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}


  1. Sofia, I respect this article which lives in a world of "think positives" and "you deserve, you deserve, you deserve". Actually, we don't deserve anything--good or bad but stuff happens that is completely out of our control. I actually felt at home when I read this because I finally found someone who is willing to admit to the realities of life. I doubt you are a negative person (I'm not either) but if I have to see one more article or trite quote about " if you close one door another will open" or "you're as happy as you want to be" doesn't take into consideration this tripe may not work in real life. That door may never open and if I could be happier than I want to be then why aren't I?
    So thank you for confronting something our society refuses to acknowledge and looks at us of those that do as reprobates. I will be following you in the days to come. Is there anywhere else I can follow you other than google?
    The Wordwoman

    1. Your words were so humbling and empowering. I am eased to know that the content of this article wasn't mislead. You captured the essence perfectly. I admire you for such a well-written detailed reaction that is so validating for me. My appreciation is sky-high. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      I'm also a contributing writer for Elite Daily but I feature all my work right here on my blog.

      So welcome The Wordwoman, I'm honored to have you.

  2. Sofia,

    I respect your article and respect that we have different opinions. However, I would say that I disagree with your idea that almost all positive thinking does not lead to a happy state of mind. I could easily argue against your point, because I do not clearly see how you're trying to prove that "almost all of it is bullshit."

    I really do appreciate your style of writing, but when it comes to your idea of positive thinking and controlling the minds, in order to create a happy state of mind, I think that you generalize a little bit too much, because you might have had bad experiences with this technique.

    I was just very curious to understand more why you think this is bullshit.. I think it would be very interesting if we could see more in depth what's going through your thoughts and how you could convince us that this kind of positive thinking is bullshit.

    Message from someone who is also passionate about writing and questioning things.

  3. Replies
    1. Agreed. Even if what's being perceived is shitty and incomprehensible, it's just as vital so there's no need for a veil.

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