Where does the pressure to be happy come from? Probably in part from our society. We are so sensitive to depression that we jump on pills, cures, happy lights, vitamin D, anything to not feel down. Why our society is that way, I really don't know. My mom felt the pressure too and was always very critical of herself for any and all of her "negative thoughts and feelings."
Closer to home is the pressure I get from my husband, who doesn't like it when I'm not happy. First he tries to jolly me out of it, joking or offering absurd solutions. Then he might make a few reasonable suggestions, something to fix whatever is making me tired, sad, worried, pissy, etc. If I don't respond, don't follow his suggested cures, don't snap out of it, he starts to develop an irritation which can lead to resentment and sometimes nasty arguments between us.
Earlier this evening, sensing I was a bit down, he asked if I was excited about a quilting class I'm taking on Saturday. He wanted me to respond with an enthusiastic, "Yes!" Bless him, he just wants me to be happy; to fix it when I'm not.
What I want is to have it be OK with me and OK with him when I'm not happy. I want us both to acknowledge and accept that fear, boredom, weariness, sadness, worry and even anger (the one my husband dislikes the most) need not be ignored, cancelled (fixed) or covered over.
A critical part of me, reading what I just wrote, thinks I'm just asking for license to be crazy*, that I SHOULD ALWAYS at least TRY to be happy, to look at the positive side of everything, glass half full, find the silver lining. A more accepting part of me is saying I've been there, done that, at the expense of pretense and a fractured sense of being.
Sometimes, inspired by Mary Oliver's poem, The Wild Geese, I write the following in my journal: I do not have to be perfect, I do not have to be thin, I do not have to be happy, I do not have to be intelligent, I do not have to be good. It always calms me to write these words, takes the pressure off, makes it OK to be human, to have weaknesses.
*See? Here I am equating not happy with crazy!