So, I’ve been tossing and turning since about 6a.m. this morning until my thoughts finally centered in on this one question:
How can you live out your happiness, while still being respectful of other people’s emotional space?
I realize now that this has been a central question in my life for some time now.
I’ve always considered myself a positive person, an optimist, though I also find space for realism too. Unfortunately, it’s something I’ve always been jugged for. People stereotype happy, confident people and instead use titles such as “conceited”, “fake” etc. I’ve never understood why until this year.
I was living with one of my friends, who I would say is probably more “optimistic” than me. More “grateful for the little things in life” than me. My mother would probably say she didn’t think that was even possible. But it was. And I have to be honest, it was exhausting.
Every moment I felt any kind of natural ebb and flow in my emotions, lull in my mood, I felt guilty. Because I couldn’t look at a dusty piece of I don’t know what and say “Oh My Goodness Guys Isn’t This The GREATEST THING EVER!!” I thought there’s something wrong with me, am I becoming depressed again?, my god it’s ok to not be perfectly happy all the time, does this person even have any real emotions?, please just show me one negative thought or feeling of yours so that I don’t feel like a failed human being!
And I was terrified…Is this how I’ve made others feel my whole life?
So I stopped sharing my happiness out loud. I aligned myself with my imperfections so as not to hurt others. I refused to be like this person so as not to hurt others. And I don’t think it’s working out so well. Because people are starting to ask me if I’m ok, and truth is I am not as “OK” as I was before living with this person. I’ve stopped sharing my happiness in order to be respectful of others, and in turn I’ve stopped being happy.
I’m scared that after seeing her example, I will never be able to see myself as “a happy person” in comparison. Because of her example, and the way it made me feel, I fear I won’t ever allow myself to be a “happy person like her”.
But I’ve decided that will be the difference. I don’t want to express my happiness the way she does, a way that takes from others and puts others down. It’s a fine line but I know that there is a difference and here’s why:
The person that made the biggest difference in my life my first year away from home, did so because his happiness and positive regard for life taught me that I didn’t have to let go of my optimistic worldview, just to fit into the adult world. That I didn’t have to be stressed out in order to survive university. That I didn’t ever have to become jaded…which btw is my absolute WORST FEAR. I don’t fear academic or carrer failure half as much as I fear failing myself, and my commitment to loving the world.
But looking at the collection of my writing so far on this blog, I’m beginning to fear that I’m headed that way.
So please help me out guys…what makes the difference between somebody who is so happy it’s inspirational and some one who is so happy it makes you hate them?
Because as much as I’ve been judged before for my optimism, I’ve also been told that it has really touched and impacted others. I just want to know where the secret lines are drawn, so that I can be happy and express it enough to help others, without hurting people in the same breath.
Yours truly, the half melted candle on the mantle
ps. I’m also of the opinion that “fake” is the worst insult in the world. Always respect anyone’s expression of their truth as their truth…even if it’s just one version of the truth, one part of themselves they’ve chosen to show you. Who are we to judge??? ❤
also ps. I really am interested in your advice and thoughts so feel free to leave a comment or perhaps even blog your response!