What’s the first thing you do when you wakeup in the morning? Do you jump out of bed, throw open the curtains and sing a happy song from a Hollywood movie? No, neither do I. As soon as my alarm goes off on my phone, I hit stop, open Facebook and scroll for a few minutes. From the second I wake up, I am bombarded with updates, adverts and news headlines. The result? I start my morning, being told how to live, react and feel to the world around me. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
From the second we are able to walk and talk, we are told how to behave and how to feel. We are indoctrinated into a very single-minded vision of happiness. Want to be happy? Buy these trainers! Lose 20 Ibs! Use this makeup! We are told how to be happy so much that we forget how to be happy ourselves.
When someone asks; ‘How are you?’, the most common response is ‘fine’ or ‘good’. The truth is, do we really know how we are feeling? One particular quote doing the rounds on Facebook right now is this:
Everyone you meet always asks if you have a career, are married, or own a house as if life was some kind of grocery list. But no one ever asks you if you are happy. – Heath Ledger
How do we know when we are happy? Swept up in the world of social media, we are so neglectful of our own happiness that we become completely unaware of our emotions altogether – robots of modern society. But how to we escape it?
I was in this hole a few weeks ago. I had a striking moment of clarity when I asked myself; “What could make me happy right now?” It was only then, I realised I wasn’t happy.
I made a decision. “Guuurll, ‘imma do me. Fuck society and everyone else’s opinions.” Yes, I have had an early 20’s life crisis. To the world, it may seem like I’m still in it. Unemployed. Living with my parents… You get the image.
But truth be told, I am in the best place, mentally, I have been so far this year! Why? Because I am happy. I am myself.
If you’re like me (an easily influenced empath) it is easy to get swept up with people you surround yourself with. You become a faint skeleton of yourself, adapting the behaviour and lifestyle that the world, and those around you want you to have. You lose touch with what you love.
It’s a little bit like that age-old saying; ‘you don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it.’ I didn’t realise who I really was until I lost myself in the razzle dazzle of life. And I wasn’t happy when I wasn’t myself.
So let me tell you.
BE YOURSELF. Only in embracing yourself and all your qualities can you truly be happy. Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel. You’re allowed to be emotional, sensitive, obsessive, organised, creative, ambitious, motivated, etc. Whatever makes you happy and makes you, you.
It takes time, but when you embrace yourself and your happiness, life becomes so much easier and brighter. It may mean giving up some things in life. But remember that just because you stop doing something, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. You can never be a failure if you are happy.
In the words of the great Bob Marley…