Updated: Feb 28, 2021
Somewhere along our journey to adulthood we buy into the idea that we should be happy and if we're not happy then something must be wrong.
Where does that come from?
We look at other people and think they're happy. Social media is full of happy people. Marketing campaigns tell us we can buy happiness. Just open a bottle of Coke and there's happiness...right?
This one thought, that we should be happy, has brought massive amounts of pain into the world. Ironic, huh?
It's a false expectation.
It's completely unrealistic.
It makes life even harder when we think it shouldn't be hard.
So what happens when we think we should be happy but then difficult things show up?
We numb the difficulties away with anything that distracts us...food, Netflix, alcohol, drugs, shopping, our smart phones, etc. All these things "help" us deal with the unhappiness we think we shouldn't feel. They create a buffer between us and our unwanted feelings.
But what are the costs of these buffers? What negative effects do they have on your life?
Essentially, here's what we've got:
Some of it is negative.
We have unwanted emotions.
We buffer in order to avoid the negative emotions.
Now we have the costs of the buffers (less money, more weight, addictions, etc.)
AND we still have the negative emotions that were there in the first place. Unresolved emotions don't just disappear.
Now life is even harder to deal with so we've got to continue buffering in order to cope...and this goes on and on, creating less happiness as it goes.
What if we give up the idea that we should be happy?
Sometimes we'll be happy and sometimes we won't.
Life is made up of the positive and negative and we're going to have both.
Can we just be realistic about it?
If we are realistic then we don't have to buffer and make things worse.
What if we can learn to allow the negative parts of life?
What would be better if you didn't believe you should be happy?