Wednesday, May 1, 2013

True Happiness

I read a poem today by a young woman who sounded very troubled. Her entire poem was a description of her thoughts while staring at herself in the mirror. She describes herself demanding her own image to become thinner, calling it ugly and disgusting, and she ends the poem with the sentence: I know I will never be happy.

And she's right. If nothing changes, she never will be.

Because this young woman is looking for happiness in all the wrong places, she will never attain it. Because she sees that her own self-worth is inexplicably connected to her appearance and not her personality or love, she will never discover what it is to be happy.

And that is a sad, sad thing. No one should face a life without happiness. That isn't living; that's waiting to die.

I have long believed that happiness was something you could create, if you really wanted to. That it lay inside yourself, and wasn't something external or tangible. That was one of the most important lessons my mother ever taught me.

But the media and marketing professionals say otherwise. They say happiness comes from eating junk, driving nice cars, living in expensive houses, and being beautiful/dating beautiful people. They say you have to live like a millionaire and look like a supermodel to be happy.

And so many people, especially young people, believe these lies. I have a friend I know who hardly eats anything at all. Her doctor told her that if she doesn't start eating more, he'll be calling the police to report her for attempted suicide, her nutrition is so bad.

But she refuses to take his warnings. She tells all of us that she likes the way she is now, and she'll start eating again when she loses 40 more pounds. 40 more pounds! Now, she isn't stick skinny, by the world's standards, but the girl barely has any meat on her bones as it is. If she lost 40 pounds, she'd be nothing but bones!

It isn't the fact that she isn't stick skinny that is this girl's problem. It isn't the fact that she doesn't have tons of money. This girl's problem is that she has tied her sense of self-worth to someone else's ideal. She thinks she isn't good enough as she is; she must lose weight by any means necessary.

She must be beautiful to be happy.

I wish I could explain to the world that this simply isn't true. I wish I could get a message out there that to be happy is to LIVE happy. You think happy thoughts, you do fun things, and you enjoy your life, no matter the problems or flaws. If you believe you're happy, even if you're lying at first, you WILL BE. Losing 40 pounds doesn't make you happy. Getting rid of acne doesn't make you happy. Looking great in a swimsuit doesn't make you happy. Dwelling on the positive, good things in life makes you happy! Treating the negative, bad things as aberrations in a wonderful world makes you happy!

I challenge anyone out there who is reading this: walk up to the most beautiful person you know and ask them if they are happy with their life. Ask them if they are happy with their body/face. Ask them if beauty has brought them pleasure or pain.

If they are honest, nine times out of ten you'll get a no, no, and more pain than pleasure. Because beauty can be just as much a curse as a blessing. Think on any famous, beautiful person in history. Cleopatra didn't live happily ever after with her love; they both killed themselves in a cave while an army hunted for their heads. Marilyn Monroe didn't live happily ever after; she committed suicide. And how many celebrity marriages (between some of the most beautiful people in the world) have you seen end in divorce, scandal, and misery? How many have you seen NOT?

And yet people still don't believe. That someone who is poor and ugly can be a million times happier than a beautiful, rich person is beyond imagining. It goes against the laws of the media, and god forbid we do that.

I know. It's easy to say these things, but far more difficult to convince our emotional brains that it's true. I suffer from thoughts of self-hatred and I watch the same media as the rest. I'm brainwashed, too.

But is that just the way it has to be? Is that the future we condemn our next generation to? Is that what we want the human race to be guided by for the next 100 years?

I'm sorry, but this poem disturbed me greatly. And I believe it should disturb all of us. This is what people think today. This is an affliction that millions suffer from. If something doesn't change, we're looking at a future of miserable human beings who don't even know what it means to LIVE.

Daily Stats:

  1. Exercised, stretched, meditated, and worked on my writing twice today.
  2. Wrote in my journal, stayed on budget, and wrote poem today.
  3. Posted on my blog.
  4. Made my bed, organized my desk, and did some laundry.
  5. Stuck to my diet.
  6. Made a smoothie for breakfast, cooked lunch, and fixed dinner.
  7. Drew.

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