I've always felt a little guilty, but I shudder when posed with unendingly positive people.
The "don't worry, be happy" mindset makes me want to gag, or giggle, or both.
Don't get me wrong, I want to be happy. I am, at heart, positive, hopeful. My chosen profession, in fact, depends upon the optimistic and hopeful belief that everyone can be healthier and happier, with work and resources well distributed.
I also cherish the notion of less weighty, more euphoric experiences. A day on the beach, and night on the town? Sign me up! I'd love to giggle until dawn.
But no, I am not always happy, and no, I don't feel like I should expose myself only to driven positive ideas that push me to be all that I can be. I don't believe every day will be beautiful, I don't believe every door closed is an open window (well, umm, maybe, perhaps). Sometimes things are hard or the weather is shit or I am exhausted and I don't believe that I should ignore every nagging sad or confusing or frustrating thought as dead weight.
I used to feel weird about this. Wonder if it was rooted in some kind of fear driven cynicism, caused by the sarcastic hipster demeanor that was letting everyone know I was too smart to hope, too wise to believe.
I no longer believe that.
Because I am not cynical all the time and I DO want to today and any day that can be to be peaceful and happy and gorgeous and fun.
But I do not believe every day can be. And that is fine. And I am not always happy. And that is fine.
And here is why: because I believe all emotions, all honestly rendered and critically examined reactions have value?
Jealousy? That can be a sign of things missing in your life, elements you need and have not been focusing on. Or maybe it draws attention to something you did not realize you valued.
Anger? Maybe something or someone is not working in your life. Maybe you were truly, deeply wronged, and need to work on that not happening again? Maybe your intrinsic sense of self worth is asking you to look around and figure out how to be more at peace, and maybe that is a voice worth listening?
Sad? well, there are a million different reasons this might be the case, many legitimate. Perhaps you are mourning a loss, maybe you are experiencing a trauma, or simply finding things difficult. Integrating and understanding the things that are making you less than happy allows you to acknowledge the value of things you might have lost or be missing.
And on and on.
But to put it another way: When I was young, life felt much more like a battle. Between good and bad, between happy and sad, negating one with another in a holy war that would end, I imagine, with my walking on sunshine with health, wealth and a beautiful family.
Now I recognize things are not black and white, not that this or that. These things take their texture from the full range of human emotions and reactions, and that peace and beauty has more to do with balance and integration, than rejection and negation.
And so I have come to find intense determined happiness, smiling when we are down, insistence of rejection of the less fair emotions as a negative experience, indeed, an ugly instinct. A head in the sand instinct, intrinsically false, and finally, one that guides one away from growth, discovery, and yes, true happiness.