One of the biggest misconceptions about happy people is that they never feel down. People tend to believe that happiness is a natural disposition, and you either got it or you don’t.
I consider myself a happy person, for the most part. I’m positive, cheerful, supportive and encouraging, and I work hard to maintain these traits. Because I do make such an effort to be happy, I often find myself alone in my own depression when mishaps occur.
I grew up believing that public expressions of disappointment, anger, or sadness were not only unacceptable, but unsportsmanlike. As a young perfectionist, I took these messages to heart. Consequently, I’ve carried the burden of maintaining constant composure for the greater part of my life. All the while, I’ve on several occasions battled depression, anxiety and self-doubt in solitude.
Publicly, I stand smiling as the world crumbles around me. Everyone else is allowed to break down; but nope, not me. I convince myself that there are just way too many people out there relying on my emotional stability. And I just can’t let them down. Privately, I’m a wreck. I explode in anger at the smallest things. I cry until my head hurts. I want to reach out to someone, but rarely do I make the call. All because I don’t allow myself to express feelings of sadness, pain, or anger as they happen.
We simply cannot hold ourselves, or anyone else for that matter, to such unreasonable standards. After all, we’re only human. No one should ever feel bad for feeling bad, especially when justified. When perfection is expected and bad days are denied, people are judged on those extremes. But when perfection is impossible and bad days are allowed, so much more about the strength of a person is revealed.
I’m truly grateful that I spend more of my days happy then I do sad. And I’m even more grateful that I have people in my life who will knock the perfectionist right out of me at the first inkling of a bad day. Seek out the people in your life who will do the same for you. I swear, it really does go a long way.
As I continue to separate perfection from happiness through my own experiences, I will emphasize over and over again that the choice to be happy is well within your grasp. You just have to be open to it and you definitely have to be ready to work.