Is "happy" a four-letter word?

Yesterday, a friend sent me a direct message via Twitter to find out what’s up with me and my happy-talking self.  “Are you on Prozac? Or is it baby hormones?” she joked, referring to my recent spate of tweets about happiness.  I laughingly responded that no, I am not about to become a life coach, and if I get too gushy or start quoting Nelson Mandela in every other tweet, she should smack me.

She’s got a valid point. On blogs, Twitter, certain self-help books, even shows like Oprah we hear an awful lot of mumbo-jumbo about positivity—syrupy sweet words about affirmations and manifestation and positivity that are often all gush and no real substance. And while I believe that thoughts can have a huge impact on what you “allow” into your life, I also know that bad things happen to good people and sometimes life just sucks for no reason.

My friend’s reaction to my tweets—which, far from being gushy, simply pointed people toward my blog via simple questions like “Are you happy?” and “Do you believe happiness is a choice?”—made it clear that many people are on happy-overload. We don’t want to be told we should be more positive.

But why?

Is it because we’re already so darn happy we just can’t stand it?

Is it because we’re, for the most part, not that happy and we’re tired of thinking there’s something wrong with us for it?

Have we come to believe that happy people are somehow deranged?

Or that the pursuit of happiness – even without mantras or corny affirmations—is a cheeseball new-age concept?

You’d think that “happy” would simply be a positive emotional state we’d all rather be in than not.  Yet talking about happiness–experiencing it or working toward it—is often met with eye-rolling or distrust or a gag reflex.

It’s like “happy” has become a four-letter word. Why?

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