“Get over the idea of having a happy life, settle for happy moments.”–“Dice Undisputed”
I think people place way too much pressure on themselves to be happy all of the time. Positive thinker purists really fall into this category. Everything has to have a positive spin on it. If you get a flat tire, it is not bad. No it is a sign for something that is positive. Come on! Lets not kid ourselves, life is not always great and we do not always feel happy and at our best all of the time. We are just kidding ourselves if we think otherwise. Life is like the stock market and has its inevitable ups and down.
We do not experience the full power of life without feeling both pleasure and pain. If things are always great, then we do not develop fully. On the other hand, if we always suffer then we do not develop either and experience life fully. One thing is for sure interesting people are always people that have been through both. Both rather than one or the other make us stronger and wiser.
I had a great conversation with my friend Harley Flanagan some time ago. Harley has been through it all. Many of you may recognize his name from the legendary band “The Cro-Mags.” Harley knows what it is like to be a rock star and have fame and money. He has been all of the world performing in front of thousands of excited fans. On the other hand, he also knows what it is like to have no home and be a squatter in NYC. He has been through living on the streets and having no food and living it up as a star on tour. Harley’s experiences make him a very interesting and charismatic person. He is also kind of a nut in a good way, ha ha.
Harley has had a tough life in many ways and frankly his music would not be as exceptional as it is otherwise. There are other rock bands that were clearly inspired by him and tried to duplicate his image. They got the tattoos and made the heavy music. However, something was always missing and that essential ingredient was real life experience. A couple of guys from Manhattan that went to prep school are not going to be able to write the same music as a guy that grew up in the inner city and experienced a hard life first hand. Not saying that the guys from Manhattan cannot make good music. Sure they can! However, you can only make music about what you have been through if you want it to be genuine.
Harley is finishing up a new album now that I am financing and it sounds incredible. He told me that many of the recording sessions were very emotional as a lot of feelings came out. Stuff about his Dad, being a father himself etc. I have heard some of the lyrics and tracks and I cannot wait to hear the final product. A final note about Harley is he is now a father with two children and is doing a great job. Many people who do not really know him would think that he would be a horrible father given his life experiences. However, the opposite is the case. Harley knows first hand that fame is fleeting and vacuous and has his priorities in place. My friend Dylan Thomas is the same way. He has had a tough life in many ways and is an exceptional father that always thinks about his boys and what is best for them. Both of these guys would not be who they are without their life experiences. The same goes for you.
A full life is a variety of experiences and it is okay to be depressed and sad from time to time. Rather than try to put a positive spin on everything, go with the pain and let what needs to come out surface. No we should not be depressed all of the time. Yet, being genuinely happy all of the time is an illusion as well. Usually when I get down something needs to come out. Rather then just pretend everything is great, I let the emotions and feelings surface and deal with the emotional cleansing and then move on with my life.
When you realize that life is a combination of happy moments and sad moments, you really appreciate the happy moments much more. Regardless you cannot really have one without the other. They are both opposite sides of the same coin. Just as you cannot build strength without recuperation or genuinely enjoy a great meal without hunger. Just as you are not going to get stronger all of the time, you are not going to be genuinely happy all of the time. Frankly, the acceptance of this fact is a big relief as the burden of trying to be happy all of the time is too much.
I think the mistake people make is dwelling on depressing moments in the past. Maybe you are ashamed of something you did and it has a negative effect on you know. All of us have made mistakes and will continue to do so. I think it is great to hold yourself accountable. However, you also have to give yourself a break as well. None of us are perfect just as none of us are genuinely happy all of the time. Be tough with yourself, but give yourself a break as well. When you live fully, you will make mistakes and mistakes make us more interesting and fully developed people. I have made plenty of mistakes, that is for sure!
May you experience life fully and handle whatever comes with it.