We live in a very digital world. Thanks to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, and Pinterest, we no longer just have to keep up with the Joneses, we’re keeping up with everyone.
Most of the time, this is fantastic. Social media is an amazing tool–and 95 percent of the time, I am #teaminternet all the way–but there are days when it can leave feeling downright empty.
It really does seem like everyone is happy all the time. More than happy, it seems like they’ve got it together. They have a ton of fun with their amazing group of friends. They never feel lonely, or sleep in ugly pajamas, binge eat, or run low on money. Their happiness, togetherness, and adorable, stain free, pajamas are all over our various social media accounts and it can make you feel a complicated of blend of inadequacy, hopelessness, and guilt, especially if your current situation is not exactly picture perfect.
To make matters worse, the internet is chock full of ways to overcome these feelings. “10 Ways to be Happier NOW” or “How to Snap Out of a Bad Mood,” but do we really have to snap out of it? Is it normal to be happy all of the time?
I say no. If you’re feeling down, feel down. If you’re sad, cry. If you’re lonely, or angry, or broke, or bloated, or feeling anything other than #blessed, feel that. Experience that. Don’t feel guilty or assume there is something wrong with you for not having everything under control one hundred percent of the time. Those feelings are just as much a part of the human experience as happiness, meaning it’s more than OK to feel what you’re feeling.
For example, I have been feeling a bit blue. I fell a sleep listening to “This Love” by Taylor Swift on repeat and basically cried my eyes out. I know the feeling will pass, but for now, I’m feeling a little stuck. It kind of feels like I’m sitting at a very long red light, and I haven’t quite figured out which way I’m supposed to go when the light turns green.
I woke up this morning and tried to snap out of it but the harder I tried, the worse I felt. All I wanted to do was sulk in comfy clothes and so, I did. I watched Gilmore Girls, ate pizza, and took it easy. I didn’t drink a green smoothie, workout, or attempt to meditate myself into a better mood. Those steps will likely follow in the coming days, but what I needed today was what Lorelai Gilmore calls “a good wallow.” I wallowed, and I highly recommend it.
I think it’s important to let yourself feel what you’re feeling. This era of social media has created a world in which the pressure to be perfect–and as a result, constantly happy–is ubiquitous. It can stir up all kinds of self hatred as well as a jealousy for other people’s success and happiness that is just unhealthy. We need to remember that life doesn’t happen on feeds or walls, it’s happening right here, right now, and if your “right here” doesn’t look exactly the way you want it to just yet–or like someone else’s– that’s OK.
Tough times are part of life, so my only advice is don’t rush to feel better. Do not gloss over your emotions, just because they don’t fit the more socially accepted mold of happiness and perfection. Instead do something that makes you feel good. Think of it like this, if your friend was sad, what would you want for them? I would want my friend to take it easy and not be so hard on herself. I would tell her to order her favorite food, watch a movie, put on some fuzzy socks, and just chill. I wouldn’t rush her to snap out of it or want her to pretend she was ok if she wasn’t. This is how you should treat yourself.
Things to do when you’re feeling blue:
Bathe. Bubble baths and the blues are a match made in Heaven. Run the water, put on an Etta James playlist, and let your mind wander. It’s just the right blend of comfort and self indulgence that is perfect for when you’re feeling down.
Put off until tomorrow what can be done tomorrow. Instead do something just or you, like DANCE. Forget the things you have to do and take some time to focus on you. Relish in the somewhat childish pleasure that comes from completely neglecting your responsibilities (ie. ignoring the fact that you still have your Christmas decorations up a week from February) and d-a-n-c-e. Or bake a pie! Or watch movies all day! Whatever it is, forget everyone else. Do you.
Read this book. Nora Ephron had an incredible way of poking fun at everything. Reading her commentary on this crazy, complicated world has always been immensely comforting. “What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications.”- Nora Ephron
Sometimes we need permission to feel what we’re feeling, so I’m here to tell you it’s ok. Take a moment to let yourself guiltlessly, shamelessly mope. You don’t have to have it all together or be perfect all of the time. Happiness is only one of the emotions that we are meant to feel in this life, but there are many other feelings that arise that are important too. Sometimes the less popular emotions or life situations we find ourselves in help us sort though conflicts. Other times they help us make a decision or they motivate change. We can’t be scared of feeling down. Embrace it, wear it around for a while, explore, and understand that this too shall pass. Once you have the strength, try to figure out what causes these feelings, learn from them, and move on.
What do you do when you’re in a bad mood? Do you fight it or let yourself feel down? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter with the hashtag #MVH.