The Willow & War Blog


You don't have to be happy.

Let's just get that off the table. There's enough pressure to deal with every day without feeling like you've failed as a human being by 7am because you didn't wake up toothing the sun with a fake smile.

Like it's something you just pick off a lower branch on your way to work. Coffee in one hand, an extra-large grin in the other, no room for cream.

Life's not like the toothpaste commercials. 

I've heard so many people say to 'just choose joy'. Be happy! But that doesn't work. You know it doesn't. You've probably tried it. 

Prescribing happiness is a favorite pastime of motivational speakers and stay-at-home Facebook gurus who wear cartoon pajamas to Costco. 

It's been held up as the pinnacle of having your shit together. It's the holy grail for good people. 

But spend your life looking for happiness and you'll always be disappointed. Because happiness is a reaction. A response. A huge super-soaker of joy that is fun as hell to use, but quickly runs out of water.

You don't have to be happy.



But it's worth trying to be content. 

Maybe you'll stumble your way over to happiness after that, but try to be happy before being content and you're only fooling yourself. 

Because content is where you can be imperfect. It's where being okay is good enough for this moment. 

It's where we can be a bit of a mess - and on our way to putting the pieces together before dawn - we can breathe. We can breathe because we're not trying so hard to be happy, we're not pretending, we're not forcing, we're just accepting. 

There will be happy days. Or you'll be subdued. Or pensive. Or creative. Or angry. But contentment will draw you back to some center and release you from needing to be someone you're not. 

It's ironic when people are sad they can't be happy. So don't be.

If you're going to be anything, be okay. 

Find some peace.

And move on from there.