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How many times in your life has someone commented negatively about what brings you joy? Have you been told that you’re too old to like something, that what you like is lame, or that your interests are childish?
How many songs have you pretended you didn’t enjoy because you were afraid someone would judge you for liking them? What shows or movies have you had to watch on your own because there was no one around willing to watch them with you?
If you’re lucky, maybe you’ve never experienced these kinds of situations. Hopefully, no one has ever looked down on your interests or judged your taste in music or hobbies. But, if they have, then it’s time for you to recognize that there is no reason to be ashamed of what brings you joy. Life is hard, and it’s okay – it’s even a good thing – to find happiness where you can.
Because Joy is Fleeting
One of the biggest reasons you should never be ashamed of what brings you joy is that happiness is fleeting. Not every day is a good one, and sometimes it feels like the world is full of hardships and struggles. Anger, sadness, frustration – these are all emotions that feel so loud that it can be hard to find any joy among them.
But when you do find something that brings you joy and makes you happy, then it’s okay to latch onto that. You don’t have to justify your happiness. Maybe your happiness is a band or a song. It could be a new television show or a book series or an interesting hobby. Whatever it is that makes you happy, there’s no reason to be ashamed of it.
Not everyone will understand why you like the things you do – people may say you’re too old to enjoy anime or cartoons, or that you need to concentrate on your professional and social life more than your favorite hobby. But honestly, joy is such a fleeting emotion – it’s there one minute and gone the next – so it’s alright if you try to milk as much happiness out of the things that bring you joy as you possibly can.
Because You are Your Own Person
Sometimes we feel like we need to base what brings us joy around what other people like. If all our friends are watching the same TV show, we put pressure on ourselves to watch and enjoy that show, too. We feel like if we don’t like what everyone else does, then there’s something wrong with us and we will be missing out in the long run.
How many times in your life have you tried to like what everyone else does and just found it boring, uninteresting, or just not your style? Personally, I have done this more times than I can count. I have tried to impress people by joining in on their interests and ignoring my own because I’ve thought, “They won’t like what I like.”
But why is what I like so bad? Why should I try to change my interests to fit someone else’s needs instead of just enjoying what I enjoy? At the end of the day, you are your own person, with your own interests and hobbies, likes and dislikes. Don’t prioritize other people’s ideas of happiness over your own just because you want them to like you. Your happiness is just as valid and interesting as anyone else’s.
Because the People that Love You Won’t Judge You
Sometimes we hide the things that bring us joy because we are afraid of being judged. Throughout most of my adolescent years, I was teased for my interests – I’ve even had friends with similar interests to mine tell me that it was too dorky to talk about our favorite shows around our other friends.
It’s hard to feel okay being open about the things that make you happy when people tell you they’re lame or stupid or dorky. But the truth is the people that really love and appreciate you will never make you feel bad about the things that interest you.
People don’t have to share in your interests in order to appreciate and support them. While some people have teased me for my taste in music or for my odd habit of collecting cups and mugs, my closest friends have always tried to join in on those interests with me. A true friend doesn’t have to share in your hobbies, but they should never try to make you feel ashamed of them.
Here’s how I knew my best friend was a true friend: when I was in college, my partner at the time told me that I couldn’t buy any more mugs because I had collected too many. He wasn’t trying to be mean about my collection, but he also never really understood why all my cups brought me happiness. In response, my best friend bought me a new cup that day and kept it at her place just for me. She herself didn’t find the same joy in mugs that I did, but she supported my collection because she knew it made me happy.
Always surround yourself with people that love you, all of you, exactly as you are – even if they themselves can’t relate.
Because Some Days are Hard
A big reason that you should never be ashamed of the things that bring you joy is simply that some days are hard. Some morning we wake up and don’t know how we will find the energy to make it through the day. A week turns out to be a lot more difficult than we imagined, or a particularly bad month puts a strain on our mental health.
And on those long, hard, bad days, sometimes you just want to listen to the same song ten times. Maybe you want to go home and just watch the next episode of your favorite show. Or maybe you want to create art or play with a model train set or get dressed up and put on a dance show in your living room. Whatever it is that brings you joy and makes the bad day a little less bad, enjoy it.
Don’t be ashamed of things that keep you going. We all cope in the ways we know how to, so as long as the things that make you happy don’t hurt anyone else and are good for you and your health, then you should never be afraid of enjoying them.
Because Life is Short
And what’s the biggest reason to never be ashamed of what brings you joy? Because life is short. We never know how long we’re on this Earth, so there’s no point in living our life hiding the things that make living amazing.
It doesn’t matter if the things that make you happy are stupid to someone else, or whether you enjoy a hobby you’re terrible at. If you can’t follow a tune but love to sing, then sing away! Maybe cooking is your passion, but you’re awful in the kitchen – practice is the only way to improve! If you enjoy writing but have bad grammar and don’t understand anything about world-building, write anyway.
Life is short and each year seems to get shorter the older we get. Don’t squander your time away by trying to pretend your someone you’re not and ignoring the things that actually make you happy.
As Voltaire once said, “I have chosen to be happy because it’s good for my health.”
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.