If you were to rate your happiness on a scale of 1 to 10, what number would you choose? Seeing as you are on this page, reading this post, I feel safe in assuming you would choose one of the smaller numbers. When you suffer from anxiety or depression you tend to rate your happiness poorly for days, months, years, which is one of the main reasons us folk tend to break down from time to time; sometimes things just get too much. Why are we sad all the time? What will it take to be happy? Why are there so many people out there, walking around in a bubble of pride and peace with their fancy cars and happy homes? Well there’s one thing to ask yourself, before getting frustrated at your constant sorrow: How do you measure your happiness?
The thing is, happiness is all relative. It’s relative to your perception of it. You could be living a life of poverty, no money to your name and no roof over your head, yet it is possible to still be happy. How? if the key to happiness to you is being healthy and free, then that kind of life will make you happy – regardless of the troubles you are facing. Over the last decade or so, the sheer number of individuals suffering with their Mental Health has risen at an exponential rate. There must be a reason for this; the whole world doesn’t just wake up depressed one day out of coincidence.
This day and age, there are celebrities on TV. Smart, beautiful, successful and wealthy individuals are waved in front of our faces day to day – individuals with talents that put them above the rest. Whether it be watching a game of Football, with people running around making millions, or just scrolling through Instagram and seeing a model lying on the beach with the sun setting, getting thousands of likes per post – we are always exposed to greatness. As Social Media plays a bigger and bigger role in today’s society, we seldom go a day without being exposed to a unique individual. Which is great, really, that somebody successful can reach millions of people worldwide through Social Media, yet it can be detrimental to ones mental health.
Subconsciously, we all start to measure our own happiness against those of others. If we are not doing what we love everyday, making a lot of money and being famous, then how can we be happy? The metric of the 21st century has managed to warp our perceptions of happiness. If we don’t feel unique and exceptional then our Mental Health has a tendency to suffer. We spend our lives not thinking we are good enough, feeling like we are wasting our lives not making a difference to the world. Why? Because our metric of measurement is twisted – the brutal reality is the majority of the world will never become exceptional, yet will always be exposed to those who are.
I presume you are wondering why I’m telling you that you will probably never be exceptional in the eyes of society, and you have the right to, as someone who is trying to promote Mental Health awareness I shouldn’t be hitting potentially vulnerable individuals with bombshells like these. Yet the point I am trying to prove is – you don’t have to be exceptional to be happy. Your happiness should not be measured against to those around you, and to do so is to guarantee yourself a degradation of Mental Health.
Picture this: You work countless hours a week, doing a job you don’t enjoy, and go home every night to a house you don’t like to live in, in a neighborhood you promised your younger self you would never call your own. Sounds miserable, right? That’s because you want to be working minimal hours, doing a job you love, living in a mansion in Beverly Hills.
Then picture the same situation, yet you have a family. You have a family you love and would do anything for. You get to go to your shitty home in your shitty neighborhood after a long day at your shitty job, yet you go home to your family. You get to see the partner you love and the children you love…
When did this stop counting as happiness?
Change the metric you choose to measure your happiness on and you will see that the key to happiness isn’t being rich and famous – it’s surrounding yourself with the people you love. Maybe if we spent more time with the people around us, and less time idolizing the exceptional, then our Mental Health might not be so bad.
Blessed. Thank you for reminding me to smile
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Smashing and insightful! I really relate well to this (and am also plugging you into a pass it along post – no obligation.) I’d much rather be happy where I am than happy because other people think I am – if that makes any sense?
As they say, happiness is a choice. And if you count your blessings (like a wonderful family, as you said), it’s much easier to be grateful instead of unhappy. I’ve spent years with insomnia, and I find it helpful to remind myself that I can choose to be anxious and freak out about having to work all day on two hours of sleep, or I can say, “Screw it, I’ll deal with it. There are thousands of folks without a warm bed, without air conditioning and clean water and food and a closet full of clothes, but somehow I’m not one of them.” It’s all perspective. You know, like that Johnny Depp meme/quote that has gone around for ages about the problem not being the problem. The problem is your attitude. Yesterday I was in a situation I wasn’t thrilled about and then I tried to change my own mind about it and decided it wasn’t really awful at all. It was beneficial for several people involved, and I needed to focus on that.