Every few weeks, I hit a couple of days when I’m just in a funk. Either my energy levels dip or I feel overwhelmed. I used to think it was a problem I needed to fix. I was wrong. It’s just a normal part of being an emotionally-vulnerable human.
The everlasting happiness myth is everywhere in our society. We’re hit with advertisements on our phones, televisions, and in stores. Every marketing effort is geared towards winning us over. A pharmaceutical ad shows a couple bicycling through a forest with smiles glued to their faces or a couple fishing at dusk without a worry in the world.
With a non-stop bombardment of ads, it’s no wonder we start to worry when we’re temporarily sad. We’ve been programmed to believe that happiness should be our default state at all times.
Failing to achieve permanent happiness
Striving to be permanently happy is detrimental in the long-run. Because change is the only constant in life, you’ll feel inadequate when certain life-events knock you side-ways and you can’t help but feel sad in the moment.
You’ll start to limit your emotions by forcing yourself not to feel the emotional lows as they come.
“Negative” emotions like sadness, anger, disappointment, and fear inform us when something isn’t right. More than that, they spur us into action. For example, if you’re fearful, you’ll remove yourself from a dangerous situation. If you’re angry, you’ll force yourself to take action on something that’s forcing you into a corner.
Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness. All can know good as good only because there is evil.
— Tao Te Ching, Chapter 2
How can you feel happiness unless you can contrast it with what sadness feels like? You can’t. That’s another reason why it’s normal and important to experience a full spectrum of emotions from time to time.
Normalizing Down Times
Feeling ‘off’ a few days a month is part of the human experience. It’s a sign that you’re living life with a range of emotions.
You don’t have to spend the same amount of time in sadness as you do in happiness, but you do have to experience the feeling of sadness every now and again.
What matters, in my opinion, is how fast you can bounce back. If you’re in a funk for a day but then spend a week or two in a good mood, that’s a great trade.
On the other hand, If most of your days are low energy and pessimistic, with only a few good days, it’s time to dig deeper and find a solution.
Embracing your emotions
Remember, It’s okay not to be okay all the time. You’re human. Next time you feel ‘off’, give yourself a break. Get some sleep, eat something good, and enjoy some downtime. You’ll make it through the storm and appreciate the happy moments, even more, when they arrive.