Society shunning sadness

We Americans are obsessed with the idea that everyone should be happy all the time. We and our leaders have been sucked into a competition to have the highest national index of happiness. There was a time when someone could be sad and that was okay. However, “sad” has become a dirty word lately, and it is generally unacceptable to not have a smile on your face. There is something wrong with a nation where cause and effect are one and the same; being upset should not be enough to make someone even more sad.

We are very selfish as a society because we experience discomfort witnessing other peoples’ pain. We take it upon ourselves to try and make them feel better, not because it is good for them, but because it makes us feel less awkward. We have been conditioned in our generation to combat anything that we don’t like, because if it doesn’t make you happy, then it is wrong and must be fixed; at least, that is what any American News outlet in the past 20 years has told me. If there is a larger piece of BS in this world, I don’t know it.

Perhaps, if we would just let things alone and allow sorrow to take its course, problems might start being resolved again. In many cases, when confronted with questions of what is wrong by someone they don’t yet trust, the afflicted will try to pretend that everything is alright. Each time they are forced to act like nothing is wrong, they die a little more on the inside. If they are ready to talk about it, they will; if not, they will find an outlet on their own schedule. Pressing the matter does not help the situation.

Now, when people have a bad day and just want to be left alone, they are bombarded with advertisements for anti-depressants, causing those with normal feelings of a bad day to feel even worse. The sad person is always portrayed as an outcast, and it leads to the conclusion that if you aren’t super sunny all the time, you are doing something wrong. This does nothing but reinforce feelings of inadequacy. It is terrible how people are preyed upon through advertising by companies supposedly there to help. We need to start dealing with our problems instead of going to the quick fixes. In college, many of our peers self-medicate with alcohol, and I am confident that the majority of people would agree that drinking is not a solution. So, why are we so quick to try other chemical answers, barring neurological conditions? The underlying problems will still be there when—excuse me, if—they (ever) get off medication. We need our instant gratification, and it is sickening.

Some percentage of our population will inevitably be upset about something or other, but we need to accept it. There is a saying that without the low points in our lives, we can never truly appreciate the highs. If we were happy all the time, I believe that we would quickly settle into a kind of relative malaise. Life would be so very boring, there would be no drama. For all that we strive to avoid drama in our lives, if there wasn’t any, we would be lying to say we didn’t miss it at least a little. If we were all content, then there would be roughly zero motivation to improve the surrounding world.

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