I'm Really OK With Not Being Happy All The Time
Anyone who knows me, know that I am not a #PositiveVibesOnly type of person. I just can’t imagine being happy all the time. Can you imagine how miserable that would be? Still being happy after someone spills red wine on your all white leather couch? Imagine someone stepping on your fresh white air force ones and still being extremely happy. Or you dropping your pizza as soon as you get home and still being happy? No sis, I’m good on that.
Striving to continually be happy can make you extremely unhappy. We are dynamic beings with a wide range of dynamic emotions. We often experience emotions that we can’t even describe. We have bad days and we survive them. We go through terrible breakups, experience traumas and we survive them because we are, for the most part, emotionally designed to. We were not given a full range of emotions so that we can just sit around being happy all the time. We were given them so that we can cope and handle different types of situations in the healthiest and safest ways possible. When I came to the realization that being happy all the time was not my normal, I became a much more content, successful and happier person. Doesn’t make sense? Well, keep reading.
Chasing Success & Fleeing from Failure
The worst advice I have ever received was, “Do what makes you happy”
In some way, we all feel like some thing or some goal is going to increase our happiness. Like as soon as we hit that goal we will forever be happy. Moving to a new condo, getting that bomb job with the generous salary, that new designer watch or driving that new luxury car are all things we do because we think that is what makes us happy. Using success as a trigger for happiness won’t keep you happy forever. I have historically been the girl who chases success and flees from failure. I was so into having the latest designer purse and having the nicest home that I stayed working at a job that did not make me happy. Yea, I made the money that I thought was going to make me happy and I wore the clothes that I thought would make me happy but I was compensating for actually not being happy. My job kept me complacent. The work I was doing was so easy that I knew I would not fail if I just showed up every day. My decision to move to Atlanta with nothing felt good. It was stressful and I felt pressured but I was content. I left that job and that salary and packed up whatever I could fit in my car and left. With a job making significantly less money, a little savings, no permanent place to live and barely a plan, some would say I was headed straight to failure. But I was happy. I felt free. I was going to enjoy working for my happiness in a new city, meeting new people and doing new things. I felt like I was in control of my life for once. I literally didn’t have nearly as much as I did before but I was happier than I was before.
In a world that is dominated by social media and social status, I hired a company to get rid of everything that I was making me unhappy on Instagram. Dramatic, right? At 11k followers, I effortlessly gave about 4k followers the boot. And when social media was still making me feel “blah” I just deleted my entire account. I would always wonder why people needed “social media” breaks and I was finally starting to understand why. I thought there was value in being valued by followers for things that did not matter. I didn’t need people who didn’t really and truly support me for who I am thinking I’m inspirational for my outfits and my social life. I also didn’t like the sense of entitlement from my followers that came with the things I shared on social media. Like if it didn’t make it to Instagram, it didn’t happen. The pressure to win just so I could let everyone know in a status update was draining. Like, who needs more pressure, as if adulating isn't enough. Everyone thought I was crazy but the relief of pressure from social media was liberating and made me happy.
Moving to Atlanta has been one of the worst experiences I’ve had at making friends. The false sense of belonging based on things that don’t matter was so draining. Being friends with someone because of who we both dislike, what we believe, what we do for a living, how much money we make or any of the things that put us on the same “level” was not only draining but fake, to say the least. Yea, it seemed fun and I might have been happy singing Cardi B on somebody’s couch at somebody’s club, but the times I really needed a girlfriend I had no one to talk to. I wanted to be valued for who I was intrinsically, who I truly am. I want to be valued for giving back, my generosity, my love, my wit, my laugh and my nature. I also want to reciprocate the same value to people who offer those things to me. So predictably I realigned myself with the things that served me and my life drastically and almost immediately improved. I was happy. I had more energy and desire to do things I liked and I could cope with negative experiences with more patience and wisdom.
Writing My Story
On our path to happiness we do everything we can possibly think of to be happy. We focus so much on being happy that we ignore the things that make us unhappy. Focusing on the experiences in my life that have made me unhappy, has ironically made me happy. I’ve taken an “it’s above me now” approach to so many things. Whenever I used to meet adversity, you would most certainly know that I was that girl from Camden, NJ who did not play. Reflecting on the life I lived in the inner city and how there was such an absence of happiness there, has allowed me to realize that I don’t have to still be that angry girl from Camden, NJ, but I can still effectively and calmly communicate that you can’t play with me, lol. I control the narrative of my story because I am the author. No, I don’t mean pretend to be something you aren’t. Be thoughtful about who you are, where you come from, your experiences and the affect you have on other people to you rewrite your story. You are not condemned to be the woman you grew from and holding on to her, her battles and her experiences is probably what is keeping you unhappy.
Embracing change and not being afraid to be imperfect have really given me a new perspective on my life. Yea, I still have my moments when I’m an emotional wreck, but that’s ok. I’m human. You have to learn to accept and share you flaws just as much as you share the beautiful parts of you. We are all looking for that one inspirational sign that tells us its ok to truly be ourselves and do what we want. This is your sign.