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The “Unhappy” Trend

27 Sep

It seems as though we are moving toward an “Unhappy” trend. By this, I mean we seem to live in a day and age where it is more acceptable to be bored, tired and miserable than to be publicly happy and content.

I remember so often asking someone–a co-worker, a friend, the cashier at Starbucks–how they’re doing and getting the same response: Oh, hanging in there…Good, until my alarm went off this morning…Minus being at work? Great! And when it wasn’t a gripe or complaint, it was usually a generic and apathetic response like: Good, thanks…Oh, I’m okay…Doing well. For many of my friends who would give me such answers, I knew enough about their lives to know they had plenty of great things taking place that they could share and talk about. Instead, they chose to settle for a sarcastic or emotionless answer, but for what purpose? To make those that are less happy feel more comfortable?

What I’ve come to realize is that it’s hard to be publicly happy and not have it taken the wrong way. Too often genuine happiness is perceived as bragging, boasting or being fake. Sometimes it is even seen as offensive or intimidating to someone who isn’t as happy as you are.

I have a lot of things in my life for which I’m grateful and happy. I started my own business to pursue my passion, have many meaningful and fulfilling relationships and have a flexible schedule that allows me to travel as I please. Yes, life is good. But these tokens of happiness have to be earned each and every day with hard work, dedication and sacrifice. I’m not kidding–those motivational posters couldn’t have summarized it better. What’s disappointing is that even after all of that hard work to create my happiness, I often feel guilty when I go to share this happiness with others. I feel like it’s easier to gripe and complain about little things, even the weather, just to make myself more likable to those who don’t allow themselves to be as happy.

The “Unhappy” trend is one I look forward to seeing pass. We need to get back into the trend of not just supporting each others’ happiness, but working to preserve and grow it. It’s as simple as the next time today you’re asked how you’re doing–respond with a genuine and positive answer about something good in your life.

I know we all have at least one thing in our lives right now that we can be happy about. Even if it’s just the 5 free minutes you had to surf Word Press and find this blog!

Some of My Pieces of Happiness

My cat and companion, Pinot who keeps working from home interesting.

My cat and companion, Pinot who keeps working from home interesting.

The flexibile work schedule that allows me to travel as I please.

The flexibile work schedule that allows me to travel as I please.

A summer full of sweet and simple memories

A summer full of sweet and simple memories

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27 Comments

Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Life

 

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27 responses to “The “Unhappy” Trend

  1. maturestudenthanginginthere

    September 27, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I agree with you. We do have to focus on cherishing the good bits, otherwise they have the potential to be overshadowed by the grey or dark bits of life. In Scotland, when you ask people how they are they have a habit of saying, “not bad”. I sometimes feel if they just switched their language to saying, “I’m good” it would make a huge difference to them and to the people who they’re speaking too.

    Jacqueline

     
    • Stephanie Bennis

      September 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks for the comment! There’s so much power in language and how it trickles down into how we feel–I’m sure saying “I’m good” rather than “Not bad” would have an effect on happiness and outlook.

       
  2. gramercygirl

    September 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. I realized a few years ago that there was more to life than “this” – life is too short to not to live life passionately and with purpose. Thank you for this post!

    ~Shelly

     
  3. trueheartspeaks

    September 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I so agree. I think it’s a shame when we can’t share our happiness or the great things in our lives. If you’re too happy or have too much ‘happiness’ in your life, there’s ‘something’ wrong with you. Where as it should be the other way around.

     
  4. cheaperthantherapy2lisa

    September 27, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Very nicely written, and so true.

     
  5. Anabelle

    September 27, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    I don’t think it’s a “trend”. One time a biology professor explained why rhesus – and rhesus + in blood couldn’t work together:

    “Someone who’s depressed doesn’t want happy people around, so you can’t donate + blood to someone with – blood. However, a happy person doesn’t mind having depressed or happy people around, so + blood will accept – and + rhesus.”

    It’s not that there’s a trend, it’s just that people who aren’t happy don’t want to see other people happy around them. It reminds them too much of their own unhappiness. Surround yourself with happy people!

     
    • Stephanie Bennis

      September 27, 2011 at 6:00 pm

      That’s a really interesting explanation and I never thought of it like that!

       
  6. argosgirl

    September 27, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I love this post! And great timing… I found that as of late I was an unhappy person. I just couldn’t be positive if someone asked me about work or how my day was going while I was at work. That wasn’t right. I’m normally a happy person and found that while I was happy about everything else, work made me miserable, and it was being a drain to the person I love the most. Today I quit my job that makes me so unhappy. The future is still tentative and involves less money…but I think in the long run I’ll be a lot happier and hopefully make those around me happier:)

     
    • Stephanie Bennis

      September 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm

      I left my own job because of the exact same reason. I was miserable, felt like my talents weren’t be used and was wasting so much time doing what I didn’t care about. There’s certainly been challenges since then, but I’m so much happier and to me that’s priceless! Best of luck with your change and be sure to blog about it!

       
  7. roma

    September 27, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. Well done!

