This is going to be a delicate topic to cover. Of course, I don’t want to offend anyone but I don’t want to shy away from covering this either. I had two experiences recently that led me to want to explore ‘the naturally happy’ a little more. This isn’t about whether you can ever really be ‘naturally happy’, but more about those who appear to be, those that don’t question the desire to live and thrive and be happy as a reason they are in this world and can’t seem to see the other side of the equation.


The first incident was when I was on holiday. I was a little emotional on the last day, which isn’t like me. I don’t get upset in public, but I had a lot on my mind and such a heavy mix of emotions about things that I couldn’t help it. Ever been like that? Where your mind is telling you to cool it, but your body doesn’t comply? I’m an ugly crier, and uglier still why I try to stop it; my face gets all scrunched up and it’s not a pretty sight.

Someone I’d got to know while I was there said something to me that I found both offensive and pretty ignorant. I didn’t expect anything, not even a shoulder nor compassion, and certainly not sympathy or empathy. But I didn’t expect what I did get. Comments that included something along the lines of “Do you think you’re the only one with problems?” and “I’ve seen starving children in Africa, those are real problems and reasons to be sad”. 

It wasn’t said angrily, but I felt scolded. Like I didn’t have a right to be upset. Not only did I feel stupid, I felt small and ridiculous and guilty. He doesn’t know me, the way I feel, what my life is like or what I live with. I couldn’t help it that night, I didn’t want to show the sadness I felt, but I didn’t blurt it all out either nor did I say why I was ‘sad’. I didn’t expect the response I got.

The second incident was in town a few days ago. Someone saying to me near the bus stop that I looked sad and to “cheer up, things could be worse”. Then there were the comments about “what’s to be miserable out, life is good, the whole point is to be happy”.


The latter type of person and comments received I don’t find as bad. Sometimes people feel the need to say something, even if the receiver feels them to be unwarranted. I wasn’t looking particularly sad; okay, I didn’t feel happy at the time, but the face I was showing certainly wasn’t one of despair or crying or anything of the like. Sometimes people think this may help, to say something to instil cheer and serve as a reminder to “lighten up” a little.

The ‘naturally happy people’, as I will refer to them, don’t always seem to understand mental health. They don’t seem to ‘get’ that you can be sad, feel depressed, or suffer depression even, without there being a particular reason, a certain event that’s caused it.

They don’t seem to appreciate that for some, happiness isn’t the meaning of life and that some people are a little lost, a little brokenhearted. They tend to have that survival instinct – above all else, they put their needs towards the top and happiness is what it’s all about. If faced with danger, they will fight to live. They don’t seem to understand that some of us simply don’t seem to have this, that some people don’t have the energy or the drive to fight to live in the same way.

It’s also as though temporary sadness over something is not okay, not unless it’s deemed worthy in their eyes. Your cat has just died? Get over it, that’s nothing to be sad about, because it’s not something that rates on my list of things to be sad about, there are worse things in the world. But find something important to them – their job perhaps – and they’re allowed to be upset about the smallest of issues as much as they want. There’s a degree of imbalance here, where other perspectives can’t be seen and empathy in some areas seems to lack.


I’m generalising hugely here – and I apologise. As I said, I don’t want to cause offence, nor seem totally narrow minded. But there does seem to be a divide with some of these ‘naturally happy people’ given the experienced I’ve had with those that share these characteristics.


If I were to be honest with the first person I’ve given as an example, perhaps I’d say :

I am not sad just because of having a stoma bag, possibly forever, and all of the problems and worries this causes.

I am not just sad because my muscles, joints, my whole body hurts. That my body is exhausted, that I live with pain, with headaches, with sickness, with physical illness. I am not just sad that I am unwell and I know that there are people doing it far worse than I am out there. I no not ask for sympathy, I do not feel I deserve it and I do not want it. But sometimes, I get tired of dealing with it. Telling me there are worse things happening in the world only increase my guilt, of which I feel I have enough.

I am not sad just because I lost my job, because I am totally lost with what I can do when it comes to work in the future, or because things are so uncertain as to whether I need more surgery. I am not sad just because I seem to have endless appointments with doctors, surgeons, hospitals, that complicate matters.

I am not sad just because I have no friends to hang out with. I am independent and haven’t needed anyone for a long time. I don’t need your suggestions to join a bloody book club.  I have learned to be okay on my own.

I am not sad just because my home situation is difficult. Maybe you look after your family, ill or ageing parents, and can understand. You do what you can, and end up doing things for others more than for yourself. Maybe you can understand the worry when those you love are not okay.

