More things I learnt for myself in 2017.
It’s Okay To Be Unhappy
This isn’t a what, why, how organized post because it isn’t something that I set myself to do over the course of the year, but it was one of the biggest things I came to terms with this year.
When I see people who are unhappy, I’d try cheering them up. I make some terrible jokes, and that usually lifts the collective spirit, insofar as it gives people something else to focus on. Humour, and, bad humour, has been my coping mechanism. I’ve always held the notion that distraction was the best way to get over unhappiness. Moving on and about, as if nothing had happened.
A very big reason for this is because of the optimism my house radiated. Even on terrible days, my parents would come back from work and say they had an okay/good day. At most, I’ve heard them complain about work by saying they had a busy, tough day with lots of deadlines. But not once have I heard them say they’ve had a genuine, lousy day.
I’ve ruined their moods a lot: throwing fits and doing generally, childish things. But they’ve been quick with their forgiveness. That optimism passed on to me, and I guess I always tried finding the positive side to negative things. Something went terribly? I’d count it as experience. Or I’d blame it on fate. Or I’d find something else to distract me. Set a new goal, or whatnot.
I never contemplated unhappiness. Didn’t spend time dwelling on it, because it was not an emotion I was comfortable feeling. I despised feeling sorry for myself, tried to stay away from pity, and in general, shut myself off to the idea that people could see me being an unhappy individual.
Slowly, this sense of shutting off, or suppressing the emotion, moved on to other things. I rarely showed the emotions swarming through my head, which naturally meant I never confronted my emotions. Few saw through this (for several years, mind you) – and I’m grateful to them because they forced me to say what was on my mind. With some judgement, but still. It made me say what I was thinking. And that was a start.
This year, at the start of the year, I faced proper unhappiness. Something I worked on for 4 months, night & day, didn’t work out. I found myself wanting to talk to people about it, but denying myself the opportunity by feeling like everyone had better things to do than to hear me talk about my sadness.
But that gave me time to actually contemplate what on Earth had transpired, and why I felt so sad. It took me 2 days to snap out of it, on the outside, but 4 months before I was truly okay with everything that had gone down. Those 4 months were brutal. I couldn’t find anything positive to think, and my mindset had become extremely negative and lazy. My parents were super supportive, and I think they’re the only reason it didn’t affect other parts of my life – like my academics. But, it was a tough 4 months.
I remember sitting in my room one day in the afternoon, post-classes, and wanting to just cry. And scream a little. But cry. And no tears came out.
That was a difficult day to get through.
I couldn’t get myself to shrug it off, and I hated who I was becoming. I found it tough to drag myself to class & pay attention to 5 hours of lectures. I started finding fault in everything around me, and in general, began carrying a slightly more negative outlook to things in life. I started saying No to things I would ordinarily say Yes to.
At the end of it all, I woke up one day in late May, and that unhappiness was gone.
Only then did I realize I had confused optimism with eternal happiness.
They’re not the same thing at all.
You can be an optimist who is unhappy. And that is okay.
Feeling unhappy as a result of things is a normal human emotion. It’s alright to be sad and it’s okay to want to talk to someone about it.
I’m no therapist, and I’m not going to give any advice. But I feel like as with most things, it’s in times of sadness that you should life live by your own terms. Give yourself whatever you need. Be a little selfish, but don’t hurt anyone.
If you want to talk to someone, ask them if they can listen. If you want food, go get it. Don’t expect someone to walk into your room with a magic solution to it all.
It’s okay to be unhappy and feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Society is a little crazy if they don’t understand that. And you’re only hurting yourself if you don’t accept that.
But the unhappiness does go away at some point. Relief does set in.
It certainly did for me. I’m just better equipped to handle things the next time I feel sad because I have a bit of a “cheer me up” checklist. Make one for yourself. You may need it sometime.
That’s just a long elaborate version of me coming to terms with experiencing an emotion I didn’t originally want to associate with myself.
More tomorrow! We’re only 5 days away from the end of the year, how incredibly exciting!