I Have a Right to Be Happy

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Living with OCD comes with the knowledge that my mood can be immediately flipped to the very bitter and sour, about my world and surroundings, at any moment. This is a reality I live in every second of the day. This is not to say I am in a constant OCD episode, but the smallest thing—which means very common everyday events—can trigger such at any time. And when this does happen, it takes longer by orders of magnitude to get out of the bad mood into a good one. Sometimes days!

I’ve often been told I should strive to be content. I should strive to accept the problems around me and use my efforts to level out emotionally and mentally. I don’t necessarily disagree with this goal. I believe in focusing on the present, and I fully know that to decrease the low-lows one must also accept that the high-highs need to decrease. My emotional range needs to be squished to enter this state of contentment. I believe this, I can’t often do it, but when I can that is… “ok.”

However, I am 43 years old now and I’m at a point in my life where I feel as if I can insist on some emotions and feelings. I’m not going to get into what I may deserve or not based on some checklist of life things I’ve completed, but I feel that because I have no idea what comes after this life—I’ll just say it—I have a right to be happy and often. It goes without saying that no one is or can be or should expect to be happy all the time.

I have a right to be happy more often than not happy. And “not happy” can include just being content and “ok.”

Many people close to me disagree with this, but I’m starting to believe I should ignore these worldviews (still having respect for them and those who have them.) I should be setting up my own universe of emotions and mental state to strive for. With that, I choose happiness. Beyond mere contentment, but actually… happy.

I am happy at times, but I certainly feel it is not enough. I know the difference in feeling between happiness and contentment, and I want more of the former. Because I know my brain has the capacity to be happy, I feel I should strive for that to be the mood I am in as often as possible.

I brought up the live events I’ve been through over the decades. I don’t want to use the term “deserve” because that brings up so many socioeconomic issues that muddy the waters of what I feel about my individual life. I’ve been there. You name it, I have been there. (Well, I am sure there are places you could name that I haven’t very specifically been in life—but for the most part, I’ve been way down and way up and everything in-between and sideways from that.)

Here’s the issue. How do I make myself happy?

One thing I know is this: one cannot proactively make themselves happy. One cannot achieve happiness by gaining things in life. By adding things to their life. That goes for money, material goods, medication and/or drugs, none of this brings true happiness.

Happiness can, however, be achieved by removing things from one’s life. From shedding things that one has control over shedding. Some would call this “removing dead weight,” but I find that phrase offensive because I could refer to actual people. And no one should be called that.

But through a process of examining what things are causing negative mental health flare-ups, and doing what it takes to mitigate or remove those things, one can achieve a cleaner mental space. Now, I can only speak for my OCD—but a cleaner mental space pretty much describes the road to happiness.

Now, doing all of this is a lot of tough work. And it has to be done carefully, lest negative emotions get in the way of cleaning up around oneself.

When I look at all of this in simple terms, I feel happiness is a right.

And I am going to be happy.

Even if it means change.

This story is not complete. But it is where I am at.