#100happydays and the happiness propaganda

The #100happydays campaign proposes a challenge to today’s society: to make a daily post about something that made you happy that day, for 100 days. From what I’ve seen on Facebook and Twitter, the moments that make people happy revolve around food and hanging out with friends. It’s an Instagram meets Osho kind of thing.

Some of my connections on social networks have been posting pictures for over a month now and as time passes by it is more and more clear to me that some days there’s just nothing to post. This has become another way to fill my news feed with hipster randomness.

I’m here for happiness. I am here for people finding things that make them happy and sharing them with the world, but it is illogical and even violent to force yourself to be happy for 100 days straight.

Let’s face it, there are days that simply don’t bring us any good. I mean, yes, we survived. We made it through whatever bad situation we were in, but sometimes we wish we didn’t. We wish we could just lay here, and just forget the world.

The happiness propaganda is not only dismissive; it is harmful to our true selves. Every day we ask each other “How are you?” and the answer is automatic “I’m fine, thank you. And you?”. We’re told “You should be more appreciative because person X Y Z has way less than you”.

Far too often we don’t get to mourn and grief, we have to ‘suck it up’. We’re not given the chance to talk about the things that upset us. And to me the #100happydays is just another tool we are imposing on ourselves to silence the things that matter to us the most. To me, that is violence.

What if we did a #100honestdays campaign and we talked about the things that bothered us? I’m sure that after the ‘I hate my boss’ or ‘Save the African children’ posts, we would have meaningful conversations about the stuff that haunts us.

Posts like “Today I felt unappreciated because I did something to my mom and it went unnoticed” or “I had a fight with a friend and I don’t think she/he understood my point”, or “A picture of my ex with his current gf popped on my feed and it reminded me of how happy we used to be together”.

Most of us would feel less alone after some people shared similar stories and how they got through them. A campaign like that would open the door for us to share intimate parts of ourselves and, consequently, have a deeper understanding of how we affect, positively and negatively, the ones around us.

A few months ago I was made aware that a friend of mine was recovering from depression. On my mind I started reliving the times they tried to tell me they weren’t okay and I didn’t notice it. It was impossible for me not feel guilty for not seeing this friend’s pain.

At the end of the day, when we lay our heads in bed, we don’t care that it was sunny that day and it doesn’t matter that we had dinner at our favorite place. We care that no one listens to us; we care that we miss an estranged friend and we care that we regret not being there for someone we love.

And if those are the things we care about the most, then those are the things we should be talking about. Things we should be sharing. Things that deserve a hashtag.

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