Last week I had one of ‘those’ days. Nothing too disastrous happened in the grand scheme of things, but a series of little things that made my day more than a bit ‘meh’ and had me pouring a HUGE glass of vino post- kids bedtime. I got soaked in the rain. My 3 year old was being uncharacteristically clingy and difficult, and I ended up ugly crying on her key worker’s shoulder on the way out of preschool (not my finest moment!). Both children had been up ridiculously early for no reason, we were all grumpy, and I was feeling overwhelmed about juggling my new job role with my blog work, running the home and sorting out the finer details of Freddie’s birthday party. So, like I said, nothing drastic, but the whole day left me feeling drained and like it had been a bit of a crap one.
The thing is, and I don’t know if anyone else feels the same, but whenever I have a day like this, it might sound silly, but I often think these days that I’m not allowed to feel like it was crap, or be a bit grumpy. We have it drilled into us (and possibly quite rightly so), that we should count our blessings. We have lots to be thankful for. My crap day is of course nowhere near as bad as say, a Syrian refugee, or someone with long term depression, or a chronic illness.
BUT surely it’s okay to not feel 100% positive all the time? To not be considered a drain on others because we’re showing how we feel? To not plaster on a smile and a sunny ‘vibe’ (everyone loves a vibe these days 😉 ) Surely this doesn’t make you a miserable, negative nelly that no one wants to be around, but, you know, honest?
The reason I say this is because every time I scroll down my FB feed, or hop on over to Instagram, or pick up a glossy magazine, there are memes, articles and inspirational quotes telling us to be so damn positive/happy/smelling the roses all the time. To not dwell on things. To kick the shit out of a bad day. And whilst I agree with the sentiment for the most part, surely it’s not normal (or healthy) to be happy and positive all the time?
I lead what I consider to be a very fortunate life, and I am very happy with my lot. But I’ve also lived through some tough times, such as having a parent in prison, being ridiculously skint through uni, teetering on PND after Sasha was born and contracting a life-threatening illness post-birth, so I know what it’s like to have periods where you feel very low. But I also believe that even when you are largely happy, it’s OKAY to wallow for a bit if you’ve had a bad day, or a bad week, even if it might seem minor to others.
Surely without even fairly trivial lows, you wouldn’t enjoy those awesome life highs so much, such as when you feel like you’re winning at parenting/work/life in general, or something or someone has made you insanely happy that day?
There seems to be something about the way we live these days which is convincing ourselves that we have to be happy ALL THE TIME, hence the social feeds chocca with all the aforementioned positivity blurb. Why are we so obsessed with being happy? If we were truly happy, then surely we wouldn’t have to think about how to be happy all the time?
Without sounding like an Eeyore, I’m always a bit suspicious of those people who bleat on about being positive all the time. I feel they doth protest too much. And believe it or not, yes, I really am a glass half full person, albeit with a rather dry sense of humour and a smattering of cynicism! I largely choose to see the best in people and bad situations. And I’m certainly not knocking other people choosing to be happy over being miserable all the time. But talk to anyone of a previous generation, and they certainly weren’t pumped with all this ‘be happy at all times’ propaganda that social media throws at us. They just ‘got on with it’, highs, lows and everything in between. There was no expectation to feel amazing all the time, that I believe that we have subconsciously have drilled into us now.
And which makes us feel even worse on those days when it’s really, really okay not to feel okay.
What do you think? Do you think there is too much pressure to be happy and content all the time? I’d love your opinion!