Happiness Is Toxic

We’ve all probably come across one of those mega-inspirational videos while we’re scrolling through our Instagram feed at 2 in the morning, with it telling us to wake up early, get on the “grind” and have a “warrior mindset that never backs down”. All of this happens when we’re sitting under the covers and munching on some sort of a snack with crumbs all over our clothes and we experience this sudden desire to get our life back on track, which gets completely negated in the next 5 minutes after we see another video of Office bloopers. Why is it really like this?

We have all been part of that frantic chase of being the best: Getting good marks, having a healthy amount of extra-curriculars to prove we’re not mentally dumb, and have to play one sport or the other because well, if we’re doing all of these things already, why not add another one to the fray anyway. And all of this happens in school itself? Respectfully, what the hell?

We are required to do all of the things that literally constitute the Rat Race at a time in our lives when we literally cannot wake up on time for anything. A major reason for this has been social media, since it has allowed the propagation of all these “inspirational” videos onto Youtube or Instagram, where you see gym harpies and Instagram millionaires preaching and sermonizing about waking up everyday with the “warrior mindset” where they are always ready to “seize the day.”

All of this talk of being on the top of your game is complete and utter bullshit, because of the fact that Social Media’s entire model is based upon gaslighting those who are doing the best for themselves and want other people to know. Social Media is literally a place where you will always want to be your best version, regardless of whether you woke up today with a hangover and bloodshot eyes, or woke up today with a complete miserable feeling for your job.

You will also see all of these people preaching on how “To be happy” is the biggest thing one can do for themselves, and have technically shoved something I like to call the “Happiness Narrative” down our throats since who really doesn’t want to be happy? The irony is, every day the emphasis on being happy keeps on increasing, and has grown so much during the past that we’re all now forced and stressed to be happy? How the hell can you be stressed for being happy? Imagine someone come up to you and shot in your ears “be happy fam!” You for sure won’t be and probably go on to smack that person back.

Nobody likes being reminded that they should be happy when they’re downright miserable. Plus, nobody wants to see people 10 years younger than them earning their annual salary in a month and for them to be hailed as an innovator or a pioneer, at an age when you were worrying about your test results in high school. All of this, the Happiness Narrative is extremely, inherently toxic. Not everyone can wake up everyday at 5 A.M. and go for a run, have breakfast with their family and go on to manage their multibillion-dollar businesses. There are people who have to wake up at 5 A.M. to pull in extra shifts so they can afford rent, or it’s a high school student who’s suffering from depression because they can’t cope up with the stress of their studies.

We have to stop putting so much emphasis on being happy, or being successful at the time we’re supposed to be at college and really discover ourselves. Every person is different, and so we have to respect their level of growth over the past few years, irrespective of how slow their progress was. A step in the right direction will always be termed as progress, no matter how many days, weeks or months it took for someone to do that since it’s a gutsy step on their behalf to unlearn the toxic and negative traits they earlier possessed, and work upon them to become a better version of themselves.

The other thing this particular narrative ignores is that fact that across people, everyone’s life does not have the same ROI. By ROI, I mean the things they want out of their life. Some might want to earn good money and have the financial freedom to spend it in ways that they want, some might want to move out of their house since they don’t have a good relationship with their parents, or they might want to start a family. The fulfilment of their life’s purpose will ultimately lead them towards happiness, and then there shall be no need for them to feel unworthy or sad.

The ROI of everyone’s life is different; some may measure that in terms of money, some may measure that in terms of admiration and some might measure it in terms of the freedom they have to do anything they want to. And for them to get this ROI, they should be able to take all the time they need, since the progression towards personal goals remains progress, regardless of all the time they’ve taken.

Ultimately, it’s always about achieving about what you want in your life. Nothing more, nothing less. And the Happiness Narrative has fast tracked that approach into a hyper active “warrior mentality” fuelled chase for being successful by having too much money in the bank and having people respect you on the basis of the amount of money you earned, and at the rate you generated it. The slow and patient approach has been neglected and disregarded entirely, since everyone has to get rich fast to make a place for themselves since the competition is intensely scrutinizing and overwhelming.

In the end, it’s all a matter about telling your story the way you want it to. No one should come in between of your narrative, and dictate what’s right or wrong. Fast and Hectic wins the race, and so does the Slow and Steady. But the winners from Fast and Hectic will always regarded more than the Slow and Steady winners, since they were the ones who came first. But it’s not always about being first, sometimes it’s just being on the right path with the passion and drive that you need to make it, regardless of whether you’re 25 or 40. It doesn’t matter if you’re winning by an inch or winning by a mile, winning is winning.

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