Sometimes I just want to be miserable.
And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.
I consider myself a relatively upbeat and optimistic person (although I think some people mistake my morbid curiosity for pessimism). However, there are sometimes hours and days at a time when I’m just in a bit of a low or bad mood. Sometimes I know what the cause is and sometimes I can’t put my finger on it. I know that people are well intentioned when they tell me to “cheer up” or try to cheer me up. It’s lovely and I do appreciate it. I really do. But sometimes I think that trying to force a positive or good mood is the wrong thing to do.
I think that sometimes you just have to let yourself feel a little bit down and that trying to rid yourself of the feeling is not that healthy*. We’re human beings and, as such, characterised by our emotions and our moods. I am always suspicious of someone who always seems cheery. Surely that can’t be right! I worry that perhaps they feel that they can’t be seen to be a bit sad or angry or upset and I wonder where all those feelings go when they seem to have no obvious outlet.
I have one family member who is constantly cheery…and I mean constantly. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen this person in a bad or low mood…and I’ve know this person for many, many years. I feel awful saying it, but I sometimes find myself getting irritated when this person tries to cheer me up. Like there is something inherently wrong with feeling a bit down. Sometimes these efforts to cheer me are great, they work and I feel a whole lot better, but a lot of the time I’d like this person to just listen. Just to agree that “yeah, things suck a bit right now” or just let me express my sadness or frustration or whatever it is. I’d wish they’d stop trying to change it.
I end up feeling bad about feeling bad! Particularly if the person points out that “there are so many great things in your life” or “there’s so much to look forward” or how lucky I am. I end up feeling judged. Like it’s not okay for me to be miserable today because I am privileged. It almost feels like my feelings are being invalidated. I don’t think that’s fair. I think my being grateful for the good things in my life (which I am, extremely grateful) can co-exist with just being a little bit beaten down by the world now and then.
I’m not suggesting you let yourself wallow in low moods or allow yourself to get sucked into spirals of self pity. I’m not giving you permission to be mean or rude or unkind to others when you’re in a bad mood. I just think that there is some sense in feeling the emotion and letting it pass through you. I am merely advocating for just letting it be. Sitting with it for a little bit. Just let it ‘have it’s say’. Let it be heard. You don’t try to rid yourself of a good mood when you’re in one, so why do we try so hard to rid ourselves of a bad mood?
*If you’re struggling with persistent low mood, please seek professional help. There’s no shame in reaching out for support if you need it.