The Perpetual Happiness Pitch

image000000_62Somewhere along the way someone pitched the idea that we should be happy all of the time. Should we feel any emotions that are not on the scale of yippy skippy or above, that should be taken as an indication that we are less than, that something must be wrong with us that needs to be fixed or medicated away, and that we have fallen off the right path. And to what I am certain was that person’s absolute amusement and utter shock, tons of people bought into those concepts and deemed them to be true.

The suggestion that a happy pill combined with a few positives mantras a day can permanently banish the blues away sounds dreamy. I rejoice at the thought of never feeling sadness ever again and always having the complete inner knowing that I finally have this human thing totally figured out. I would love for my emotions to be drifting higher and higher as my energy remains in incessant elation.

But there is one little hiccup with this idea. It’s not going to happen. Ever.

Perpetual happiness with zero down days are totally achievable. If you are a robot. A weirdly happy robot. But for the rest of the people going through the motions of being a human, that’s not remotely realistic. More specifically, the idea that you are failing as a healthy and complete person if you haven’t achieved unwavering joy is a complete scam.

That’s not how we are built. And in my personal belief, that’s not why we were built.

In same way that I am in firm disagreement with the idea of actual humans being able to attain genuine “perfection” (definition yet to be determined and current living example of said characteristic yet to be found), I don’t believe that we are meant to be happy all of the time. I feel strongly that we are creatures of contrast. Our growth and our understanding happens through what we can perceive specifically via those differences –  good versus not good, joyful versus not joyful, loving versus unloving, etc.

The emotional ups and downs give the perspective and shape your value system. The difficult times give greater worth to the good moments. Sometimes you are going to have a rough day, but sometimes you are going to have a rough year. That doesn’t make you damaged goods. Instead it gives you a more expansive range of comparison so you can appreciate and cherish the better times.

Everyone has stuff. Everyone goes through stuff. Everyone feels stuff. You’re not messed up because you do, too. Be proactive about taking steps to keep incessant unhappiness from controlling you, but don’t allow an unquenchable desire to be perpetually happy to control you either.

Our emotions are like the tides. They have a rhythm, and they will come and go. I do believe that we have some control over how deep we are willing to wade into those waters, but it seems to make more sense to let them roll with them with them versus trying to pretend that we can stop them altogether by refusing to acknowledge their presence.

You don’t have to act on the hurt, sadness, or anger on the outside, but you can give yourself permission to feel those emotions on the inside. That doesn’t make you broken. It makes you real.

We all drift in and out of the rough waters at times, but the smooth seas will eventually reveal themselves. Just keep afloat a little longer until they do.

Love and light always – Joanna

37 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. foodzesty
    Oct 03, 2017 @ 01:17:25

    I agree….we are only human…:)

    Reply

  2. Blog Andrew
    Oct 03, 2017 @ 06:08:54

    Insightful and oh so right, 😀 we bought into this happiness dream! Perhaps the birth consumerism is to blame, TV adverts showing us buy this holiday and you’ll be happy, buy these cornflakes and you’ll be happy, buy this car and you’ll REALLY be happy, buy……… a thoughtful post I enjoyed it. 🙂

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Oct 03, 2017 @ 06:38:22

      I do like corn flakes. ;). I think the new age wave has added to it, too. The ideas are wonderful, and I do think that we can live with more joy overall, but so many people feel like they are messed up if they ever feel sadness or anger. It’s just part of the deal. I think that we would feel healthier if we realized that feeling normal emotions doesn’t mean that we need to be unbroken. And hi! 🙂

      Reply

  3. James J. Cudney IV
    Oct 03, 2017 @ 07:00:26

    A fine balance. Emotions are touch. How much do we really control versus how much is physiological. Interesting studies, but I’m too lazy. I mostly try to monitor when I’m letting my emotions over something affect the wrong people. I actually did it last night when I was upset over one thing but was almost letting it impact someone it shouldn’t have. A good check for me to realize when to smack myself!

    Glad I’m back to catch up on your posts!

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Oct 03, 2017 @ 19:29:45

      I have missed you my friend! Yes I also catch myself snapping at the wrong person more than I should (not that there is a right person who should be in the cross hairs). If I can be aware of my emotions and recognize that they are always on the move, I have better luck reeling in the outbursts. I think that we feel bad about feeling bad, so we force it to stay locked up until it pops. Maybe we would be more ok more often if we just allowed ourselves to have a bad day.

      So happy to see your name again my friend.

      Reply

  4. José María López
    Oct 03, 2017 @ 07:20:52

    Completely agree! There´s a theater actor in Mexico who says this is a disease called PMP (spanish for Stupid Magical Thinking). It sounds funnier in spanish (Pensamiento Mágico Pendejo). Too many people are stressed because they cannot be happy all the time as suggested in magazines and Internet.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Oct 03, 2017 @ 19:31:54

      You’re right. That is much funnier in Spanish, and I may have to start saying that at home! The always feel good and always look good craziness is so over the top. I love the idea of it, but I feel crappier when I can’t do it (because no one really can!).

      How is everything in D.F. now? Are you ok down there?

