It was 1:43 pm and I was busy finishing an assignment. Whatever it is that I am doing, I believe in giving my 100% to it, and that’s exactly what I was doing. I was lost in my work when my colleague just walked up to me and gasped.
“What happened to you? You don’t look happy. Are you happy?”
Am I happy?
Happiness is a state of mind. What influences this state of mind is in the hands of 4 major chemicals in the brain: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins. The perfect balance of these helps one attain happiness.
But the real question is if it is really important that I feel happy at all points?
Am I supposed to smile till my jaws hurt? Or be annoyingly chatty? Or fart rainbows?
Happiness seems to have been deemed like the place which is filled with goals that have been achieved, a perfect relationship, where you don’t have to adult anymore, where Goa plans have worked out, where liquid liner never gets messed up and our favourite football team never loses. It sounds like standing on a humongous pile of happy emojis and declaring your rule over the “happily ever-after”.
I don’t think any phrase has caused more misery and permanent unhappiness than “You don’t look too happy.”
I am not what most people would call a ‘happy person.’ I’m okay with that. But that does not make me an ‘unhappy person.’
It isn’t that I don’t experience ecstasy and joy and absolute bliss but it is ephemeral like the waves of the ocean that soak your feet in the concoction of the shimmery sand and water for a moment and then calmly descend to where they came from.
Excitement, passion, hurt, anger, embarrassed, joy, peaceful … I feel so much more than just happy because that is the basic nature of life.
I am human and what I feel a lot of times, is interested. I feel confused, frustrated, and annoyed. I feel hopeless, hungry and sad. I am a busy person. I work hard and I feel ambitious. I don’t smile a lot. Or talk to my neighbours. I don’t like pets. I don’t like chocolate or romantic movies. I don’t get amused or pleased easily. I can’t stand babies. I love being challenged and get bored when things are easy. I like to create things and I love feeling challenged. I laugh at jokes sometimes, if they are really funny. I get angry a lot. And sometimes, I shout at people for no reason. When I love someone, I’m passionate. I curse a lot. I feel a lot of things.
Am I happy when I do these things? Well, I’m not unhappy.
I believe that there is not one or the other. Feelings are not binary. They aren’t 1 or 0.
I am constantly doing things I find meaningful. Or because it makes sense to me. Or because I want to.
In retrospect, it is kind of funny for people to think of other people brimming with ridiculous amounts of happiness when they have their dream job.
I am not happy, like happy happy.
I can sure be fascinated but happy, I am not sure of that. I’m willingly going through the pain of doing something that excites them. I do a lot of things because they make sense to me. Because I want to.
And that is okay. Why is there so much pressure to be ‘happy’ anyway?
Being happy all the time is not the way we are supposed to be.
We can’t appreciate the light without the darkness. It is not a form of social status. You don’t have to look happy because others do. Without taking the time to feel all that we are feeling whether it is anger, frustration, sadness, agony, loneliness and ‘all those dark emotions’, we can’t completely experience everything that is joyful, and soothing.
You are human. Not a happy unicorn that poops candies and pukes rainbows for fun. Embrace the human-like feelings, why don’t you?
And don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not okay to feel anything apart from happy.