The other day I was chatting with a friend on the book of face, and he asked me why it was – HOW it was – that I was always so happy. “You’re never down” he said. “It’s not normal”.
And you know what? It’s not. I’m well aware of this fact. But I have a confession to make, friends. I’m not always the crazy happy person that the world sees everyday. I often internalize a lot of confusion, self-inflicted torture and annoyance at miniscule things that – in the grand scheme of things – don’t actually matter. But in this world of social media – where you see everyone’s highlight reel, it’s hard to understand why one might be feeling down, or out, or why you’re feeling so confused about life. So I do what everyone else does, and have my moments of hiding, and trying to understand why it is that I’m feeling how I do; why that trigger word makes me feel hopeless, and how I can change that. Then I’ll go for a run, lift weights, devour pizza – the trusted things that I KNOW will help get me out of my funk. I think that’s healthy.
By and large, though, I think my friend is right. I am abnormally happy compared to… a lot of people in Western society. And I’m often asked why. So I’ve pondered on this point over the last few days, and – while this is obviously a developing conversation, and an incredibly complex situation (particularly as we all come from different experiences) – I think I’ve begun to make some conclusions. For my own journey at least.
- Own your suckiness
It’s something my mum used to say all the time. You can’t be awesome ALL the time – and that’s okay! You’ll meet other people who are awesome at the things you’re not awesome at instead – and steadily you’ll begin to establish a team of awesomeness. Your very own crew of X-Men or Avengers.
2. Be kind to yourself
If you’re having a bad day, BE NICE TO YOURSELF! Take the day off, eat chocolate for lunch – and I mean, ONLY eat chocolate, it’s okay! -, treat yourself to a haircut or something that’s 100% only for you.
3. Make friends with your past
We’ve all had shitty experiences in our lives. I’ve been suicidal several times – I’ve also had loved ones commit suicide. I’ve been in abusive relationships, I’ve been raped, I’ve been homeless, and I’ve had eating disorders… and let’s not even talk about brain surgery! But by understanding that about myself, and knowing how far I’ve come since those experiences, I’ve been able to build myself back up into someone who’s stronger, more empathetic, and more resilient to life’s challenges.
4. Surround yourself with love
This can be a hard one, because it’s often difficult to ask for a hug. And some of us aren’t fortunate enough to be in places with people who we want hugs from! But I think it’s important to surround yourself with as many people who you care for, and who care for you in return, when you’re feeling down. Other ways to do this: hug your dog or your cat (perhaps not your goldfish) and watch silly movies, or Ted Talks. Oh my Gawd, I cannot express to you how much I love Ted Talks. They are the mental and emotional hug if I’m ever unable to get a physical hug.
5. Take ownership
You know the saying “there’s two sides to every story”? Well, it’s 100% true. Especially when it comes to owning yourself. If you’re having difficulty with a situation, one of the most detrimental things I’ve found that I do sometimes is blame the other person for the outcome. Instead, I try to take ownership of how I contributed, or how I can change things from my end to come to a better resolution.
Easy as that. Smiling makes other people smile – and in turn, you get the opportunity to make someone’s day. That’s a pretty cool feeling.
7. Sing / write
Music is my meditation. Singing or writing songs about my experiences and feelings is one of the best ways for me to untangle and understand who I am, and what I’m doing.
And finally, one of the best releases for me (hand in hand with music, really) is turning the volume up to 11, and running or lifting weights. As my physical strength develops, so does my mental and emotional strength. It’s amazing how that relationship works between those parts of self.
So there you have it. I hope that helps!
Have a happy day x