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!
With you on all of this. I consider myself a positive person too, but I so find something oppressive in relentless pressure to be happy all the time – it’s just not realistic and, I believe, causes us more problems in the long term.
Totally agree, Rebecca- oppressive it exactly the right word!
I was so happy to read this today! I’m a lot like you – class half full but a bit cynical, dry sense of humour and, I think, generally happy and positive. But yesterday nothing went right. I couldn’t write, couldn’t sit down to answer emails, couldn’t do anything! In the end I sacked off the day, took a nap, read a magazine and ate lots of biscuits (and then drank wine a bit later, obvs). And I woke up today feeling totally different, up for it, ready to tackle the day and get things done. I so believe in feeling these lows and letting them happen though – to see the rainbow you’ve got to get through the rain, right? NOBODY is happy all the time. Absolutely nobody. Not even Kate Middleton. And it’s silly to pretend that’s possible 😉 xx
Love that rain/rainbow anaology, Alice- it’s a well known saying for a reason! Glad your next day was better x
I wonder whether, especially where social media is concerned, happy is also a layer of protection? It’s very hard to be criticised for happy but if you’re feeling a bit down, or something just isn’t quite sitting right then you can open yourself up to “what you did wrong to get into this state” and all the usual “at least you’re not a Syrian refugee” comments, when actually all that any of us every want is the validation, the “yes that day really sounds like it sucked” to know that our feelings are real and OK. I know my blog and social media are generally my happy highlights reel and I can see how it would be easy to think that there isn’t a cloud in my sky but that’s the whole reality vs the internet thing again!
I agree, Carie, maybe it is a protection thing? I know I keep my blog a largely happy space, but it’s more in real life I’m thinking that it should be okay to say you’re not okay, even if for ‘minor’ reasons- it’s just that social media keeps telling us to be happy happy happy all the time! x
Well said! x
Cheers Ma! x
I completely get this Becks! I’ve been feeling totally meh the past few weeks, and probably putting more pressure on myself by trying to be happy through it! I’m all for a bit of wallowing from time to time. Our problems are maybe not huge in the grand scheme, but they’re still a big deal to us and that’s OK too!
As always, I just love your down to earth take on things sweetpea. Brilliant! Hope this week has been better for you xx
Thanks lovely, it’s been much better ta! You enjoy the odd wallow every now and again, it’s not a bad thing! x
Completely agree that you have to allow yourself to wallow!! It life was so fantastic all the time it would be pretty dull really. I’m all for a bit of wallowing and any excuse to eat a truck load of chocolate 🙂
Here here Emma! x
I have been writing a pregnancy update this evening and thinking all this through. I love pregnancy, I want to talk about the happy moments but actually, this time it is bloody tough. I am exhausted and I look grey and I feel just a bit rubbish most of the time., It makes the wonders of what my body is doing so much more magical but of course it is normal to have crappy days. I think most of us don’t share them socially as those are the days I can’t be bothered to take any photos, and those are the days I turn to local friends (who have cake) rather than online ones.
Aaw Bex, I hear you. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sharing your happy moments (my blog is largely a happy space), but we should also be able to say if we feel crap, and not feel pressure from others or social media to be happy 24/7. You’re my hero either way, as you’ll have 4 children under the age of 5! x
Absolutely with you on this. After weeks on end of rain and illness from one or the other of us and another day stuck indoors yesterday I ended up arguing with the husband and bursting into tears. He’d been asking me all day what was wrong as I am usually so upbeat, genuinely happy and content with my life now but I just couldn’t put my finger on anything specific, it was a combination of a lot of little, trivial things and I just snapped I guess. I actually yelled at him something along the lines of “I’m allowed to have a crappy day every now and again”. Again, not my finest moment ever but without them I wouldn’t appreciate what I have I don’t think.
Yes, yes and more yes to the “I’m allowed to have a crappy day every now and again!”! I say this to my husband sometimes, as he’s often surprised when I’m feeling grumpy as i’m usually really chipper. x
This is one of my biggest issues with social media … you’re made out to be a bit of a liar if things are going swimmingly and yet when you admit that you’ve had a tough day, there’s the murmuring that you’re an ungrateful wretch. I sometimes wonder what the online world wants from us … it’s not perfection and yet you must never, ever, ever moan about your lot for risk of upsetting someone else who has it worse than you. It’s truly crazy. And doesn’t promote stable mental health where you’re simply allowed to feel whatever you want to feel and that it’s absolutely okay to have a good life and a few rubbish days.
Exactly Rachel, I couldn’t agree more! You just can’t win these days. x
OMG Yes! It’s okay to not be okay. Sometimes we all feel a bit crap – and I try to remember this when my son is being a grump instead of yelling ‘what’s wrong with you!’ 😉 – It’s ok… Pretending to be happy all the time is a one way ticket to a breakdown (I think – for me anyway, and don’t take that as coaching advice!)… Usually I find all any of us need is to have those feelings validated, someone to say “You’re not okay right now are you? You will be, but just take some time out now, we all have crappy days.” Getting that makes it pass so much faster, I find. Thanks for sharing such honesty . x
Loving this post! I too am quite a positive person, and naturally look on the brighter side of life. But it is important to recognise and allow those different kind of feeling in ourselves too. I think, as cheesy as this sounds, Inside Out did a brilliant depiction of this with Joy and Sadness and their interplay in the animation. There can be too much focus on happiness at all costs!
As you know I wrote about this, or kind of this, recently as well. I think there is an expectation within ourselves sometimes to realise how lucky we are and to not moan. But we ALL have days where we feel down in the dumps. That is life. I think its ok to feel like sometimes your glass is half empty when deep down you know that is overflowing if that makes sense. xx