When the World Says You Should Be Happy

By Jo MatthewsJuly 17, 2017

My left ring finger has a beautiful gold band hugging it with a stunning diamond popping out the top. My wedding dress that is too beautiful for words is hanging in my room. My fiance is working hard for our future life together, all the while loving me so well. I have a roof over my head and food in my belly. I graduated college. I’ve traveled. I have a family that loves me. The sun is shining. The birds are chirping.

But I’m not OK.

When the world says you should be happy, it doesn’t always mean you will be. When the perfect person comes along, it doesn’t mean your struggles run away. When a beautiful ring falls on your finger, it doesn’t mean you feel complete everyday. When you accomplish something, it doesn’t mean other uphill battles have ended.

Just because the world says you should be happy, it doesn’t mean you will be.

I recently heard someone say the words, “It’s okay to say ‘I’m not all good without saying everything is all bad.’”

I’m in the middle of a time in my life that so many people dream of. So many people would wish for even a single piece of. And before I entered this point in my life, I expected to walk under a banner that read “Welcome to Happiness” in bold and glittering letters.

Don’t get me wrong, my life is not all bad. It has so much good in it. But I’m not OK right now. Most days I feel hurt, I feel scared, and I feel anxious. Most days I have a hard time getting out of bed and looking at myself in the mirror. I’m bombarded with the heavy labels of depression, anxiety, OCD, and mood disorder. I’m overwhelmed with the thoughts and fears that nobody cares and that nobody understands. I’m battling those lies even when life is screaming, “You should be happy!”

If today you’re looking at your life and hearing the world tell you that you should be happy, but you’re not truly feeling that happiness on the inside—I want to tell you that it’s OK. That you are not alone. And that most importantly—you don’t need to do this journey on your own.

About a month ago, amidst a time of feeling alone, I realized that I do have people in my corner. Many are currently living miles away, or even in another country—but they are still my people. The moment I realized this simple truth, it was as though an all-consuming shroud of darkness had been lifted. I could finally see the community of love that surrounded me, and I decided to speak up. I began to reach out and say, “I am not OK.”

When life appears to be going all right on the outside, but inside it’s not—I get that. Please know that we are with you. We’re all with you. We all have a story and each one is important. We all have a struggle and each one is worth fighting for. We need to remind one another that it’s OK to not be OK. We need each other to have hands to hold, shoulders to cry on, hugs to embrace, ears to listen, mouths to speak truth, eyes to cry with, and hearts that care.

My suggestion to you?

Remember the good—hold onto it and let it be a symbol of hope in your life. But don’t be alone in the hard stuff. You deserve to have your people alongside you, fighting these battles with you—big or small.

We need people to help us carry the heavy and enjoy the light.

We need people to hold onto during the losses and to celebrate the wins.

We can make it through. We will make it through.


Leave a Reply

Comments (8)

  1. Moriah

    I love this. I graduated from college with a degree and honors about two months ago.
    “You should be proud of yourself. You graduated in three years.”
    “This is your happy day.”
    “Celebrate- you made it!!”

    Thank you for the reminder that I don’t need to push myself to feel happy when the clouds of depression are too heavy. That it’s okay when other people feel pride and happiness for me. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  2. Rea Wilson

    Jo it’s a inspiring message . Thanks for your bravery in sharing and helping us all to know it’s okay to not be okay at times.

    Reply  |  
  3. Dianne Hiscox

    Thank you for sharing your story. You have helped me more than you’ll ever know. I will pray for you. big hugs to you!!!

    Reply  |  
  4. Jennie L Wilson Fisher

    Thank you Jo for your openness to share the truth! Praying for you!

    Reply  |  
  5. zed

    read this at the perfect time. thank you. i hadn’t realised how much i needed these words. i’m grateful for this and for you, jo.

    Reply  |  
  6. Leonie Janssen

    I’ve asked myself many times why I didn’t feel lucky/happy even if I had everything I wished for! I just could not find myself lucky/happy. And that gave so many doubts. Why didn’t I feel happy? Why am I sad? What happened why I do feel this way? Most of the time I was blaming things that were happened. Still don’t know if that’s the correct answer. Maybe I don’t want to know.

    Beautiful written and very recognizing!

    Reply  |  
  7. Emily

    As a person who has recently started struggling with anxiety, your right. everything is fine and dandy on the outside, wonderful boyfriend, roof over my head, promise ring, an so much more I would have never had without him. But… On the inside I am not happy, and its not because I don’t love him, its because of my anxiety.. The outside is wonderful, but the inside is empty. we can make it through. I recently started taking medication, and today is the day where I am consumed by my thoughts. It will all be alright though, because I know that people are in my corner.

    Reply  |  
  8. Nora

    Thank you

    Reply  |  
Get Email Updates

Sign up for our newsletter to hear updates from our team and how you can help share the message of hope and help.