Why Wanting To Be Happy All The Time Actually Makes You Sad

Photo: Svitlana Sokolova / Shutterstock
smiling woman
Self

For most of my life I've been considered a pretty happy person.

Teachers commented on my positive energy, friends speculated that I could never be sad, and bullies told me to "stop being so f***ing peppy."

While I never disagreed that my attitude was more optimistic than the norm, I hated the pressure of feeling like I had to be happy all the time.

RELATED: If You Keep Up These 10 Habits, You Will Never Be Happy

Friends and family called me "a light," and would often tell me how much of a difference my good mood could have.

At my retail job in high school I was constantly brought up front to talk to the angry customers because my boss felt like if anybody could make them happy, it was me.

Having people see you as a positive person is awesome, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

But there's an unspoken pressure there — mainly created by myself — that I'm not allowed to be in a bad mood.

RELATED: 27 Make Yourself Happy Quotes That Remind You To Own Your Happiness

I felt that way for a really long time, and as a result I was constantly hiding my emotions for a fear that no one would like me if I wasn't happy.

It felt like I would disappoint everyone if I couldn't cheer them up or bring up the mood with my positive attitude.

Thankfully, my days of people-pleasing are mostly behind me, but I feel like the pressure of happiness is still something everyone struggles with daily.

We have vision boards and goal lists and dream bodies.

We read self-help books about "creating the life you want" and articles like "10 Ways To Be Truly Happy So You Can Stop Being Such A Miserable Cow."

We're mapping out our futures while completely ignoring our present. All in the name of happiness.

Well the girl who was once dubbed "an annoying ray of sunshine" is here to deliver some good news: you don't have to be happy.

RELATED: 10 Simple Ways To Feel Happier, Even On Your Worst Days

Seriously, the neverending search for happiness is something that could drive you mad.

You don't need to look for it and you also don't need it.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Hey You! Want more of YourTango's best articles, seriously addictive horoscopes and top expert advice? Sign up to get our free daily newsletter!

Despite what the internet has to tell you, happiness isn't something you can create. You don't pull it from a recipe book or follow a six-week program.

A lot of people (present company included) put their goals and dreams on hold in an effort to be happy first and live later.

But happiness isn't a destination. There's no roadmap or welcome center with spotless bathrooms.

Happiness is a feeling. And like all feelings, it's temporary.

And when you do reach it, don't worry about letting it go. Nothing lasts forever and you'll only drain yourself trying to keep it.

So stop trying to be happy, and just live.

RELATED: Why You Need To Stop Looking For Happiness In Others

Emily Blackwood is a writer who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships, and everything in between. Follow her on Twitter.