Does anyone else feel like we’re under constant pressure to be happyhappyhappy all the time? Find joy in every moment! Be present and mindful! Find your true calling! Kick that depression to the curb! All great ideas, but does anyone else kind of wish that it would be acceptable to sometimes be simply content. Would it be nice to have the pressure off and be able to simply to endure the down periods, perhaps with a solid coping strategy?

Sometimes life is hard. All of us have difficulties in the important relationships in our lives. Sometimes we fail to enjoy every second of our livelihoods. We go through blah periods, sometimes for no particular reason. For me, when this happens, I don’t want to go full throttle on happiness, I just want to feel OK. Isn’t OK enough?

I’m going to sound old here, but as I remember it, constant happiness wasn’t always something we aspired to. I don’t participate in organized religion, but from what I can tell, most religions teach humility in the face of difficulty. It used to be that you accepted that life would contain a certain amount of hardship and you developed ways to cope with that.

Not ways to convince yourself that every curse is a blessing, just ways to cope.

Grief, mourning, acceptance – these were all valid processes. Now it seems that people are uncomfortable with even admitting that grief is a real thing. There’s a tendency to celebrate a life rather than be sad over the end of it. There’s a tendency to see every failure as an opportunity. What’s wrong with seeing it as a failure, being frustrated and saddened by it, accepting those unpleasant feelings, and then eventually moving on from them?

This has been on my mind lately because even though my life overall is going really well, I sometimes feel pressure (likely self-imposed) to squeeze every last drop of exceptional living from every day, when sometimes all I want to do is sit and read, or watch a dopey TV show, or go for a walk. Sometimes I want to eschew the epic mountain bike ride, or the blow out party, or the visit to a place of staggering scenic beauty. But then I feel vaguely guilty for not making the most of the limited days I have been given. Then that completely harshes my mellow and makes even contentment harder to achieve.

So, I’m declaring a moratorium on compulsory happiness. If I want to stay home and read a book, and get my exercise by strolling around my neighborhood enjoying the sunshine, views, and sound of jet takeoffs, then so be it. And who knows, maybe I’ll stumble across some joy-inducing blackberries.

Posted by lesherjennifer

3 Comments

  1. This is so funny and time appropriate. I was having these feelings of angst… life pressure, and yes self imposed. That do too much and can’t do it all. People were irritating me that I didn’t even know. So… I bought a book. The Untethered Soul. I was going to learn universal bliss. To accept life and grow. Not let shit bother me. So… here I go to the happiness chapter.

    The author professed that we can be happy by deciding so, even when the failures and life happens. Yada, yada, yada. So… I decide… I’ll give this “I am going to be happy no matter what” a try. And then the warning: Once you decide to do this, you will be tested.

    Nooooo~ I don’t want to be tested! Life has been testing me enough lately..

    So, that night I went to bed around 11, and at 1159 the phone rang. In my delirious state I thought it was scheduling. Nope. Some guy from India selling me some scam about windows operating system. I was not happy. He knew I was not happy. And he wanted to know if I talked to my friends that way. Well… a midnight call for a scam, perhaps. The next morning I opened my shower kit from my trip… something leaked and gooed all over and dried to everything. Then inside my makeup bag… the lid was on, but makeup was all over. Such a mess. Was I happy? Hmmmm. Kind of because I was still laughing about my happiness failure that night.

    My thought… go with the flow and feel the displeasure of life, because it’s life. Just don’t live there and all will be good.

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    Reply

    1. I love that you can be happy about a failure to be happy. You have a unique skill.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      1. Oh that’s funny. I hadn’t thought about that. Maybe it’s I can find humor in my failures. And there might be the key. I’m working on my humor chapter and this is going to help.

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