Can I Think Myself Happy?

Photo by Binti Malu from Pexels

I’ve been told that I need to think more positively, and it will change my life. You can’t hear it, but I just let out a scoffing laugh. Ha! Thanks for the helpful suggestion. I put it right next to all the other helpful advice. Like, let’s see here, drilling a hole in my head to let out the demons. Mm, I honestly don’t know if that’s sarcasm or bitterness. 

Perhaps a touch of both?

To be fair, it’s not the worst advice anyone has given me, but I’m not sure how practical it is. My default assumption is that life sucks, it will always suck, and there’s no changing that. If something can go wrong, it will. Whenever I say that I’m lucky like that? I’m being sarcastic, ironic, and the bitterness is creeping back in.

Simply put, I’m one lottery ticket away from buying my own bug-out bunker.

Except, I don’t gamble. It’s too risky, and with my astronomically bad luck… See, I didn’t it again. I can’t help myself. If there’s a negative spin to be spun? I’m going to weave it into a blanket and hide under it. Maybe I can use it to fend off the mosquitos. Those bloody things carry all sorts of diseases and don’t tell me I can’t get malaria in Canada.

Those daydreams, stargazers, and all the other hopeful people are wondrous creatures. The inspirational people tell us that anything’s possible and they believe that it sounds whimsical. But think this through, my friend. Anything’s possible? Like, alien invasions and time travelling vampires. Death by chocolate, literally. A thousand paper cuts. It’s a 60-40 crapshoot, and it’s not leaning towards the side of positivity.

Should I get a job making inspirational posters? It’ll probably work out…or not. Worth a try…Maybe. No, I really shouldn’t create posters.

I read a poster that said, we are what think we think we are. My initial response was, cool. I think I’m a cheetah, and I think I’m running across the Serengeti like the magnificent beast that I am. Wait, why didn’t it work? Just imagine my disappointment.

Okay, that’s not how it works. It’s an emotional booster, right? Manifest your mood by focusing your energy on gratitude, happiness, and love because those things are contagious. If you want this to be a good day? Believe that it will be a good day. Have faith!

I try, I really do, but it’s so hard. I suppress my urge to gag, swallow my scoffing laugh, and return my rolled eyes to their upright position. Thank you for your advice. I know it comes from a place of kindness and a genuine desire to help. I sincerely appreciate it.

But come on, seriously? Think happy thoughts. Is that the best you’ve got? Well, why didn’t you tell me that sooner? My depression could’ve been cured years ago. The secret to a happy life is to think happy thoughts and decide that today will be a good day. Oh. My. God, I’m healed!

In case it wasn’t clear? That was drowning in sarcasm. I should dial it back a bit. It’s a bit much, yeah? Think happy thoughts. The palm of my hand just slapped my forehead.

But wouldn’t it be nice if it was that easy? 

It’s going to be a good day today. I’m closing my eyes tightly and wishing on a whose-it that brings lovely whats-it’s. Is there anything else I can do to manifest this burst of positive energy? Hopping up and down isn’t really good for my gimpy knees, but I’ll try it once. Hop on one leg, spin counterclockwise four times, and spit into an easterly breeze.

Or, is that north? I always get the two mixed up.

Today— Nah, the next seven days— will be wonderful, brilliant and more than halfway decent. Please, oh please, don’t let this effort go to waste. Don’t tell me I risked irreparable joint damage for nought. I have spoken, and I have bounced awkwardly and somewhat painfully. That has to mean that these words will reach the cosmic department in charge of good days, weeks, and if I’m being greedy, months.

Is that what it comes down to? Luck be a lady, or so the song goes. When the cards come through on a backdoor flush? You get to reap the rewards of a stellar hand and a last-minute kiss from a fortuitous vixen. When you’re dealt an off-suit hand? Well, that’s just the fickle nature of a high-stakes game. 

Look at me, sounding like I actually play poker. I don’t, but I have! It was fun, I think. I enjoyed it, mostly. The problem is, I have the attention span of a toddler who found Grandma’s secret stash of chewy caramel. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell me what’s what I can’t keep the cards straight. What does the three-leaf clover mean? Shouldn’t it have four leaves if it’s lucky? Oo, I like the red cards. Red is my favourite colour.

Yeah, I’m the rube that asks if this is a good hand every deal.

On the other hand, my look of bewilderment seems to be a decent bluffing strategy. Every time I said, I don’t know what I’m doing, people folded and I won the pot. Am I good at poker? Accidentally, sure, but it’s nice to be good at something for a change.

