Let’s start this off with a few important notes: I am okay with occasional impulse decisions in life that make us happy. A dairy queen blizzard after a long hike, shopping splurges at Old Navy because they are selling tank tops for $2 (!!!), or eating some place fancy because you haven’t in awhile and need a date night with your spouse.
But I am not okay with this phrase.
Do you know how many times I’ve heard this phrase uttered to justify TERRIBLY unhealthy and unwise decisions, especially when it comes to relationships?
Sometimes happiness is subjective.
Quick example: Suzy is happy because she is making a lot of money for her family and providing them with opportunity and luxury. Lucy is happy because she’s finally found a job that fulfills her. Though it doesn’t make much money, her family is comfortable and she wants to teach her kids to do what they love.
But sometimes happiness is fleeting. A momentary good feeling. And making life decisions based on a feeling, as mentioned in this blog, is not a wise decision.
My issue with this phrase runs deep. I have a general disdain for the modern philosophy that we should be able to do and say whatever we want as long as it makes us happy. And no one should have an opinion on what you’re doing because it isn’t their business. And Lord forbid someone be honest with you and confront you about what you’re doing.
“Pick out the plank in your own eye.”
“It’s not your place to judge.”
“You do you, and I’ll do me.”
And my favorite…
“I am offended by that.”
Why do we only want someone to pat us on the back? If you don’t approve of someone’s lifestyle or life decisions, you are supposed to shut up and high five them. But friends! This is not a healthy picture of community.
You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Sometimes you don’t have just an itch. You have a full on rash that no one is telling you about because they’re afraid they’ll offend you. Sometimes we need people to be honest with us. That rash could use some actual medical treatment.
I have always surrounded myself with people who are honest with me. Probably the first real friend I’ve had that was willing to do this was my bestie (is that still cool to say?) since 9th grade, Caitlin Moore. When it came to dating guys, she would support me by listening, but never failed to provide insight and wisdom when I was acting a fool.
My college roommates frequently laughed at the clothes I wore. I do not have an eye for fashion. It’s like speaking a different language. I don’t get the rules. So they would tell me when I looked like a homeless art teacher. I’m probably a better dresser for it. (I still wish I could share a closet with you, Haley!)
My sister has never had troubles telling me when I’m being inconsiderate and selfish.
A close friend of mine that recently got married will straight up call me out when I’m talking in circles about my future instead of making direct plans to accomplish my dreams. (Love you Kathy)
And guess what you guys, I think I turned out OK.
It might make my son Olson happy to disobey, but you better believe that I understand I am raising a future citizen, co-worker and friend. So he will get a spankin’ on the rear when he’s out of order.
When it makes me happy to make people laugh, but it’s at someone else’s expense, my husband puts a hand lightly on my knee to stop me. It made me so mad the first few times because, hello, let me do my thing. But now I’m glad when he does it- because I’m not perfect and I’m not always aware of my own actions.
It may make me happy to buy Honest diapers because they are SO STINKING CUTE. But they are expensive and are not quite in the budget at the moment. You need friends like mine who tell you, “Just put clothes over [the cheap diapers] and you’ll never know the difference. He’s going to poop on it, Alyssa.” Thanks Morgan. 🙂
See? Community is a wonderful thing. It would be so silly to believe that we are capable of always making fantastic wonderful decisions. But we just aren’t.
Be the kind of person that people aren’t afraid to be honest with. And on the flip side of that, show people grace and understanding and they’ll be more willing to hear you out. Don’t shove everyone out of your way that shows concern for your life decisions and is trying to be a real friend.
Surround yourself with positive people. Not people who approve of every little thing you do. Yes, they should support you when you need it. And encourage you in your endeavors no matter how unique and bold they may be. But let’s all take a step off of our thrones and recognize that just because something makes us happy, doesn’t mean it’s right.
OK, phew. Is everyone still alive? We doing OK?
Special thanks to all my honest friends, without whom I wouldn’t have as much motivation and determination to write this post.
Thanks for reading friends 🙂
Featured image is of some of my honest friends from college, from left to right: Kathy, Haley, me and Caitlin.