and that you make him happy – even if you don't believe it, you do! You make people happy.

28. I want you to know that you give me hope, and you always did. You gave me hope that love exists and that it can be both pure and strong and it can definitely heal people. Your love is mystical.

29. I want you to know that as you walk away with him to start a new life that it will not always be easy, but if you can love him and forgive him as much as you love me and forgive me – your marriage will last and it will blossom and it will only grow stronger.

30. I want you to know that no matter what, I'll always be there for you and I will never stop loving you. TC mark

Why The Worst Breakups Are The Best For Moving On

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 04:00 PM PDT

Joel Sossa
Joel Sossa

You just stormed out of his place, screaming, cursing his life, swearing you hate his dumb, selfish guts. It's over, and the end was not pretty. In fact, it was super fucking heinous.

You're reeling. You just lost your shit. Like… someone. Please. Help this girl (you) locate her shit, because it is LITERALLY nowhere to be found. You made a scene, and you feel like the most veritably psycho bitch on the planet.

You're not crying (yet). You're on your way home, immobile, staring at your phone, not knowing where to start. Who to text. What to say. You're in shock. Did you really say that? Did he really say that? Did the neighbors hear? You're clueless. You've never had an out-of-body experience, but tonight was distressingly close. Bitch, you need to breathe.

You did really say that. So did he. It was… ugly. You loved each other. Shit, you probably still do. You don't want him to have a miserable life. You don't hate him. And now your regret is giving you acid reflux.


That "good" breakup of your tear-soaked dreams is not your reality. Good.

You have this lovely, romantic idea of what a "good" breakup might look like. You'd wish each other the best after having beautifully tragic breakup sex. He'd kiss you and whisper something whimsically nauseating like, "I'll always love you." You'd leave a perfect, pink diamond-encrusted key to your heart on his bedside table. He'd always look for your scent on other women. It'd be fucking poetic.

But that poem, as pretty as it is, is a joke. That "good" breakup of your tear-soaked dreams is not your reality. Good. Because if you think exploding into a thousand I hate yous for one shitty night is hard… well, it is. It's brutal. But worse still? Breaking up with someone without really breaking up, at all. Having a breakup so amicable, so sweet, so loving, that you can't move the fuck on.

Untie yourself from him. Say "fuck you," even if you don't hate him, because yeah, FUCK him. Fuck him, fuck your breakup, fuck it all. Fuck the way you treated each other in the end. And fuck being “crazy” in love. You were wild for him, and when it started to crumble, all you could do was gape at the ruins of your relationship in furious disbelief. Fuck that.

Now, you've gotta do the only thing there is to do: You.

You've got to take all that rage you felt towards him in the *final hours* and turn it into something productive for you. You've got to laugh, because let's face it: That breakup was fucking hilarious. Bravo should've been up in that bitch with a full camera crew and Andy Cohen on call to *unpack* the drama with you. And then you've got to start a new chapter of your bomb ass life. You don't want to feel all those gooey attachments a "good" breakup would've engendered. Trust. You want to feel vindicated by your anger, and you want to keep it moving.

Fuck him, babe. Something good is happening. TC mark

I Only Want You When You’re Sober

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 03:45 PM PDT


I only want you when you're sober. When you have shed the shadows of your skin. Your sins.

When you've lost your liquid confidence, when you've forgotten how to be unafraid. When you speak nervously, hesitantly, every word calculated as if it's fragile, as if speaking too loud will make the truths shatter like glass.

I only want you when you're vulnerable. When you're terrified to speak your heart to existence, when your head is clear and what you really want to say bites at you behind closed lips.

I want your heart beating fast, not thick with liquor. I want your eyes open and bright, not red-rimmed and disguised with a loopy smile. Not a body slumped on a couch and an arm draped heavy across my shoulders. Not a kiss you won't remember, still wet on my lips.

I want you the you that's tender and thoughtful, gentle and intentional. The you that touches me like a treasure, that traces the birthmarks on my cheeks as if to bless each one.

I want the you that makes my breathing catch, that terrifies me with his strong, conscious eyes.

I want the you that doesn't look for answers in a bottle. And kisses them onto my lips instead. TC mark

Promise Me This

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 03:00 PM PDT


I want honesty. Brutal, raw honesty. Ignorance is not bliss, not to me. I want to know if a girl hit on you at the bar and I want to know how you responded. I want to know if a girl is texting you, if she’s flirting with you and how you’re dealing with it. I want to know if when we were just seeing each other there was someone else, even if it meant nothing. Even if you were drunk. I want to know it all.

I want to know if you cheated and I want to know why. I want your loyalty to me to be more important than protecting me from the truth. I can deal with the truth, I can get over it. We can discuss it. But a lie? Withholding the truth? I cannot deal with that. I cannot forgive it.

You see, a lie is never just a lie. A lie is a promise of things yet to come. A lie is you choosing yourself over me. A lie is me always wondering where you are and who you’re with. A lie is me not believing you even if you are telling the truth. Because if you’ve lied once, why wouldn’t you do it again?

A lie is a constant unease, a constant question spinning inside my head. A lie is trying to understand the way your face looks when you’re being honest so I can know when you’re not. A lie is suspicion and broken sleep. A lie is a twisting inside my stomach. A lie is the end.

So promise me you’ll be honest, even if it hurts me, even if it breaks us. Promise me you’ll be honest even if it’s unnecessary, even if it means nothing. Promise me you’ll tell me it all so I can love you with everything I have. So my vulnerability doesn’t choke me.

Promise me your secrets will be my secrets. Promise me you’ll hold my heart in both hands and not let it slip. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not in the years to come.

And I promise you, I’ll trust you as recklessly as I love you. And maybe, just maybe, we will last forever. TC mark

My Home Is Not One Place

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 02:00 PM PDT

Joel Sossa
Joel Sossa

Home is the two-story with beige siding and the dog curled up in the front room window.

Home is the tiny dorm with the lime green curtains, is my sister's bed, is the passenger seat of my best friend's car, is my ex boyfriend's porch steps at midnight.

Home is the couch in the living room of my first apartment, is the local bar, is the coffee shop on Saturday mornings.

Home is bare feet and dangling legs on the rooftop, sharing drinks and watching the sunset.

My home is not one place, not rooted to where I was born or the words stamped to my ID. My home is infinite—all the places I've wandered, all the lessons I've learned, all the people I've kissed or loved or laughed with.

My home is late nights and early mornings at work, is high school memories and college parties, is cross-country road trips, is telling stories under the stars.

It is the people who have blessed me, shared pieces of their lives with me, even for a short time.

It is feeling like I belong in more place than one.

It is claiming my memories as mine.

My home is people. Family, and those who became family. Friends, and those whose lives flitted with mine for a moment. Even those I don't remember clearly in my mind but felt their presence, see their faces in the background of a photograph—they are bits and pieces of me—where I’ve been, where I belong.

And I will never belong to just one place. TC mark

The TSA Started Instagramming The Actual Weapons They Confiscate, And The Pictures Are Terrifying

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 01:00 PM PDT


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