There is something extremely unnatural about our natural expectations of human emotion. Our being, on levels personal to interpersonal and social, all rely on the presumption of happiness. What I mean by this is that we function on the premise of happiness: we seek work, friends, partners that make us happy. We consider happiness the natural state of affairs for humans and we revolve our life around finding portals of channeling the sensation of happiness.
Is Happiness Human?
There's nothing wrong per se with this revolving of human affairs around happiness. No one ever denied the beauty of a genuine laugh, a thoughtless smile, a truly great time. But how much of this happiness can we realistically expect?
The theory of relativity applies to human emotion in a very simple way: we cannot know happiness without having felt sadness, as we cannot understand anger without having first experienced tranquility. In other words, we cannot speak of human emotion in singular terms, let alone expect any single emotion in isolation. Humanity exists only in range, singularity only in theory, in idea. Humanity is in all its forms relational.
Thus, the expectation, the lust for happiness falters as something unnatural.
I may even conjecture un-human.
The Cultural Construct of Happiness
I need not move beyond the mere vernacular we employ to talk about pain to make my point. When someone is crying, we intuitively go on to ask 'What is wrong?'.
We always wonder at the sight of English teachers going on about the value, the significance of diction, but it is only in moments when we take a step back to truly look at the language we employ that we understand just how right they are. We subconsciously have learned to associate happiness with something 'wrong': an unnatural disruption of regular affairs.
This all just goes to show that we base our understanding of the human condition on the premise that the natural course of human emotion is happiness and pain and suffering are but a mere unwarranted and unwanted disruption of this natural course of affairs.
The only way to make this culture shift towards a destigmazation of mental health is to remould our perspective of pain as a natural state of being. Every human being roaming this Earth carries with them a weight of pain, and we all develop different coping mechanisms to fight through this pain. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It is the most human condition.
Most people would describe breathing as the most fundamental human activity. Allow me to make an analogy. Just as the human body requires us to both let in and let out air to carry out our existence, so does our mind require us to, at different points in our lives, let in certain emotions while letting go of others.
In this relay of emotions, of allowing ourselves unrestricted and unpitiful access to the full range of human sensation, lies the transcendent beauty of harmony we all so fervourously seek. The true beauty of human existence.