Every morning when I open my eyes, the first thing I do is check social media. This is mostly because I don’t want to get out of my warm, cozy bed. But I check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pintrest, and my email. I am a huge advocate for social media, and I love sharing my life online. I think it’s an amazing tool for promotion of ideas, marketing, education, politics, religion, and so much more. But recently, I’ve been disappointed by what I’m seeing online.
**DISCLAIMER:** I do recognize that there are mental illnesses that cannot be cured by saying “It’s okay!! Life goes on!!! Just get up early! Read a book! Go for a walk!! :)” This is not what I am addressing. I am addressing those times in our lives where we might need a little push, some motivation to get through the night, the day, the week, the semester. Sometimes, it’s good to be reminded that it gets better.
I’ve written a lot about my struggles this past year. I spent a lot of time in both talk therapy and EDMR, and I started taking anxiety medication this fall. It’s been a crazy, crazy ride, and it’s something I am working on day in and day out. It’s an everyday battle to remember that I am more than my struggles.
And even more, I’ll be the first to admit that I fail at this.
I am horrible at being positive. I am definitely a glass-half-empty person. It’s the fact of the matter: I look at the negative side first. It’s just who I am. I am not good at being positive and flexible and willing. I do not like being wrong. I do not like change. I do not like being uncomfortable. I am inherently a negative Debbie downer.
Real-life example: I have to go to work tomorrow, because it’s Monday. Instead of being grateful for a well-paying job with a bunch of little kids, I always think “God, I don’t want to go to work today. I could be doing a million other things. I am tired and I have a lot to do.”
Here is what I am learning: positivity is a choice.
Bad things are going to happen to all of us, in all seasons of life, and sometimes they come unexpectedly. Last year, the worst season of my life so far came immediately after the best season of my life. I’d never been so happy, but then I’d never been so low.
And I think I did need to fall apart. Sometimes, that’s necessary. Sometimes, we need the space to lay in bed for two weeks and eat container after container of frosting and watch the entire series of Grey’s Anatomy (not that I did that or anything…). But then, we get up. And we keep going.
Here’s another thing I’m learning: this is not what the world tells us to do.
It comes in places we don’t notice.
It’s a tweet from an “artsy” account, saying “full of emptiness but its fine!!” or “im afraid to be happy at this point tbh”.
It’s a black-and-white photo on tumblr of bruises and faded scars taken on a polaroid camera.
It’s movies and books about driving with no destination while old Bon Iver songs play in the background, and the driver is devoid of feeling.
It’s the romanticization of sadness. And it’s everywhere. It’s on all social media. It has become popular to have problems, and it’s a contest of who has it worse. It’s easy to be sad online, and it’s easy
Here is one more thing I’m learning: sadness is comfortable, but it is not what we are meant for.
I have spent one too many days laying in bed, watching Meredith and Derek and their horribly addicting on-and-off-again relationship fall apart again while I sob because life is just too hard to do today. It’s easy to lay in bed and listen to sad songs on my Spotify and wallow in how hard I have it right now.
It’s comfortable to be down, because it’s work to be happy. It’s hard work! It’s actively choosing that that dumb glass is half full. It’s our reversing our preset condition (well, mine, at least). But how will we recognize the good without the bad? What are highs without lows?
Life will to happen to us–the good, the bad, all of the above. Sadness is comfortable, and it’s oftentimes our first response. But I am learning that it’s an active choice to be positive about every situation. It’s not the popular thing to do, and most of the time, it’s not fun.
Here is a list of some positive affirmations to repeat to yourself. This week is going to be a good week, and I am choosing happiness this week. Will you join me?