      Reply

  5. Writer Lori
    Oct 03, 2017 @ 08:09:23

    Soooo much wisdom here, Jo! I think that social media has exacerbated this tendency to believe that ‘all happiness all the time’ is (or should be) the norm. We see all of these carefully curated lives in our Facebook feeds and Instagram streams and it’s all too easy to think, “Dear Lord, am I the ONLY one who doesn’t have this thing called life figured out?!” But we need the variety, the downs to counterbalance the ups, or it becomes pretty monochromatic. That’s what I’m thinking… Thanks for keep in’ it real!! Xoxo

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Oct 03, 2017 @ 19:36:19

      Hello darling! I was watching the terrible news yesterday (I’m working at my office this week, and I face two huge news screens – yuck!), and of course it just dragged me down. Such sadness and horror in Las Vegas. I got back to the hotel and kept thinking about how I just wanted to feel happy and not weighed down by the tragedy of it all. But then it dawned on me that it was ridiculous for me to not allow myself to have that completely natural reaction. There’s nothing wrong with feeling our feelings. I think the issues arise when our responses turn into destructive actions (at any level). And girl – if you figure this thing called life out – CALL ME ASAP!!!! Lol! Hugs! Joanna

      Reply

  6. E
    Oct 03, 2017 @ 08:33:07

    Beautiful sentiments. Standing in line at health food stores I notice the headlines of magazines fiercely advertising an obsession with optimal this or peak that. A full life is comprised of perpetual highs and lows, like a surfer riding waves or a hiker on a trail. Learning to embrace our wholeness is the key.

    Reply

  7. magickmermaid
    Oct 03, 2017 @ 11:40:43

    This is so true! Without some dark, one can’t see the light. One is not a failure for not being happy all the time.

    Reply

  8. wakinguponthewrongsideof50
    Oct 03, 2017 @ 18:04:25

    Ok. First of all….I’m perfect…… but I know what you mean….it’s ridiculous to think that we can be happy all the time. Sometimes you just have a bad day, or week , or like the friends song, year. the pressure to be happy and smiling is too intense. ITs ok to just be……xo. Missed you! Busy week but will catch up like real person this weekend!!

    Reply

  9. José María López
    Oct 03, 2017 @ 19:47:32

    I´m ok, the city looks really the same as always. Maybe only about 0.01% of buildings got affected but unfortunately that was enough for more than 200 people dying just in Mexico City.

    Reply

  10. José María López
    Oct 03, 2017 @ 20:01:28

    Thanks. Hugs!!

    Reply

  11. manyofus1980
    Oct 03, 2017 @ 22:47:00

    agree wholeheartedly with you Joanna! We cant all be happy all of the time! ❤ xxx

    Reply

  12. Tracy
    Oct 03, 2017 @ 23:29:33

    True. It’s like this when you live with anxiety. You go through rough patches but you hold onto the thought that it will pass. X

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Oct 04, 2017 @ 05:36:11

      I think that it’s actually like that for everyone. I just think that maybe our roller coaster ride has bigger hills! I miss you sweet friend! So sorry that I have been m.i.a.!

      Reply

  13. cogitoesoterica
    Oct 03, 2017 @ 23:46:45

    So true! I was reminded of a high school classmate who recently committed suicide. I thought she had everything going for her. She came from a good family, she was an honor student, she graduated at the top of her class in medical school and her career as a doctor was going very well. Who knows why she would kill herself. Then I think of all the poor people who try to get by with very little everyday yet they still struggle to survive. So I guess having all the best in life does not necessarily make a person happy. Suffering can make us appreciate the good things in life. Those bad days and hardships we go through make us more hopeful and help us find happiness in little things.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Oct 03, 2017 @ 23:54:51

      I’m so very sorry to hear that. I wish that more people felt like they could be open about their true emotions. People want to see shiny and happy all the time but it isn’t true for any of us. I think that we need to figure out how to be ok with experiencing both sides of the emotional dynamic that we each have. It can be rough though, and no one likes to feel judged or pushed to the outside of what they think is seen as normal.

      Reply

  14. Safiyah
    Oct 04, 2017 @ 03:30:55

    Loved this post, absolutely agree. It’s ok to not be ok all of the time – we have to give ourselves permission like you say, to feel those other emotions! This was beautifully written 😊

    Reply

  15. D. Wallace Peach
    Oct 04, 2017 @ 08:10:50

    I agree, Joanna. In fact, the more difficult times in my life have created opportunities for some of the most profound growth and, in a way, have resulted in greater happiness. It’s a mixed bag, and like you said, one of contrasts. We don’t need to sweat the small stuff, but our emotions are what makes us human and the down times are part of the deep poignancy of our lives. ❤

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Oct 04, 2017 @ 23:36:56

      I completely agree. I find myself in a funky transition phase of my own at the moment, and while it makes for some significant emotional ups and downs, I recognize that this all has a purpose. Love your wisdom and friend. 🤗

      Reply

  16. annabellefranklinauthor
    Oct 06, 2017 @ 06:38:28

    Excellent post. The pressure to be happy all the time only creates more stress.

    Reply

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