Happiness Challenge, Day 4.

You know those weeks where no matter what good you can extract from a bad situation, you just can’t be optimistic? Is the world always expected to be optimistic when it’s on an open stage and everyone is watching? Why do we feel like we need to look our happiest, our most fulfilled, and our most upbeat when we expect that people are looking at us? No wonder so many people are numb to emotions – because in a world where we post everything about ourselves, emotions – real, raw, sometimes negative and painful emotions – are unwelcome in our public representations. We pretend workouts don’t hurt, we pretend that breakups don’t hurt, and we pretend to forgive everyone and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. We’re at this constant battle between what we feel and how we want people to see we’re feeling. We in many ways, have moved from seeking attention, to hoping to make others jealous of our full, optimistic, successful lives where we’re constantly our best selves. It’s all bullshit.

I had a week this week where try as I might, I could not really and truly be optimistic. I was desperate for reprieve from a long, cold, busy, frustrating, stressful week and stressful thoughts about an uncertain and cloudy future; realities that might be mine which are difficult and taxing to accept. And it was not something I was able to shake off or look past, no matter how badly I wanted to show people how good I had it and how positive I was about my life. Sometimes I’m mentally and physically exhausted and unable to put on a happy face.

But I promised myself that this movement I am trying – one which is designed to make me feel better and make the best of a bad situation, and involves countless hours of counselling and writing and soul-searching and putting my heart and soul into things that actually do matter – is important to gain peace of mind and remember that there is always good.

In this realization I had about the mental and physical block between me and the fulfilling happiness I’ve lacked for such a long time, I noticed something: I am comfortable expressing when things are too painful and too frustrating and too stressful to even begin to solve, there are people in my life that I can and will be my completely authentic self around and that means so much.

I was thinking about the movie “Inside Out” and considering the idea that sadness and joy must work together in order to create and foster empathy and make people feel better in their darkest times. When I feel loved and comforted and my unfounded fears are not something I need worry about, when I can nestle into someone like a caccoon of safety, I can be authentic. I never need to put on a show for anyone. I never need to constantly pretend there is nothing wrong or bad in my life. I can be vulnerable and be okay with being vulnerable. That is the world. That is love. That is an authentic life filled with truth and agency.

And today, in some odd non-conventional way, I’m very happy with that.



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