Oh, here’s a thought! Do you think I can bluff my way into a good day? Fake it till you make it or sprain a muscle trying. The thing is, the department of good days isn’t taking my calls. Maybe they don’t exist. Is that why I can’t get through? Bummer. But I’ve spun, spat, and skittered. I did all the things, and it’s not really working.

I thought that I could make a proclamation, and my determination would dictate the kind of day I have. If I say the words with as much enthusiasm as humanly possible? Can I manifest the joy in my own existence? I assure you, I’ve tapped into my zeal reserves, but I still feel the same.

Today isn’t a bad day, and nothing dreadful has happened. It isn’t wonderful, amazing, or OMG hashtag blessed. It’s just a blah, average, ho-hum kind of day, and that’s not an awful thing! Not all days can be filled with superlatives. I was just hoping for a little more of, um, something oomph-ee.

Do you know what I mean? 

I’m stuck in the same routine that I’ve been in for over a year now. Is it that long? I still can’t get over the fact that this situation— I don’t want to use the words because arg— has been going on for 365+ days. That’s blowing my noggin into tiny balls of goo. A year? Damn.

Every day has become more of the same, and it’s kinda dull. 

But now I feel like a spoiled brat because I’ve been fortunate. I have a home that keeps me safe from the perils of this viral invasion. There’s food in my fridge and toilet paper in my cupboard. I have a bed to sleep in and a couch to sit on. The sound of some random show plays on my tv, and it breaks up the silence. My phone rings and I have someone to talk to but, sure, complain about how bored you are.

No, you know what? It’s not boredom, and I need to stop comparing my situation to others. What I’m feeling is valid, and so are my struggles. They might be relatively trivial, and I’m not saying that this is a big issue. It’s on my mind, and I’m wondering if you are feeling the same way.

How do you have a good day when you feel like every day just comes and goes without a memorable moment? The highlight of my day is a 30-minute walk around my neighbourhood. Other than that? I don’t know what day it is half the time so, how can I have a good one?

Is it a case of I think therefore I am? The power of positive thinking, and I’m trying to type that without rolling my eyes. Every time I read a post about thinking your way to happiness, my gag reflex is triggered. If it was that simple, don’t you think I would’ve tried that already? 

Think happy thoughts. Oh, okay, I’m skipping through a field of dandelions and singing show tunes. Am I happy? Well, I’m not miserable, but it hasn’t been the miracle I’ve been hoping for.

And yes, I realize that not every person struggles with their mental health like I do, and there are a lot of people who will never be diagnosed with a mental illness. So, and here’s a thought, those peppy memes might actually benefit those people a great deal. They need a friendly reminder to smile, look on the bright side, and believe that everything will be okay. For those precious individuals, the power of positive thinking can be a helpful tool.

For those of us who are bombarded by painful memories, overwhelming emotions, and raging thoughts? Those cute little sayings are frustrating reminders that we have to work a lot harder to have a good day. Wonderful. Brilliant. And I thought this was going to be easy.

I think, if I’m really taking an honest look at myself in a carnival mirror, the real problem’s found in the obscurity of positive thinking. It doesn’t feel solid or attainable. It doesn’t seem like it’s really all that actionable. It’s too out there in the stars, and I need something grounded in the earth’s atmosphere. 

I’m the kind of person who needs something to do, and sitting still isn’t a satisfying action. It makes me twitchy and anxious. I start to play out the worst-case scenarios or replay a moment when I should’ve done something different. I forget to breathe as I spiral downwards.

Thinking positively? Deciding that it will be a good day? That’s just not going to happen. It’s too extreme. I can’t go from all is lost to paradise found in a single leap. It’s not believable. It makes my eyes roll, and I gag on my own saliva. 

But what if perception does dictate reality? I think therefore I am, and all that chatter. I look at the world around me, and I see the danger. I can point out everything that can go wrong, and it will because, say it with me, I’m lucky like that. And that’s so messed up.

Life isn’t all bad or all good. It isn’t all or nothing. It’s a mixture of experiences that have nothing to do with luck. Also, two things can be true. A day can be good and bad. I can feel happy and anxious. Something could go wrong, but everything can still turn out for the best.

What matters, in this context, is how I perceive this day and all of its parts. I had a good hike this morning, and it put a smile on my face. I got home, my legs seized up, and now I can’t walk. When I go to bed tonight, will I call it a good day or a bad one? It was both.

There were moments of frustration, laughter, a sense of emptiness/loneliness, and complete satiation. I was disappointed by one thing and relieved by another. A day is just a collection of experiences and how I choose to perceive them. I can look at the parts, the whole, or I can discard what doesn’t fit.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: