Most people try to spread happiness with a positive goal in mind. They hope that their smile will cause others to smile and therefore make them feel better. While I do not deny that such an effect is possible, I wonder if anyone ever thinks that their smile can actually make someone else feel worse.
In a recent post, I wrote about how May/ spring sees a spike in suicides. If you missed it, please feel free to check it out –> HERE <–. The simplified explanation to “Why are there more suicides in that time period?” is that those who are depressed cannot stand everyone else acting all happy and reborn, excited to start anew. It is not because they do not want others to be satisfied with their lives. It is because it reminds them of their own misery. It makes it that much clearer that their lives are worse than those of others.
I speak from experience when I say that other people’s happiness can be triggering. I have had people tell me: “You are not being yourself” before. I ask them: “What do you think I should act like to appear myself?”. Most of the time the answer is: “Well, I do not know, but…” Then I proceed to tell them that it is all a part of me. That shakes them up a bit.
We are all allowed to feel the way we feel. Sure, ideally, we should not be affecting others negatively, but if I stay away from you, do not force me to smile just so you can feel better.
Last week, a co-worker of mine came up to me asking who changed the smile into a frown. Supposedly it was dampening their mood. There are those magnets on the board in the common area, which are currently not being used. A person with a very bubbly personality decided to arrange them to form a smiley face. Even though I found it cheesy, I left it be. Admittedly, because random positivity does not always suit me, in the beginning, I was not happy about that display, however, I learned to live with it. It was not affecting me, because even if in a bad mood, I could just choose not to look at it. However, a couple of days ago, I caught another one of my co-workers changing the smiley face into a frowny one. That was how that person was feeling that day. Funnily enough, the upside down smile actually made me chuckle (a more positive reaction than to the smiley face!). The arrangement of the magnets was so well done. Plus, I thought it was really interesting that someone was able to express their negative feelings so openly. I thought it was frowned upon. (Pun intended.)
Over the next couple of days, I witnessed certain people whispering and forming plans about the faith of the frowny face. And one day someone changed it to a more neutral one. I know who did it, even though that person and their accomplices choose to act as if it was not them. It started out as a creative design and a “feel good” symbol, and turned into a power struggle. Office politics, I tell you.
I knew I wanted to write about the above but was not sure how.
“It will be one of my Hashtag Week posts” – I have finally decided.
And then came the perfect solution – I read that Burger King is introducing a play on McDonald’s Happy Meals. They decided to call them “Real Meals”, which I think is rather bad-ass. There is only one type of Happy Meals, while there will be FIVE Real Meals choices. There will be:
- Pissed Meal (mad)
- Blue Meal (sad)
- Salty Meal (bitter)
- YAAAS Meal (excited)
- and DGAF Meal (Don’t give a f**k).
It seems like the content will be the same for all of the above (full-seized Whopper, fries, and a shake). Unfortunately, there will be no toy inside, and so I am still figuring out if I am on board with “Real Meals”, or not. The packaging of the meal will be different (different colors and smileys).
These will only be available in Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, and Miami. If you live in any of those cities, feel free to sample it and let me know your thoughts. I am considering taking a trip to one of those cities…
I think it is a genius idea on BK’s part (Would you not feel like an impostor if you wanted a Happy Meal, but felt less than that?). Even though BK is a company looking to earn as much money as they can, I give them kudos for partnering with Mental Health America to raise awareness regarding mental health, especially during the month of May. Their slogan is: “Feel your way.”
It boggles my mind why being happy is acceptable and even encouraged, while feeling sad is fought. Do you not realize that what you are doing is pushing people towards isolation? If they cannot express their emotions freely, and if they are being shunned from feeling less than ideal, then it does not surprise me that such people get depressed, and try to harm themselves.
We are told to be on the lookout for warning signs when someone is struggling. We are encouraged to listen when other people need to vent. Telling someone to smile (or that their frown makes you feel bad) is like slapping on a band-aid on a wound they did not know they had. The band-aid is bound to fall off sooner or later. If we put a dressing on a wound and do not check up on it, it might fester, leading to necrosis and eventual amputation. It is difficult to live with the knowledge that you were not able to save someone, but living with the knowledge that you were the one who placed a gun in their hand is so much worse.
How do you REALLY feel today?
Are you ever guilty of not letting others feel the way they feel?
What do you think of Burger King’s idea?
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