Flowzario’s Wellness Rant Vol. 3: Happiness
July 26, 2018Rosario Chozas
Let’s talk about how gloomy happiness has become, and also a little bit about chocolate.
For a while I have been toying with the idea of writing about happiness, self-improvement, constant growth and ‘living a life you don’t need a vacation from’. A) it’s completely unrealistic to achieve and toconstantly maintain these principles and emotions as a real adult in life. Also, not sure why we are so obsessed with them. And B) it’s also exhausting to feel as though we are missing out on something if we’re not always “great.” Here’s the thing folks: I’m officially over it.
Before ranting on I would like to clarify that I by no means glorify sadness or melancholy and understand that extended periods of such emotions can weaken our moral. This leads us into places that are NOT healthy and that’s not great nor should it be championed by anyone in any way. I am simply proposing the idea that happiness lies in a harmonic combination of emotions (whatever they might be) and NOT in the exclusion of them. In other words, we need a little bit of darkness to feel the light.
Part 1. The Obsession
There are both good things and not so good things about engaging in self-improvement. “I’ve had a shit bag of a day and would greatly benefit from a yoga class” = great. “I don’t know how to express anything other than linear positive emotions IRL, when I meet people, at friend gatherings, on the socials” = you’re exhausting and probably exhausted. Constantly try to (or lying to yourself that you are) living the happy life you’re told is “happy” eventually leads to some serious shit.
Here’s a common scenario. If It’s not on social media, it’s a TedTalk or a ‘great’ book or a weekend workshop, not matter what, we see the idea of happiness everywhere. But it essentially leads down the same path of you eating dark chocolate (probably before dinner time and maybe a little stoned) feeling like you could BE, you could EXIST in a way in which happiness was always the constant present emotion you felt, but right now that’s not you. You’re eating chocolate two hits into your weed pen feeling a little sad or funky because life and that’s no Bueno.
Eventually, if you don’t feel happy, you take it out on yourself for not yielding the results you’ve been lied to about. After you feel like a big pile of dog shit for not living the TedTalk life, all anyone talks about its how they’re “doing great” followed by quick bullet points that provide validity as to how great they are. Really, any chance to share the vapid side of what they consider happiness. We get diluted into a world where happiness is the only acceptable emotion through which we can socialize, and anything else is taboo.
These social media, TedTalk lives reduce us to images of ourselves where tough times don’t exist and good lighting is always around. (i.e no chocolate and weed pens for those people, obvs). Somewhere along the way we’ve gotten tricked into eliminating the “human” part of life and the emotions that come with it.
We consume this, we buy it, we vote it. We want it and we do or have done a series of things to try and achieve it. To mimic it and to uphold this infinite space of hot garbage. It’s not real, it’s not sexy, it’s not interesting and quite frankly it makes for really boring networking events.
Part 2. Happiness is not the sum of no sad feelings.
Somewhere along the line the idea of happy being = not sad became a thing. Not sure why this happened and why we all accepted it but I think it is incredibly boring, predictable and overall un-exciting. I don’t think that we (‘we’ being human beings with lives, loves, madness, passions, feelings, food allergies, and Netflix preferences, etc.) are so basic that we have to confine ourselves to living and breathing and feeling through one emotion at a time. Come. On. That’s not a thing.
I believe that we have the ability and the responsibility to live our lives through an entire palette of emotions. That these feelings and intuitions are all equally important to shaping us as humans. To accept the idea that some emotions being not engaged with because they are not happy-go-lucky is to accept a life with less color. Less vibrancy makes for really boring people who have really boring dinner conversations*.
*These people will never be invited over for dinner at my house, btw.
Of course, some feelings get a little more of the spotlight than others at any given time. If not, we would lose our shit. But there is something very cool about holding space for all the feelings that our lives produce. And I do mean ALL of ‘em. We must listen to those feelings and allow them each their own time in the spotlight. They must be enjoyed, observed, processed, appreciated or detested. That’s far more interesting than trying to block them out or pretend they’re not there. The latter makes you one of those people with a weird vibe and gives you cellulite (scientific research pending, obvs).
Part 3. Stop lying to me, k?
I’m not going to get into the K-hole of social media happiness because no one’s got time for that, but why is it so hard for us to express any other feeling other than how great we are when we see people? Why can’t there be other stuff going on? I’m not talking about diving into your childhood traumas or unhealed emotional wounds in the first 5 minutes of a date, but why do we cut out all the crazy, weird, funky, hairy stuff that goes on? The deep introspective stuff or even just the questions we ask ourselves at a stoplight on Tuesday before noon? Have we totally shit all over any other feelings so much that we just avoid them? Don’t have them? Don’t share them? Is anyone there? Is the A/C at Panther Coffee broken (yes and I’m sweating, FYI).
I get that most people are weirded out by honesty, on all levels and in most situations. Sometimes we don’t expect it or don’t really know what to do with raw, honest emotions especially those that aren’t part of the happiness family. I get it. It can feel a little weird. But I think it’s only because that’s what we’ve been told. Maybe we should work on trying to hold that space for someone who’s sharing a real thing that’s not 100% amazing sometimes. I’m not saying it’s time to try your hand at the field of psycholoy, but just hold space, listen and observe. Ask a question or two, offer up a hug and who knows, maybe you’ve experienced similar emotions or things in your life.
In my 25 years of life (just kidding I’m totally 34) I have found that the exchange of base level conversations around lifeless bullet points and prioritized shiny, great feelings have completely exhausted me and I’m totally over it. If you’re not going to be real with me, don’t bother. Please and thank you. I would rather literally sit in silence and stare at a wall than talk to a live, human form of an Instagram feed. At the very least my feelings would be interesting. They would be present, raw, crazy, scary, weird, wild, unapologetic, apologetic, insightful and narrow. They would be curious and many other things that are unattainable if you’re just regurgitating bullet points at my face.
Not sure how to land this plane, but hopefully I have inspired someone out there to not feel alone if they are having a funky day/week. Or to not feel weird at a networking event where everyone tells them they’re “doin’ great” every five seconds. Or even to not feel bad if you don’t have any life updates (i.e. bullet points). And if that’s not the case, maybe someone out there feels better about their mid-day chocolate consumption. Either way, get out there and go live a life where you feel shit, lots of shit, all kinds of shit. So much shit that you feel fully complete and alive, k?
Rosario Chozas is the hilariously amazing soul behind @flowzario, and Prism’s resident Account Manager and internal Wellness Guru/Big Sister. She’s also the badass entrepreneur behind the sustainable workwear line, BAMMIES.