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It’s OK to be happy for fuck’s sake. It’s OK to not have a depressing back-story to tell. It’s OK to not be on meds, in therapy, or “going through something.” When did anxiety, depression, self-hatred, fear, and a whole other slue of conditions become second nature to our society? Everyone “has it,” or “has something” these days. Everyone posts about it, talks about it and lives it on a daily basis.
I was listening to a podcast the other day and the woman was talking about how “everyone is scared”; i.e. scared of sharing, scared of rejection, scared of being yourself, scared of putting yourself out there, and just scared of life in general. Well, I’m here to tell you that everyone absolutely isn’t— I’m not—and that’s OK!
Jesus Christ, I feel like everyone born after 1982 has inherently adopted this view of themselves and the world, where if something’s not “wrong” with them, then they feel like they don’t belong. I know I’m using a ton of quotation marks here, but I feel like these terms and phrases need to be emphasized. A good portion of these people who are “going through something,” or “have something wrong with them” are most likely experiencing normal everyday shit which is called LIFE, and not something that needs to be treated, analyzed, or even shared for that matter.
Guess what—my mother couldn’t/wouldn’t raise me so I was raised by my grandparents. We moved 3,000 miles away from her and I was raised on the other side of the country. Never met my dad. I’ve been unemployed, overweight, bullied, and broke. I’ve been broken up with, rejected, fired, sick, and arrested. I’ve had falling outs with best friends, I’ve lost loved ones, been to countless funerals, and shit —I was even involved in a horrible car accident in which I hit someone with my car who was drunk and walking across the highway at night, and they died. I’M STILL NOT FUCKED UP. I’m not saying these events didn’t affect me, of course they did, but we can’t let our negative stories infect our souls. Let me say that again—what affects us doesn't have to infect us.
Not every day is 100 percent shits and giggles for anyone, but you have to learn how to master your mindset so that you’re able to cope with life’s sour apples without going off the rails, and stop going out of your way to try and drag down the actually happy people with you if you're not there yet.
Now I do want to be forthcoming with the fact that I am grateful to have never been beaten, sexually assaulted or raped, racially profiled, homeless, or experienced any of the other extremely difficult situations that some of our world’s beautiful people have unfortunately been victim to. I get that those are very real things. Those are very severe and extreme “sour apples,” but nonetheless, I’m still going to label them as such because life doesn’t stop just because you’ve been a victim. People can and do get past what has happened to them, and can flourish despite their circumstances. It’s true, and I’m not sorry to say it.
YES—mental health is extremely important, and there’s a whole spectrum of self care that we could and should be doing that would make an enormous difference in our lives. And yes, there are absolutely some conditions that require professional help. But every single Tom, Dick, and Harry/Tina, Dot, and Harriet you see walking down the street doesn't have one. You should be over-the-moon about that fact!
We need to learn how to self-navigate our day-to-days; how to distinguish actual disorders from normal dilemmas that life throws our way. We need to become self equipped with the right coping skills so that setbacks don’t rip our world apart. It doesn’t always have to have a label. It doesn’t always require medication. It doesn’t have to be a debilitating condition.
I’m honestly the happiest, most resilient, and one of the most successful people I know. I’ve never been on any kind of medication, never been diagnosed with any kind of mental malady, nor have I been to therapy. I don't live some over-the-top extravagant life either, at least according to today's social standards. But when I stop to think about it, maybe I actually do... I'm not part of the one percent when it comes to cash, but sometimes I feel like I'm part of the one percent when it comes to happiness—and that's true wealth in my eyes.
Isn’t everyone’s goal to be happy?? If you really boil everything down… don’t we want the things we want (the money, the relationships, the house, the clothes, the car, the body, the freedom, the travel, etc.) because we’re yearning for the feeling we think we’ll experience once we get them? And isn’t that feeling happiness? And it's SOOO okay to want all those things, and to GET those things, and to FEEL HAPPY about it!! It's okay for you to have everything you want (material or otherwise) and it's not okay for people to make you feel bad about it.
Your problems shouldn’t be a team-building event. We need to stop chiming in on negative conversations—all it does is fuel the problem with momentum! We’ve all experienced it first hand. Someone posts online about how horrible their day was. Within the hour dozens of other people have jumped on the bandwagon commenting:
“OMG, worst day ever!”
“I feel you.”
“So ready for this day to be over”
Does this toxic interaction solve anything? Doubt it. Does it make you feel better to know that other people are miserable too? If it does, you’re an asshole. #notsorry
Don’t even get me started on “toxic positivity.” You can be sad, angry, depressed, anxious, hurt and afraid, and still be positive. I refuse to dim my naturally optimistic personality and approach yours with kid gloves because you have yet to equip yourself with the skills to be able to handle it.
Everyone can change. If you're reading this right now and what I'm saying is pissing you off—reach for a better thought. Stop and think about something that makes you happy—right now. Sometimes it's just that simple. An uncomplicated redirection of your thoughts. It takes practice, but everything worth mastering usually does.
Since when does feeling joy make someone a black sheep? It’s weird to be happy now—WTF?
We should be building each other up! Learning how to express our joys freely without the fear of being judged for being happy. Momentum works both ways. Think about how amazing it is when you share something exciting and you are lucky enough to be surrounded by people who congratulate you, cheer you on and/or share something wonderful that has recently happened to them! It creates a rushing river of good vibes and everyone involved gets happily and effortlessly whisked down stream with it. THAT’S something to be excited about, and we need more of it!!!
If you haven't found your fellow sunbeams and are currently shining on your own—THAT'S AWESOME. *But we are out there, keep looking and you'll eventually find us :).
It’s OK to be cheerful. It’s OK to always look on the bright side. It’s OK for you to have and get everything that you want. It’s OK to heal quickly. It’s OK that things aren’t complicated for you. It’s OK that simple things make you smile. It’s OK that things are always working out for you. It’s OK!!!! And if someone tells you it’s not—it’s also OK to remove them from your life, to block them on social media, and to write “Return to Sender” on the god-damned envelope.