     
    • Stephanie Bennis

      September 28, 2011 at 12:36 pm

      Thank you! I really appreciate it. I forgot how much writing was therapy for me before I started blogging. A year ago, I would have never pictured myself here, but I’m so glad I am.

       
  8. Jamie

    September 28, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Great post! I seem to share this quote often, and your post brought it to mind for me once again:
    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? … Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine… And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson

     
    • Stephanie Bennis

      October 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Jamie, that’s one of my favorite quotes too! Subconsciously I think it was my inspiration behind this post. Who are we to NOT be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? 🙂

       
  9. l0ve0utl0ud

    September 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Great post! Yes, unfortunately being happy is seen as being almost ‘strange’ or ‘abnormal’, and can make people feel that you are boasting, causing jealousy. But happiness doesn’t mean continual success or an everlasting good mood. It is a feeling of contentment, gratitude and peace. As you showed in your photos 🙂

     
  10. Jean Brown

    September 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    I totally agree. I think in some ways we’re programmed to expect that we won’t just be happy–we’ll always be beaten down by life, jobs, etc. I love this post–I think it’s really important that we teach ourselves to expect happiness–that it’s both attainable and deserved. I am looking for a lifestyle that I define on those terms, and I’m very inspired by your story!

     
  11. TL Burriss

    September 30, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Good post Stephanie – I used to worry what people thought when my reply to “How are you doing?” was (& still is) – “I’m doing fabulous” or “I’m unbelievably fantastic”, or when I know the enquirer (sp?) well enough, “I’m unbelievably fantastic, hovering near ecstasy and right now it’s not chemically induced” Then I decided, I don’t care what they think. I am and I’m dang proud of it. My attitude is the core of who and what I am. Period! Have a fabulous day.

     
  12. hawkstv

    October 1, 2011 at 2:58 am

    You are so right about this. People seem to love to complain and are happy with it. Don’t they know that their happiness is based on their thoughts. Negative thinking brings about negative thoughts. Honestly, I don’t want to be around anyone that’s negative. Congratulations to you on starting your business and pursuing your dreams!!

     
  13. devinleehoff

    October 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I absolutely love this post. I recently have been thinking a lot about life and happiness and just wrote a post about it too because there are so many thoughts, opinions and questions on the subject.

    Also, really random, I was looking at your business website and saw that you live in Harrisburg, PA which is crazy because I’m from Dillsburg, PA. Just goes to show, it’s such a small world!!

     
    • Stephanie Bennis

      October 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm

      Thanks for stopping by–and small world indeed! I just moved next door to Mechanicsburg and am now even closer to Dillsburg. I’m still getting to know the area, so if you know of any good local spots worth checking out, please share!

       
  14. Arindam

    October 2, 2011 at 4:22 am

    Nice post Stephanie…. your post summarized that- happiness not lies in doing extraordinary things. It lies in doing small things, which u enjoy doing. And there is no need to search for happiness. Its always there with in you.

    Keep the good work going, waiting for your next post 🙂

     
  15. Julie

    October 3, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Amen! Thanks for such a spot-on post. I so much agree with what you wrote. I find myself more and more choosing to be around people with whom I can be more and more myself with and who accept me and my happiness and silliness for who we are — and vice versa. I find it strengthening and affirming — but more importantly, it adds so much fun and naturalness to living each day. Given this new way of being, the sky’s the limit when it comes to age. It’s wonderful to be able to be totally stupid with my little and young adult cousins, as well as real and vulnerable with my older relatives. As for people out in public, that’s like my playground… holding doors open, casual comments, smiles, thank you’s. Yeah, those sourpusses are bummers, but your post reminds me to either shower them with love and kindness or quietly leave them be and skip on my merry way.

     
  16. jannatwrites

    October 17, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Your photos of things that make you happy are a huge clue as to why you are happy – none of them are “things”, as in objects cluttering your space. They all signify companionship, fulfillment and memories, which all nourish happiness.

    So, go ahead and share your happiness. Who knows, maybe it will catch on!

     
    • Stephanie Bennis

      October 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm

      This is a really good point. When picking out my “happy” photos I didn’t even realize I choose the intangible things in life that make me happy….furry friends, travel, love. Better yet is I know these are things that can’t be easily taken away from me either like material possessions can.

       
  17. The Hook

    October 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Pic #2 hit close to home – literally!
    Nicely done spotting the “Unhappy” Trend.

     
  18. Sabine Clark

    November 30, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Hi Stephanie,
    I love your article. You are absolutely right. The little things are so important to remeber and I think a lot of us are happy, but simply forget to realize it and need someone to remind them from time to time that things are soo much better when you allow yourself to be happy.
    (You’ve inspired me to also write a blog post about this topic. Working on it now, will recommend your article as I think everyone should read it from time to time as a happy reminder).

     
    • Stephanie Bennis

      December 5, 2011 at 9:30 am

      I’m glad you stopped by and enjoyed what you read. “Forgetting to be happy” might be another trend we need to watch out for. Thanks for recommending my blog!

       

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