Life isn’t linear. It isn’t always what we want it to be . It’s got its ups and downs, its victories and disappointments… Yet nowadays it seems like there’s this pressure to be happy and positive all the time. Sometimes, when I am feeling down, I have this sense there must be something very wrong with me. Then other times, I think all this pressure does is helping pharma companies sell more antidepressants. Because I’m pretty sure that if I feel this way, there are many others out there feeling exactly the same.
There are thousands of books on happiness and probably millions of quotes, and we all try our best to keep up, because that’s what we strive for – to be happy. The books generally all agree. It all starts with a thought. And yes, the power of thought is, well, powerful. Shifting our mindset can turn our lives completely around. I can’t argue that. Positive thinking can change our mood, help us find our strength and accomplish things we never thought we could.
But we all know those people who claim to be “happy” and “great” all the time. The ones that take the positivity craze a bit too far and choose to deny reality completely. They’re the ones who think the solution for everything – a heartbreak, a loss, or just going through a rough patch – is to just smile, think happy thoughts and be positive. And that’s the part that I wanna talk about.
I think living life in such denial comes with a price. Nobody is happy and great all the time. It’s not human. We are not robots. We have a range of emotions. To go to such a distance and deceive ourselves is to become completely incapable of creating a connection or being authentic. While it’s important to stay positive even at our lowest, we can’t deny ourselves to feel other things too. Otherwise all that negative stuff we are suppressing will consume us on the inside, and I believe in many cases causes major depression, health issues and even cancer.
The plain truth is. We all struggle. Everyday. That’s what makes us human and that’s what connects us.
For me, to process those not so “great” events in my life and move on, I need to feel it all. The sadness, the heaviness, the loss, the betrayal, the anger… All of it. I don’t mean sulking in it and self pitying until the day I die. But give it the space and time it needs to pass on its own, not denying its importance and most importantly not fighting it. But rather be kind to it and to myself. I noticed that way it’s over much quicker than when I tried to fight it.
I believe in positive thinking but forcing myself to be happy when I am just downright hurting, just doesn’t feel right. At least not right away. I can’t just bypass negative emotions, force them out by thinking happy thoughts, suppress them or sweep them under the rug. It simply doesn’t work like that. I’ve tried. Even if I was successful for a little while, they’re still there and they eventually come out when I or someone else unexpectedly moves that rug even a tiny bit.
The thing is, I have grown the most while going thru the lowest, shittiest, saddest times in my life. And it’s because I stopped fighting them or forcing them out, while still remaining hopeful, those negative emotions helped me dig the deepest and taught me the most about who I am. And that brought me peace and contenemnt. Which I think equals happiness. I have learned that there’s nothing to force out. There’s nothing to fight. There’s only acceptance and understanding the fact that the good and the bad is part of the same thing. And ever-since realizing that I let go of so much pressure and feelings of being inadequate.
I feel like this forced happiness, while it might seem good in the moment, is still the worst sadness. Because no matter how shitty my lows are, not being honest with myself and forcing myself to feel something I am not causes much worse and lasting damage than allowing myself to simply feel the ‘bad stuff’ for a little while and move on.