So I have this app on my iTouch (I know, I’m so hipster) that gives these little positive affirmations. Most of them are bullshit (“I am financially free”) but some of them can seem useful.
One of the ones I saw while flipping through them was, “I deserve to be happy.” Just having done a minirant on my problems with being happy in my morning pages the other day, I though it would be interesting to explore this idea.
First off, let’s do some defining, so we know exactly what’s going down.
“Happy” is the feeling of joy, glee, fun, and/or overall contentment that we get when life is good – or, at least, when we’re focusing on the good in life. When you just can’t help but sit there and smile, that’s being happy.
“Deserve” means that you are in a position to warrant something happening to you or something being given to you.
So, “I deserve to be happy” means “I am in a position to warrant that good, smiley, glowy feeling.”
Now, I’ve been getting that feeling a lot over the past month or so, which may be interesting in itself since within that time I’ve totally changed a good deal of the way I think about what I want from life and have broken up with my boyfriend.
I figure there’s two specific things that have been contributing to my recent frequent happiness.
One is my newfound feeling of freedom. I am 18. I am going to college in late July. I have always been an independent person, and now I no longer have a boyfriend “holding me back” or “tying me down”. It’s almost like this: Pop punk called, they wanted their teen angst back – and I gave it to ’em.
The second almost totally contradicts the first, but here it is anyway. There’s another guy that I’m totally mad for. This often seems like more of a problem than a benefit, because A) he lives 300 goddamn miles away and B) I’d like a lot more from him than he’s willing to give. He wants to be friends, which we are, and fuck me when he gets the chance, which he will. I’m fine with that. I guess sometimes I’d like to give and receive a little more than friendship, though. Regardless, talking to him is always enjoyable and often puts me in a state of emotional contentment, a.k.a., happiness.
Now, let’s tackle this notion of deserving happiness.
Some people (like Tommy Jefferson) are of the notion that all people deserve to be happy, because, “fuck you, we’re humans and that makes us awesome.” As nice a concept as that is, I’m not buying it. I don’t see what having a certain DNA structure has to do with being in a position to warrant happiness. No, I think meriting happiness is something independent of birth circumstances. (Might have some correlation with me being pro-choice, but that’s a whole other can of worms.) So, do I deserve happiness? And if so, why?
I think the sources of happiness tend to make a difference. I’ll ask myself this:
Do I merit deriving pleasure from my feelings of independence?
I’ve had it pretty much drilled into my head since I was a kid that if independence isn’t a totally great thing, it’s at the very least nothing to be ashamed of. This is probably because my gram, a very independent (and inspirational) woman herself, had quite a large hand in raising me; and my mother, a former Marine, is no subservient sheep either.
Couple that with all the positive feedback I’ve received about having my own mind and all the songs I’ve been fed about independent women (mostly a la Green Day), and I’ve pretty much been conditioned to derive pleasure from feeling, if not being, independent.
Do I merit deriving pleasure from looking forward to my future?
Looking forward to my future is a direct result of how much I kick ass academically, so I figure I definitely merit happiness from working hard to be awesome. (Even if the desire to do so does come naturally.)
Do I merit deriving pleasure from the company of a man?
Well, I did make the effort to put myself in the position to be able to do so. (There’s a dirty joke in there somewhere.) And, while the things I did in order to do so may seem simple, for me they were rather difficult because I’m fairly antisocial and kind of shit at knowing how to express my emotions and so on. So that was a push, and from that push, I am receiving the benefits.
So, do I deserve to be happy?
Way I figure it? Hell yeah, I do.