A few weeks ago, I was sitting in the barber/beauty shop. My husbands barber does my hair too so it’s always a good mix of people in the shop. Imagine what happens when the barber shop collides with the beauty shop. It makes for some really interesting conversations. This week, the topic centered around being real with your pain – to be relatable.
As I sat in the chair getting my hair straightened, I heard a conversation across the room about Beyonce’s new album, Lemonade. This was not too long after it dropped. It was still hot on the lips of everyone within earshot. One of the barbers had struck up a conversation with a beautician about the reaction to this new music. The beautician said that she felt like Beyonce needed to make this album. She felt like it made her so relatable to not be seen as perfect. The barber wondered why it would take knowing someone else’s problems to know that their life isn’t perfect. Her response was to mention Mary J. Blige. She talked about how much people loved Mary J. Blige when her music came from a painful place. On the flip side, when she got married and found her happy she lost fans. People couldn’t relate to her happiness. I remember that transition for Mary J. Blige. I remember she spoke on it at one point. She was surprised more people supported her sadness over her joy.
Hearing the conversation while getting my hair done really got me thinking. Why is it people can seem to relate more with your pain but not your happy? Isn’t that sad? Can people really not be happy for you unless they know you are wallowing in the same pain they’re feeling? Can’t joy be as contagious as sadness? So many questions. I get that sharing our ups and downs is part of how we connect. But why is it seen as more relatable when something bad is happening as opposed to the good stuff?
I started to think about friendships I’ve had over the years. There have been some that I’ve had to walk away from because they were more than content to be Debbie Downer. Our conversations would always be me trying to lift their spirits about something they were dealing with. The thing is, not matter what I said, they’d find a way to focus on the negative. Or when I shared my struggles, they wanted to stay there. I want to share, support and figure out a way to move on. I’m not down with pitching a tent to live there.
After a while I’d find myself falling into their same mindset. I’d respond to situations with negativity. That’s not me. It wasn’t who I wanted to be. It took me making a choice to be different. To do different.
When I hear people say happiness is a choice, I’m in total agreement. It was a choice for me to look for joy. It was a choice for me to be positive. It was a choice for me to let go of the negative influences of others. Once you make the choice to be happy, it gets easier to choose your happy everyday. If seeing someone else in pain is the only way you can relate to them, is that OK? Start making the choice to be happy and to look for a rainbow or two. It will make it so much easier to celebrate when someone else is winning. You can celebrate their joy because you’re secure in your own.