Because you don’t want to be happy, it’ll cost you too much to be happy.

Perhaps I should unpack that before you hit the X. Happiness cost something, and I’m not talking getting your shit together and having to go for a run everyday, meditation, eating well and all that (it costs that too, make no mistake), but there is a much higher cost.

The problem with freedom.

would you give up your identity to be happy?
Stowage of the British slave ship Brookes under the regulated slave trade act of 1788.

When you free someone from something, let’s say being a slave all there life to a wicked master. More often than not, they go back. You see, “there was a conscious effort by the slave owners to remove the identity of the slaves. Often they went on board a slave ship naked, with no belongings from their previous life”. We see this all the time in today’s relationships, people keep going back to abusive relationships, they chose the same emotionally abusive person they grew up with to marry. People chose the same crappy jobs.

They keep on going back to slavery.

Why?

Slavery is a safe place, you know your place. You know what do to as a slave to survive. It’s too scary to leave, because you know how to handle the abuse.

Why it is so hard to be happy again?

Because the suffering is familiar, and you know how to handle an episode, an anxiety attack, suicidal thoughts. I mean, you are that guy! You can handle this!

And there is the second problem.

Being the guy that can handle being depressed, that has survived suicide attempts, that is the sad artist/philosopher/intellectual type. Who wants to be the positive, sunshine and daisies intellectual anyway?

‘Slave’ becomes and identity, a safe haven. Not being  happy, being sad or depressed also becomes and identity. Identities are difficult to change, because they come with benefits.

Being happy, content, fulfilled, is about giving up your identity.

What possible benefits could being miserable have, I hear you say. Well, quite a few to be honest, here is a few of mine.

I don’t need to make extra effort at a dinner party.

I can get away with no working too hard.

I can be more rude to people than the rest of you can.

I can throw a tantrum.

I get sympathy.

I’m allowed time-outs.

as with slavery, I don’t need to think for myself, there is always food (however little) and a place to sleep, I know how to treat whipping wounds, and so on. I realise this is a gross simplification of a complex problem, but I hope you catch my drift.

A brave new world, a new identity

In order to become truly happy, content, fulfilled, and satisfied with your life. You have to give up your old self, and replace that with a new one. That is the key here, you cannot move forward with out some place to go to. You cannot escape slavery without support, a destination.

I found, and keep on finding, my identity in my spirituality, my obsession with training, creating art, writing, and a few other positives, that I chose. Nobody will chose them for you, so my suggestion would be to be very intentional about designing a new identity, otherwise one just tends to revert to the old.

You need support from friends, and family to help you get over your (old) self. To  help you remember or discover what you are about, the good stuff. To point you back to your tradition, that holds so many valuable gifts with regards to identity, I guarantee it.

Your turn.

Be honest now, what are the benefits you get from being ‘that’ (emo?) girl?

What purpose does your depressed self serve?

Post below.

header image courtesy of Shutterstock