The Cultural Pressure to be Happy

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year
Happy Holidays
Happy Birthday
Just be happy!
Hope you feel better
Hope everything’s OK
What’s good?
What’s UP?
Hope you are feeling better.
How are you? with the expectations the other will respond with “I’m fine.”
Don’t worry; be happy.

Our culture might be a little obsessed with happiness. The pressure to be happy is probably one of the heaviest demands out there and as a result, we have all become professional academy award winning actors and actresses. I know. I can play the game and I’m good at it.

The pressure to be happy all the time might be one of the many reasons we might not be happy. So, we need to discard our authentic selves because the rest of the world might not have the tools to handle anything but happy. We need to discard ourselves to please others with our feigned smiles and happy pretenses otherwise we’ll be all alone. I have a pretty good feeling that we wouldn’t have so many suicides if we hadn’t so much pressure to be happy — not for ourselves — but for others. Being happy is not so much about us, it’s about pleasing others to avoid rejection. A lot of our behavior is often about making others happy. It’s so ingrained in our culture to be happy that maybe our facade is automatic.

“If you need someone with you in order to feel good, you will have to manipulate that person to be with you. Such manipulation is quite common. If, for example, you smile at someone not because you are happy or because you bless them but because you want them to think of you favorably, you are manipulating. It’s the same with any gift, such as kindness, together-time, and affection. In order for these gifts to be true gifts of love, we need to give them away with no expectation of getting something back. In other words, we need to be okay to end up in solitude.” ~ Akemi G.( from the book “Why We Are Born” p. 86)

You better be happy…. or else. ;)
Smile! Or else!

Does that sound like it’s coming from a happy person? True happy people don’t expect anyone to be a certain way for them. For them, happiness IS an inside job. They don’t need anyone or the world to make them happy because they are already happy. If your spouse is going through a rough time and they are unhappy and it’s bringing your energy down, it might be because an unconscious part of yourself might be carrying a similar grief that might be repressed. And you might not be able to handle what’s inside YOU. Who wants to face grief? Gotta get Bob Ross to paint a smiley face over that stuff.

Let me tell you this. This has been my dream since I was a child. I don’t want to be happy; I just want to be real. I don’t want you to be happy. I just want you to be real. Your frown is as beautiful as your smile because…. it’s YOU! You are the entire spectrum and you are beautiful. I don’t want you to get everything you want in life; I want you to be challenged and grow from those challenges. I want to see myself grow and I want to see you grow if I am brutally honest. I want you to find the strength and the courage to face your external and internal darkness; I want you to let your heart break so the light can enter you and expand it. Why? Because I want to see you free. Not happy.
Freedom, I believe, is the next level UP from happiness.

So instead of wishing a happy day. I want to wish you a day that teaches you something new about yourself.

I would replace “Have a Nice Day” with Hope you learn something new today!

I’d replace Happy Birthday with Hope this year you learn a lot about yourself like you did last year.

I’d replace Just be happy with Just be real.

I’d replace Hope you feel better with hope what you’re going through teaches you something new about yourself and either way, I will be right here for you through it all.

I’d replace Hope everything’s OK with I hope you’ve been learning a lot about yourself lately!

I’d replace What’s good? with What events are challenging you the most these days?

I’d replace “Don’t worry be happy” Be as real as you can as hard as it is.

People shouldn’t even feel pressure to learn anything new every single day. If you don’t, you don’t. I think anything’s better then the current paradigm of needing to be fake to cater to those not strong enough to handle the full spectrum of feelings and of life. The more you express and authentically let your own feelings out, the more effortless it is to be in someone else’s shoes and in that place, it’s a little harder look down on other people.

Happiness is covering a deep collective wound. Once we just stop covering it up and let the wound be exposed to air, it will heal and we won’t need happiness anymore. We will all be free.

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