The easiest emotion to fake is happiness. Think about it. Look at Instagram accounts. Scroll down Facebook feeds. Even check out stock images full of happy smiling couples in extraordinary places all around the world. Ever tried to find stock photos of a couple mad or sad or fighting? Well, let me tell you it’s not as easy as you would think. Everyone wants to be seen as happy. Everyone wants their lives to look picture perfect, so we put on our widest smile and pretend that our lives are the definition of perfection even when they are falling apart piece by piece.
But it’s not our fault we want this.
We are taught to be happy our whole lives.
Big girls don’t cry is taught in second grade when our teacher wants us to be quiet and stop crying over the cut we got on our knee. It’s only a little cut after all. The big girls wouldn’t cry over something so little and painless. They have bigger cuts to pretend not to feel.
Happy girls are pretty girls we realize in middle school. We are devastated over that boy from math class, the one all the girls are talking about with the huge blue eyes and sandy blonde hair, he picked Kenzy to hold hands with as they walk through the halls. And why did he pick her? She’s always happy and always surrounded by friends just as happy as she is.
It doesn’t matter how you feel, it only matters how you look. High school told us this one. Smiling through the pain is now second nature. You put on your make-up and the newest trend in skinny jeans. You forget about the fact that Katie had just informed you that Brett, your first, was caught at last night’s party making out with your best friend from fourth grade. You don’t care about either of them anymore after all. You look happy, therefore you are and two idiots from your past can’t affect you.
Never let them see you cry.
College drama showed us this over and over. Don’t let anyone see the tears he brought to your eyes. That’s weakness. He can’t have that much control over your emotions. You won’t let him because, after all, you don’t need a man in your life to be happy. You are happy with yourself. You are so happy with your life that he can’t bring you down. It doesn’t matter how many times he pretends you don’t matter to him either. You are both happy with or without each other, just look at your Instagram.
So you see, throughout our lives, we have been conditioned that we should be happy because life is beautiful. While that is very much true, life is sometimes terrible. Life can rip you apart one day and sew you right back up the next. It’s a rollercoaster, to say the least.
And now that social media is so big and influential in our day-to-day lives, we are seeing more and more people who look like they have their life in order and everything is just peachy for them. In reality they have been taught the same things that everyone else as been and they are showing the world that they are the happy person that is expected. But at the end of the day, they are laying in bed thinking ‘how come my life isn’t as perfect as hers’ as they scroll through someone else’s Instagram.
I understand people have a desire to deal with the good and forget the bad. I am all for that. But we can’t act like the bad doesn’t happen and we can’t keep pretending that life isn’t hard when it does get bad. We don’t have to make everything look picture perfect. We don’t have to be the picture perfect ray of sunshine all the time. Somedays it’s ok to admit that it’s raining.
Feature Image via Sophia Sinclair.