Thought Catalog
December 2, 2015

It’s Okay Not To Be Happy All The Time

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I was a bit of a sad twelve year old girl. I did not fit in well in my secondary school – a single sex school filled with students desperate to grow-up, whilst I was still enjoying playing with my two younger brothers and not learning about all things adolescent. I wasn’t very good at making new friends and needed a solution for my new found loneliness.

As an impressionable pre-teen I had read somewhere that smiling more and being a happy person was a way to get more people to like you, and consequently make those ever-so-wonderful group of friends that I had always imagined I would have when being a super cool teenager. So I made more jokes to make other people smile alongside me, and made sure I did my best to hide my feelings of sadness.

Nowadays I still very much do so – a creature of habit that folds in on itself when feeling down, and bounces on the spot when excited about anything and everything.

There seems to be a certain madness about emotions within our culture, in that when you are asked in the morning at the office “You alright?” the only acceptable and expected response you should give is; “Yeah, you alright?” Doesn’t matter if you are completely saddened to the point where all you can see is grey, or if you are elated and in the mood to sing everything you say just for the fun of it, you still need to remain contained and ‘normal’.

‘Leaving your emotions at home’ is a very strange concept after all – unless I have completely missed the invention of a ‘feelings basket’; a handy container for all humans to put their unnecessary emotions in before leaving their homes and plodding along to work. Something like that would certainly take the pressure off trying to bury your head into your work to try and forget all about that much anticipated date that didn’t quite go according to plan last night, or the stressful phone conversation with your mum.

Emotions aren’t switches, and I’m not sure how people have come to believe that they are. I can’t turn off when I’m happy or sad. Sure there are things you can do to help change how you feel; uplifting music, going for a walk, eating a cupcake or six; but there is no instantaneous switch, or at least not one that I have found. (If I’m missing a trick here, do let me know).

For all those that get stick for having a resting bitch face, I hope you’re not trying to keep a smile plastered on your face because of such comments. Let’s all be honest here – resting bitch face looks pretty hot. It’s an almost unreadable face that carries the mysteriousness that we all find attractive. In fact, I would love to be able to swap some of my more childish grin stages to a fabulous resting bitch face, but I don’t think I can. My happiness is spread across my face, my cheeks turn to pockets of positivity whenever I’m feeling excited about things, and I can’t control it. If you do have a resting bitch face, don’t put the fake smile on just to please others. Remember how well Victoria Beckham’s unreadable face has done for her, and don’t let other people tell you how to arrange your face just for their own comfort.

Isn’t it funny that though we may get looks of awkwardness when showing our emotions to the universe, those with resting bitch face get told off for not showing theirs? How will we ever get our facial expressions right?!

Deal with your emotions however you want to deal with them. Ignore everyone else and their craziness – especially those who think how completely rude and unacceptable it is for you to cry. Don’t forget that having a bit of a sob when you’re feeling particularly shit can be the relief that you need to move on from that emotion. And to those who look at others as if to say “Please, stop grinning like an idiot – you’re supposed to be a proper serious grown-up”; if looking mature means I can’t be a giggling lump of happiness when I want to be, then I’d rather stay childish and buzzing with joy.

Be sad when you need to be. Giggle at that cute text you just got. Do what makes you feel good at the time. They’re your emotions after all. TC mark