It’s done every day all over the world. Someone asks ‘How are you?’ and we automatically reply ‘I’m ok’.
This simple action done millions of times across the globe is one of the reasons why we as a society expect people to always be happy.
John Middleton Murray once said “It is better to be whole than to be good.” And the simple fact is many of us are not always going to be happy. And that is ok.
Honestly speaking sadness/unhappiness is usually an unwelcome guest and every time it comes knocking on my door, I do my best to get rid of it. In fact, many of us want nothing more than for happiness to be our constant state of being, and this is also demanded by society. Not being happy or being down is often met with unwarranted advice on how to ‘get over it’ or ‘get your mind off it.”
But why is it not ok to not be happy? Like every human emotion sadness happens. We can get immersed in the thick of discouragement for days, feeling mopey, downtrodden, physically, mentally, and emotionally “burnt out” and all in all “not ourselves.” Personally, when I am in this state, I tend to disappear into myself or put on a mask of happiness. I avoid my family others, and even my own feelings.
This is further bolstered by the fact that I am so adamant about being a positive person and believe that shining brightly is far preferable to feeling miserable.
Many of us share this tendency toward wanting to hold onto the light—but then, what do we do with our inner darkness? Where do we get this notion that to be our truest and most beautiful selves we have to always be happy, elated, content, and sure of ourselves? We are only human after all, and nothing in our instruction manuals promises that we will always be perfect and shiny. Yet, we carry this unrealistic pressure on ourselves to be so and often berate ourselves for falling short any time a bad mood strikes.
Although it is tempting to only put our best foot forward. In my life, I am beginning to acknowledge that it is just as natural to feel insecure, scared, and as it is natural to sometimes feel peaceful, excited, or happy. Sadness needs to be accepted. It needs to be acknowledged in order for us to learn about ourselves and grow. If you are not feeling happy its ok to let people know it.
Hiding our true emotions can cause unrealistic expectations form the people that we deal with on a day to day basis and is bad for our overall mental health. It’s important to appreciate ourselves in the face of all our weaknesses and imperfections because without sadness one can never truly appreciate happiness.