I am not just sad because there are people out there that I talk to that are struggling, who I can’t help, because I feel so useless sometimes.

There is a difference between sadness and depression. There doesn’t have to be a reason for being sad or depressed. You may feel lost and broken and hurt for no reason, or for several. Sometimes you can smile and be okay, sometimes you can pretend to be okay. Other times, you are tired. You don’t want to keep going the way you are.


On the other hand, the perspective of the ‘naturally happy person’ can, at times, be refreshing. It’s a reminder of what’s important, to take a step back from the problems or emotions you’re facing and dealing with, to appreciate the value of life (even if you can’t see it the same way).

What do you think? Am I being totally unreasonable? With the first person/example, was I wrong to feel offended, to feel insulted and guilty and small as I wasn’t allowed to feel sad at that point? Do you have any similar experiences with ‘naturally happy’ people?

19 thoughts on “The Naturally Happy : Refreshing or Ignorant?”

  1. I love it that you put yourself out there, here. That you addressed an issue that seriously needs to be addressed. The new acquaintance that you met on holiday obviously is misled and mistaken in his thinking. I think that some people are so uncomfortable with grief, anger, sadness, and depression that they say ridiculously stupid things to shut people down. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with comments like these so repeatedly. It’s hard enough to be compassionate towards oneself without them. I applaud you for addressing this, and doing so with eloquence. We all have every right to feel our feelings.

    1. I’m so glad you didn’t think this was totally out of line; I didn’t want to shy away from writing it, but I wanted to tread carefully too. Thank you so much for such a lovely comment and the understanding you’ve shown – I really appreciate it!!
      Caz 🙂

  2. No, you are definitely not out of line with this post. The persons would probably not be thinking straight, they don’t know, could be ignorant or no empathy. If I had received the first one, depending on my mood at the time, i could have been offensive or been made to feel worse without saying anything.

    The second one, I have heard many times and it pisses me off because most of the time when it has been said, I have been fine, or I have been down but i have been enjoying myself at the time, laughing or smiling prior to the comment and then that comment has spoilt my mood because i am shocked first, then offended. The last time someone said this to me, I questioned them, as we both knew each other a little bit, but neither of us knew each other that well. In the end, I told her i was fine till she said that. It was the last meet up with this particular group I had, that i enjoyed with, just to avoid a stupid comment like that again.

    1. It’s a tough one, isn’t it? I think I’d feel worse not saying something, not ‘sticking up for myself’ with the first one because otherwise that person will never understand how their words and attitude can come across as ignorant/offensive. I’m sorry you’ve also had experience of the latter to the point where it can bring you down. x

    1. I agree, I think people think they’re helping and feel as though they need to say something (with regards to the second type of comment/example). Thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. Great post, and something I think about often. I have a couple comments:

    1. I hate when people see someone who looks down and, not knowing anything about that person, tells them to smile or cheer up. In my experience, this is most often said by men, to women, which starts to feel belittling. Why are we expected to always be happy? Also, we never know what someone else is going through. I often remind myself that other people in the world have it much worse, but I would never say that to someone else. We are each entitled to our own feelings, and if someone feels down, it’s not my place to tell them they have no reason to be.

    2. I have a cousin who is amazing. She’s beautiful, is literally a genius, she’s athletic and played sports in college, has a good family and lots of people who love her. She tried to commit suicide twice. Like you said, depression is more than just feeling down. Sometimes it’s a chemical imbalance that doesn’t need a reason.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. Very well said – We are indeed entitled to our own feelings, and it’s not okay for others to tell you that you have no reason to be. I’m sorry to hear of your cousin, but this is such a good example of the point about how looks can be deceiving and how there doesn’t have to be a reason; nothing that person can pinpoint causing them to feel the way they do in particular, nor something others can see as being a ‘good enough reason’ for feeling that way. I do hope she is getting the support she needs and can move forward, day by day, with a little more hope gradually. Thank you so much for sharing Lindsay.x

  4. These people know very little (if anything) about you so they have nothing to base their judgement or assessment of you on. If anything the exchange you had with them probably tells you more about their characters than it did yours. Yes there are always going to be people who are in a worse situation than yourself but does that mean you aren’t allowed to feel sad for the struggles you face? Since when did compassion become a competition where only those considered the worst cases are deemed worthy of the support and understanding of others? Yes, of course positivity should be encouraged over what they maybe consider to be self pity but belittling someone isn’t going to help them get there.

