Don't Worry, Be Happy

This morning, like every morning, I woke up and immediately checked my social media accounts. I had a notification on Facebook and was invited to join the Saint Mary’s “Support a Belle, Love a Belle” event. This is a week of mental health awareness, an issue that is often pushed under the rug. A lot of people in our society don’t particularly like talking about mental health, but it is so important for a college campus to have an open dialogue about this phenomenon that is taking over students’ lives. I am thrilled that Saint Mary’s acknowledges the importance of mental health awareness, but it got me thinking: Why does our society accept unhappiness as a norm? 

If you think about it, happiness is always being measured. We’re told things like the college years will be the best years of our lives and that the memories from study abroad will never be matched. We accept that there is a “honeymoon” phase during romantic relationships, and excuse unhappiness in these relationships after this so called phase ends. But why do we have to put a limit on happiness? Why is it that there always seems to be a hour glass counting down to when we give up on happiness and accept just feeling content, or worse, feeling so down that it consumes us. 

We are entitled to happiness. We are entitled to surrounding ourselves with people who lift us up and encourage us. There should not be a time in our lives where we excuse feeling down because we’ve already had our fun and “the best years” or “best memories” have passed. In the book of life, there should not be chapters that are allowed to be happier than others. 

I know we all have our highs and lows and that we all go through tough times. I am not saying you are not allowed to feel unhappy because I know that mental health is not always in our control, as much as we wish it could be. I simply wish for us Belles to remember that unhappiness does not need to be accepted, that we do not have a measurable amount of good times. We deserve the best of times all the time, throughout every stage of life. College should be a time of celebration, of friendship, and of fun, but these things do not end once you receive your diploma and enter the real world. Saint Mary’s has given me confidence that I never thought possible and my time here has taught me that I am worth it, that we are all worth it. So I challenge all Belles to remember mental health’s importance next week during Support a Belle, Love a Belle, and every week. 

Photos: 1 provided by author, 2

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