One of the most destructive myths is believing you need to be happy all of the time. Abraham Lincoln fought depression for most of his life. Mark Twain suffered from bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression. Happiness is important. But it’s not a prerequisite for success.
I think this is especially important to remember around the holiday season. With so many commercials filled with smiling faces of flawless people living perfect lives, it’s no wonder so many people get depressed. When unhappiness is culturally viewed as a source of failure, it causes a negative cycle where people are unhappy because of their depression.
Other People Have More Fun Than You
In most college surveys, most students grossly overestimate the amount that their peers drink alcohol and have sex. Happiness is a form of social status in Western culture. Many people put on smiling faces to cover up mild discontent. If you’re basing your expectations for life on the faces of other people, then you’re going to come up short.
Stop basing your expectations off the people sitting around you. Because chances are, they’re basing their expectations off of you.
Don’t Drive in Circles
Your emotions are the dashboard gauges in life. They let you know if you’re running out of gas or if you’re driving too fast or slow. But, you got in the car with a purpose to drive somewhere. The gauges can give you corrective feedback, but they can’t be your reason to start the car.
Negative feedback is just an internal warning that you need to make an adjustment. It’s not a grander sign of failure, it’s just a speedometer that’s running a bit high, or a fuel gauge showing you’re almost empty. Unhappiness is a push for you to recognize a truth about your situation and make a change to fix it. The only people who never experience unhappiness are the people who’ve decided not to drive.
Respect Your State
I’m having a happy December this year. I also know people that aren’t, and in the past, I’ve definitely been one of them. Whatever case you might be, respect your state. Don’t ignore it or avoid it, but realize it’s also not uncommon.