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Do I have to be happy all the time?

Do I have to be happy all the time?

Well do I? Because sometimes it feels like you do! The question has come up for me year after year as I berate myself for not be that positive, happy go lucky person who sees the world through rose-tinted glasses. Who is that person??? Are they real? I think so…

The reality is if we have happy go lucky types in this world we have to be honest about the fact that we also have people with a tendency towards melancholy. I’d describe myself in just those words. If I don’t check myself and my somewhat blue persuasion I could really get stuck in a rut and have from time to time. But the pressure to be positive and upbeat certainly doesn’t help. What you really need when you’re feeling blue is people who get where you’re coming from and can say ‘this is where you’re at right now and its ok.’

I have a wonderful new friend who did just that for me. A guy friend and I say a guy friend because it’s still a revelation to me that I can have guy friends without a sexual undertone. I was sitting with this friend in 24 hour McD’s late one rainy, weekday night and pulling faces (as I do) which say so much without the need for words. He asked what I was thinking and I said ‘nothing’ (a lie of course). When he challenged me on it I said I’d hadn’t shared my thoughts because I didn’t always want to be the dark cloud, that thick dark cloud that people could see coming a mile off. His response was that if that’s where I was right now I might as well get it out of my system.

The clincher for me was the idea that this is just where I’m at ‘right now’. Even though I’d signed myself off as a person with ‘a tendency towards melancholy’ and ‘not capable of the levels of elation I see in the people around me’ he saw it as the way I was right now, acknowledging in me the right and ability to change as and when I was ready. It’s taken 26 years for a response like that, and how valuable and self-affirming that response was!

We say cliché things like ‘it takes all sorts to make the world go round’ but sometimes it doesn’t feel like there’s a place for the likes of us more melancholy, deep thinking types. The number of times I’ve had people say to me ‘cheer up’ or ‘look on the bright side’ when I’m not in a space to see the bright side. It’s made me feel so guilty over the years and I’ve caught myself making quiet wishes like ‘if I can’t be an optimist please god can I at least be a realist!?!’

It makes me worry about people who really are mentally unwell too. I’m not mentally unwell (though some would argue with that lol). But what for those who are and just don’t have the strength to see anything positive at this point in time? Do we force our happy interpretations on them hoping they eventually see it our way?

I certainly have been guilty of this and this is something I need to rectify. Allowing people to just be where they are at that moment in time, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel, is an art. Of course, I recognise that it is healthy to look into ways of lifting ourselves and shifting our thinking if we feel it’s dragging us down. But you’re not any less a person for where you are now and if you can’t ‘get up’ so to speak, make it comfy and roll around where you are for the time being. The time will come for action but until then – no pressure.

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