November 17, 2013

"I'm Happy, Right?"

It is a common belief that positive thinking and acting can lead to a happier, healthier life. Some people even believe that small gestures such as conjoining your upper teeth and lower teeth with a stretch of the cheeks can make our thoughts change. The thought behind this is that the structure and function of our brains alter, leading us to believe that we are well, happy. That sounds pretty adept and straightforward, right?

Here's a secret that's not really a secret: it's bullshit. Ok, maybe not entirely.... but mostly -- bullshit. 

Let me explain.

Remember a time in our pubescent blooming years, where our parents used to scold at us when we wouldn't smile? Even when it seemed impossible at adult gatherings where we were told to go “play with the kids” who were less than half our age. Adults would tell us to be cheery and encourage us put on a happy face, even when we didn't want to.

Now flash forward to adulthood, where we have our own rather-large but still customized collection of bills and responsibilities that no longer include just making sure the trash doesn't overload or that the dog doesn't shit it the house. We are now told to "look on the bright side, things could be much worse than they are", or to "make lemonade when life throws you lemons" -- Which is redundant all in itself because okay, I get it.
A lemon is bitter.
Life can be bitter, tarara.
But who the hell wants to juice a sour fruit when they're feeling sour themselves?

Oh and last but certainly not the least of mediocre sayings, "see glasses half full".

Yes, you guessed it. I have my doubts with this one too. Because the reality is, even if our glass was 99.9% full, we'd still be focused on that .1%. Some people would argue that is only a pessimistic view, but only a pessimist would make that kind of evaluation. To think that just by a 12 muscle facial-workout regime and controlled expressions or thoughts can render complete and total happiness is the part I referenced earlier to being bullshit.

Achieving complete happiness doesn't just come from good vibes or looking delighted. Reason being, it doesn't exist

We have moments; moments that come like wild cards, colliding through the different stages of each day. Moments of joy, love, heartache, grief, hopelessness, excitement, contentment; shuffle and cut. 

Though it is nice to think that we can change the way we feel through positive thinking, we can’t just create moments of happiness out of nowhere. We have moments because we are feeling what truly exists around us.

But our reality can hinder our ability to act the happy part.

My point is, there is more to being happy than just thinking and acting on happy thoughts. As we get older, the inevitable life experiences take place; hope declines, significant others can cheat, and friends and family members can disappoint. These painful experiences cannot be turned into happy ones solely by pretending they are.

It is in these very junctures of times, when we just want to get real, drop the theatrics and be our true, unhappy-selves.

So, who cares if you look likes crap because you feel like crap. Be sad. Be mad. Be happy.

Don't overthink it. Just be.

Signed, -S

{Edited & published on Elite Daily}