Writer: Jihan Osama
In this world, we’re expected to smile much of the time. Put on a fake mask of endless optimism and pretend everything is okay even when it’s not. We’re expected to laugh and respond with “Fine” to every “How are you?”.
We’re expected to never complain or open up about our daily struggles. We’re expected to go through life like robots, never shedding a tear. Otherwise, we’re labeled as “toxic”, “negative”, and even “draining”.
Normal human emotions like anger or sadness are devalued. We’re encouraged to suppress and simply “get over” any struggle we are faced with in life. We live in a world where people are devoid of the capacity to listen and process the normal emotions of others. People consider anyone who’s not smiling all the time intolerable, a drama queen.
This lack of tolerance to normal human emotions is harmful to each and every one of us. When we’re not allowed to talk about our emotions, we shame and suppress them, causing further pain and agony. We let the pain accumulate till we become a ticking time bomb.
Though people consider discussing or expressing emotions other than happiness negative, it is truly not. It’s healthy and even positive to admit that we feel a certain emotion even if it’s a painful one. It’s healthy to share, vent, and complain. What is not healthy is to live our lives like puppets that comply with whatever others expect of us.
We have to understand that it’s okay not to be okay. We have to understand that we don’t have to be happy all the time. We have to open our hearts up to those who suffer chronic conditions like anxiety and depression, who are held back from living without constant sadness and worry, who feel like aliens in a world that does not tolerate such emotions.
We have to start labeling our emotions and talking about them to people who we trust without fear of feeling like we’re too much to handle. We have to learn to tolerate it when someone is not feeling so well. We have to learn to process it when someone says they’re struggling or feeling sad. That is how we integrate. That is how we become healthier, more compassionate, and freer.