    Remember that the journey to a happy mindset is tougher than most people realise with a chronic illness due to the major life changes this brings causing many bumps in the road. If you aren’t quite there right now that doesn’t mean you aren’t trying everything you can to be happy. I’m always here for you if you want to talk, I will always help however I can. Take care lovely xx

    1. You’re right, that first example probably does say more about their character than my own, and compassion isn’t a competition, I love how you’ve phrased that.
      Thank you so much for the lovely comment and the warmth and support as always. I am likewise always here Nat, just an email away… I do hope you and the little one are well, enjoying some autumn crafts and cosiness at home (because it’s freezing right now!) Take care x

  5. I feel people give short sighed answers, almost as an ignorant instinct.

    I wrote a post on my blog, about a week ago, and talked about how believers tend to answer each other or anyone with a hard time with instant answers. “Pray about it, God is there”, etc. But no one really furthers the conversation. We don’t engaged with each other. We aren’t there for each other. Because of this the receiver, as you said, feels the answer is unwarranted.

    I believe hardship can be used as a time for growth and reflection, but it happens DURING the hardship, not after, and the “after” part is what many focus on with their clean cut answers.

    I also think unfortunately, as you stated, people sometimes use this as an opportunity to get on their soap box and lecture. As much positivity some of us might want to proclaim, when done in this matter, well, it’s pretty hypocritical. Just because we’ve seen worse, or know worse in this world, making another person feel bad or worse about himself or herself…that’s not positive.

    I think what you’re feeling is okay. A lot of people hide behind their own feelings and thoughts, refusing to discuss, let alone, admit them. You’re a lot further ahead than many. Peace be with you. 🙂

    1. Very well said, and some good points re: hypocrisy and soapboxes and how such comments aren’t positive. Thank you so much for a thought-provoking comment, it’s much appreciated! x

  6. I’m going to go with ‘ignorant’ for these kind of people 😉 I suppose there is a distinction between joyful and happy; it’s always such a joy to be around joyful people because it radiates from the inside out to affect others positively, no matter who they are. It doesn’t judge. Happiness is perhaps a little more shallow and fleeting to begin with.

    Also it makes me think – if they can make such a dismissive comment about someone else’s suffering, then they are lacking in humanity, and are unable to relate either because they have never experienced it to that level, or are so bitter about it that they categorise all other pains as ‘lesser’. Neither of which seems to be a happy character to me; for the former – if they’ve never experienced much suffering, how can they truly know what real happiness is? For the latter, well that’s pretty straightforward.

    Apologies I did not write succinctly but I need to go! Take care and cry as much as it wants if it makes you feel better – you don’t have to justify it 🙂 Sending you hugs x

    1. Sheryl – your comment meant so much to me, thank you! I hope that anyone else reading this will likewise feel comforted if they’ve had a similar experience. You’re right and I’d say this to someone else too (I just don’t tend to talk to myself the same way as I would with others) : we are entitled to feel however we feel; we should do so without apology and we owe no explanation. Thank you my lovely.xx

  7. No naturally happy person would scold you for being sad or do anything other than offer you an ear and try to cheer you up. I am not sure I believe in happy people, although my daughter is an ENFP type and she is about as close as it gets. But generally, I think “content” is more of an attainable way of being and even that, I don’t think too many people are. This world if full of unhappy, unfulfilled people trying to convince everybody they are happy or know more or are so wise. you know the ones who are truly content and comfortable with themselves. It just comes from them and you can feel it. You just be you and don’ worry about what they think. You can be unhappy about whatever you want, anytime you want. I am an ugly crier too. Great therapy, isn’t it. It hurts in the most amazingly cleansing way. They give the worst hangovers though. Ugh.

    1. I’m impressed that you know your daughter’s MBT, I don’t think my mother would have a clue even if I explained how it all works to her. Like you, I’m not too sure what I think or believe when it comes to happy people, let alone ‘naturally’ happy ones, but there are certainly people that fit that type or at least that come across like that. Ugh yes, crying does cause a bad hangover, but you’re right, it’s a great therapy. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a compassionate comment – the world needs more people like you! 🙂

  8. Sharing some lovely words from Gail at GailLovesGod who had some technical problems with posting her comment before :

    “I just wanted to let you know it is ok to have emotions, which is what being sad is. Yet being depressed is okay to because it is simply there… kind of like a cast, or a breakout. It may be visible, but that’s ok. It would be nice if others were more sympathetic to the one wearing the cast or afflicted with the breakout, but that’s not always the case. I wish I knew how to upload or link a video I saw on a friend’s post. It was a great representation of exactly your scenarios you described on your post for today.”

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