A woman that I greatly admire and respect posted a version of this quote on her Facebook wall a few weeks ago:
Seething with frustration towards a quote that I have long loathed, I cracked my knuckles and readied my long, spindly fingers for a nice afternoon on the soapbox; but she took care of it for me. Her post read something along these lines: “I hate these kinds of quotes – there is already too much pressure on girls to be happy all the time!”.
I am so proud to call her my Daycare Lady.
Girls, she is right. There is too much pressure on you to be happy, to always have a smile on your face, to grin through impossibly difficult circumstances. Growing up, I recall feeling few emotions other than happiness and anxiety. The rest of the emotional spectrum seemed forbidden and unacceptable.
Let me tell you what I didn’t know: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE HAPPY. There is a massive range of emotions for you to experience and revel in throughout your life! Sometimes it is nice to just be sad, emotional, cynical, scared (um, I believe there’s an entire movie genre centered around this emotion), joyous, depressed, apathetic… the list goes on! Sometimes rather then trying to dig ourselves out of the pit of our emotion, it’s best to just dig in.
Of course, inevitably, since most of the world is centered around people being happy, when you begin to experience alternative emotions, it will often make others a bit uncomfortable. Which might also make you uncomfortable. Do a little emotional exploration:
Instead of following them down the trail of leprechauns and pixie dust in an effort to “cheer you up”, respond with something like: “Actually, I’m good, I think I’m just gonna keep being sad.”
Then watch them squirm.
Seriously, what is the big deal?! You owe it to yourself to embrace your feelings! Nobody else needs to pressure you into being a ray of friggin sunshine again – and for what? Because it makes them feel more comfortable?? Hey, sometimes people are overcompensatingly happy and it makes ME uncomfortable. Maybe I should punch them in the face so I can get back in my comfort zone!
The point is, they’ll get over it. And they just MIGHT suddenly feel like they might take a chance at feeling some emotions themselves.
We are human, after all.
Girls, you are all allowed to be who you are. You are allowed to feel angry, frustrated, demanding, upset, out of control. You are allowed to express those feelings to others and to say the words that need to be said. You are allowed to not give a damn when someone decides to judge you for it.
And, at those times when the stars align, it’s okay to feel happy too.
To receive the RealGirls Inspirational Monthly Meme, please sign up below: