After a 6-month hiatus, I have finally reactivated my Facebook. I immediately felt overwhelmed with everything I saw. Not to be legalistic here, but I think Facebook subtly forces people into a judgmental position (without even realizing it), as one scrolls down the news feed anticipating something in which they can be a part of, i.e. pictures and posts seen, as well as the prestigious accumulation of likes on pictures and posts, causing one to feel either superior or inferior.
But, hey, I survived. And I got to reconnect with some wonderful people – one who has recently upped herself in an airplane and flown off to a foreign country to be a missionary.
To share my testimony about going MIA, I decided to post Reactivate on my FB page, which I wrote two months prior to reactivation. I will say, I was amazed at the responsive feedback received! I truly appreciated each comment, whether or not I agree with some of the things said.
A topic brought into the comment feed was this idea that happiness is a choice one can choose over negative feelings. It was interesting to read what some people had to say. Can one simply choose to be happy during physical or emotional tribulations? Is it wrong to not feel happy all the time?
I personally don’t think humankind should be pressured to feel happy, or any kind of emotion for that matter, especially by those who claim to know what happiness is. Some of these speak phrases like “You should be happy,” and yet these people are rather critical, negative, and cynical. And then there are those who boast about what happiness is as it is defined through their personal successes and riches gained.
In midst of a facade of happiness and negative life complaints, of which in outer appearances we place our judgment, it’s no wonder there are so many confused people trying to sort out what’s truth and what’s distorted truth in the world.
In this century, it is taught all over the media (companies are banking because of this) that happiness can either be earned or bought, as if there’s some law behind it that must be followed. As far as I know, I don’t think I need to re-earn or buy what I already and naturally was born to have. That said, it’s quite obvious our flawed humanity has done well in distorting happiness in an already broken world.
I cannot honestly answer whether happiness is a choice, but I can say that I do not think it is a feeling that can be chosen over any other feeling (say, anger, sadness, fear, etc.). Biblically, Jesus struggled with anger, sadness, and even abandonment. Did He have the choice to be happy? Jesus felt what He felt, and He prayed for guidance to His Father because of how He felt.
To feel any kind of emotion is inevitable to human nature, and there is always a reason behind how a person may feel. If someone feels sadness after losing a loved one, I don’t think a normal person would walk up and say: “You shouldn’t cry. You have the choice to be happy.” Honestly, I don’t think anyone on earth has that right to say how one should or should not feel.
Let a person feel how he or she wants to feel – we were born into this. And to not acknowledge that, to force or “should” someone to feel other than the way that he or she feels, is to strip that person of his or her growing identity and individuality, having been formed into his or her present being through cultural, family, and religious beliefs and influences.
Every human being needs to be acknowledged and listened to – not judged behind “should” and “should not” comments. We are an incomplete and imperfect race, and it would be wise to pause the “all-knowing black and white” mind and, instead, first attempt to find a relation to another person with a willingness to understand the heart. Communicating this sense of compassion will bring a greater and two-fold blessing, which matters and benefits more than trying to choose the “right” emotion.
I find that the most pleasant (or “happiest” as others judging from the outside would be quick to say) people to be around are those who do not boast about happiness or speak so much about needing themselves and others to be happy. They exert honesty within themselves and with others, are quick to listen, and gain back as much as their hearts give. These people know Love.
Perhaps what I mean to finally convey is, I don’t believe the desire of every human heart is to be happy, of which we believe we must choose to feel, but we think it is, because we live in such a fast, pace, consumer-mind society; rather, I believe the desire of every human heart is to love and be loved in Love’s most honest, genuine, and authentic form. And we can choose to refocus our minds on that instead of setting ourselves up for failure by trying to find the “right” emotion.