Or are we?
When I found out its International Happiness Day, I remembered something that happened when I was in middle school. I had the idea to give my friends notes wishing them a happy day. I’m not sure if something happened; all I remember is that a lot of people were grumpy and in bad moods. I thought it would make them feel better to know that I was thinking about them and wishing them well.
They agreed that it was the dumbest thing they’d ever seen, and asked me to never do it again.
To be told not only that it was dumb, but to be asked not to encourage them again was shattering. Only two stood by me and said they appreciated it. It’s no wonder that these two were the only ones that remained friends in the years after. The rest went their own way, and I let them. They wanted the grace of being free of my support, and I granted it.
What disturbed me about this memory wasn’t so much the cruelty of pre-teens, but the fact that they had been conditioned to negativity by 12 and 13 years old. It still happens, too – in fact, it’s worse. We say we want to be happy, but the truth is that we’re addicted to the bad. It can’t be blamed on personal temperament either, because society has conditioned us to focus on what’s wrong with the world. Just turn on the news. What comes first, the high news or the high drama? You know the headlines are always about what went wrong, and the good things are pushed to blurbs at the end of the newscast. There are some news shows that choose to focus on good events in the community – unfortunately, they usually air around midafternoon, when many of us are at work. By the time we get home, its gloom and doom time again. It’s even seeped into our fiction. Remember that I shared with you a few months ago that the comedy lineups on prime time are going under, because the dramas are getting higher ratings? “Must see TV” is shifting from knee slapping to skull bashing, and it’s by consumer demand.
While I admit that I’m also more of a drama/scifi/fantasy fan myself, it surprises me that we’re losing our capacity for the fun stuff, because we desperately need it to stay balanced. Happiness really is a choice, and it’s one that we must make each and every day. I know that life is tough. I’ve experienced it recently. Stuff happens and there’s nothing you can do about it, but you can help how you react and adapt. Giving thanks for what’s right and embracing the positive is the difference between accepting defeat, and gaining the wisdom to see and rise to opportunity for a better tomorrow.
I’m going to try this again. I wish each and every one of you a happy day. If things are going well, I hope they continue to do so. If not, I pray things improve and urge you stand firm in the faith and hope of better times ahead. If that’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard, fine. My well wishes are advice and as with all advice, you can take it or leave it. You have a right to be as happy or as miserable as you want to be.
That’s all today. Take care. Have a Happy Friday and a wonderful weekend.