This month, Philip reflects on the pressures society can put on us to feel up all the time, and the potential benefits in embracing the roller coaster without judgement, rather than always pushing ourselves to feel differently.
Yesterday I was reminded yet again how much pressure is put on people to expect to feel ‘up’ all the time and that, if they feel ‘down’ for some reason, there’s something wrong with them.
Someone I was talking to had had it suggested to them they see a doctor because they weren’t feeling too good. Of course a doctor would have probably prescribed anti-depressants to “even out’ their mood.
It seems to me that we live these days in a strangely anomalous world, which is most obvious when you watch TV. Advertisers try to sell us happiness, while the news tells us how bad everything is. Sitcoms and comedies try to make us laugh and crime series show us a side of human nature you could hardly imagine existed (and probably only did in the writers’ minds until it ends up on TV).
Meanwhile, the expectation is to consistently feel okay about living in the world.
I spent half my 20s wondering what the point of everything was. I spent my 30s learning to get used to the fact that sometimes I’d feel great and sometimes I’d feel like shit.
In my 40s I’m enjoying the roller-coaster and learning to use the up and down moments to best effect. Primarily when I’m up I benefit from extroversion and when down I seek solace in introversion.
Of course there are situations where this balance is affected and intervention is needed. But generally I think, embracing the ups and downs without judgement on self or others needs to become far more commonplace.
In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate TED talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.
This blog was originally posted on www.philippatston.com. It has been re-posted on DPSN with permission.